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Customer Story

AskUnum cuts customer support turnaround time by 77%, achieving 83% customer satisfaction

The insurance industry is no stranger to the need for clients to have easy, intuitive platforms to connect with them.

Published: Monday, May 1, 2023
85%categorization accuracy rate
80%reduction in service request backlog
70%reduction in turnaround time targets
40%more email pushed from onshore to offshore teams
20%increase in automatically routed emails
About Company
Unum (Unum and Colonial Life brands) is a financial protection benefits company that specializes in ancillary employee benefits typically available through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, critical illness/cancer, dental, and vision. It operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Poland.
Unum Website
Company size
N. America
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Ushur has been fantastic. I would 150% recommend them. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the team, the technology, and the ease of doing business
Jenn BrackenDirector of the Customer Experience Service Center
UnumSee the report


Unum created AskUnum in 2012 as a one-stop customer support shop for its plan administrators, brokers, and office representatives in the field. When these people – Unum employees, partners, and customer admins – had questions about existing policies, they sent emails to the support team at askUnum and received answers from in-house experts. But the high volume of spam and junk mail slowed down the AskUnum’s team’s ability to answer questions swiftly and effectively, frustrating team members and the insurance professionals asking the questions.


With Ushur SmartMail™, Unum is classifying more than 600,000 annual requests, and automatically removing junk and duplicate emails from the AskUnum workflow.
Additionally, Ushur SmartMail™ allows Unum to:

  • Minimize the manual re-categorizing and routing of emails to the right team, saving 13 hours daily, adding up to 14,000 hours annually
  • Give 4,000 hours back per year to AskUnum customer-service reps to focus on higher-value tasks
  • Improve turnaround time by getting the right requests to the right team faster, and reducing “noise” of junk or repetitive requests
When we achieved full staffing, Ushur helped with work-life balance. Retention is also up. Now, we can focus on value-added requests, not noise and manual routing!
Jenn BrackenDirector of the Customer Experience Service Center
UnumSee the report

Story Details

As Unum and its client base continued to grow, the volume of inbound service requests also increased. Trying to control the large number of requests with basic categorization and keyword routing was not efficient.

Unum approached Ushur for a solution.

Unum had a three-part challenge. First, the target turnaround time of 12 hours was often exceeded, sometimes stretching to three times the desired amount of time. Secondly, more than 4,000 hours were spent annually just managing “noise” messages (spam and duplicate requests). Finally, employees on the AskUnum team were getting burned out as they manually re-routed requests and worked overtime to manage the volume of incoming requests.

Ushur’s ‘SmartMail’ AI solution was deployed to process half a million incoming customer emails, classify them, and facilitate first time accurate routing. Its natural language processing (NLP) evaluates the questioners’ intent to triage requests and automate downstream knowledge work to the AskUnum expert with the appropriate skills.

Unum’s Administration Journey product owners defined and drove the overall solution delivery to perfection within the timelines defined for deployment, resulting in improved categorization accuracy.

Ushur has continued to exceed established accuracy targets, enabling the business to route the right work to the right person, manage inventory, and even confidently experiment with new hire onboarding approaches.

What's Next

Looking ahead, Unum is investigating ways to further automate its operations: extracting key data from the incoming emails, interrogating attachments for missing information, and sending auto responses as appropriate. By automating more of this work, Unum hopes to free up even more employee time to spend improving its customer experience.

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