When life throws you curves, be ready


Cara Davidson spent 13 years as a pediatric nurse in an intensive care unit before a herniated disk in her neck, followed by a rare infection, forced her to give up her career.

In a blog she wrote about coping with change, she recalled how devastating it was when her doctor said she should no longer work as a bedside nurse. “It’s what I know, it’s what I love. I felt like a part of me was just gone, along with my identity as a nurse,” she wrote.

It was a depressing and scary time, but Cara didn’t panic. She immediately contacted Unum and filed a claim to receive her employer-provided short term and long term disability benefits.

“The last thing you need when you have a health issue is more stress,” she explained. “I called Angela Balzano, the disability specialist from Unum that was assigned to me, and she helped with everything. There were no issues at all, no gaps in payment, no delays. It was seamless and flawless.”

Cara’s long-term disability benefit pays her 60 percent of her income – money she’s using for major expenses like her mortgage, health insurance, car payment and student loan, as well as day-to-day expenses.

“If I didn’t have disability insurance, I would have lost my home and probably would have filed for bankruptcy,” she said. “It’s the best kind of insurance there is because it has let me support myself though a very difficult time.”

Cara is also working with Kelly Marsiano, a vocation rehabilitation consultant assigned to help her transition back to work when she’s ready. Cara says in addition to being a valuable resource, Kelly’s also been a great cheerleader.

“Kelly is very knowledgeable and has the personality that’s perfect for the job,” she said. “She’s encouraging and has given me a lot of great feedback on my resume and recommended I add skills I didn’t even think to include. She’s also been helpful at identifying other occupations that other nurses she’s worked with have gone into.”

Despite all she’s been through over the last year, Cara is optimistic about her future. Caring for others is her passion, and she’s good at it, so she’d like to stay in healthcare or possibly teach the next generation of nurses.

Whatever she does, she’ll check to see if her new employer offers disability insurance.

“My previous employer offered the most impressive and best benefit they could, because having it allows you to survive emotionally and financially when the unexpected happens,” she said. “I was 24 when I first signed up for it, at a time when most people don’t think about protecting their income because you feel invincible. But life throws you curve balls, and you have to be ready for them.”


This article was originally published on WorkWell.

About the Author

Brian Baker
Manager, Corporate Communications, Unum

Brian has been in the communications business for more than 15 years, getting his feet wet in the Big Apple before returning to his Southern roots. From buying media for AT&T to running traditional public relations campaigns for Mayfield Milk, he’s worked with brands with vastly different audiences and stories to tell. As a corporate communications manager for Unum and contributor of WorkWell, he gets to inform consumers on the importance of voluntary benefits and share ideas for improving their work productivity and tips for living a healthier lifestyle.

Away from work, Brian spends as much time as he can with his family. When he’s not watching his kids play sports, helping with homework or supporting his wife's racing on the USA Paratriathlon Team, he enjoys running and cycling in beautiful Chattanooga.

About Unum Group

Unum (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for more than 170 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2021, Unum reported revenues of $12.0 billion and paid $8.2 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2022 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®.


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