FBR & Co. analyst Randy Binner has downgraded to"underperform" from "market perform" as the low-rateenvironment persists.
Binner believes that one of the issues that can put adownward pressure on Unum's stock is its long-term care book, which heconsiders as high risk. He expects the insurer to see charges in its long-termcare runoff book for 2016 and 2017 as interest rates remain low.
"There is some probability of a charge baked into thestock, but we think this will still be negative as the certainty around acharge builds," Binner said.
Binner acknowledged that Unum's core U.S. group benefitsbook has a stable outlook and low exposure to interest rate fluctuations.However, he believes the U.K. group benefit business is poised to experiencesome underwriting impacts should the country's vote to the European Union induce arecession.
He also noted that Unum has a lower quality investmentportfolio and lower excess capital compared with peers.
Binner maintained his price target at $31. He changed hisEPS estimates to $3.70 from $3.80 for 2016 and to $3.95 from $4.10 for 2017.