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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

PBGC runs two pension insurance programs: single-employer and multiemployer. While each program is designed to protect pension benefits when plans fail, they differ significantly in the level of benefits guaranteed, the insurable event that triggers the guarantee, and premiums paid by insured plans. The two programs are financially separate.  Assets of one program may not be used to pay obligations of the other.  Here's a deeper look into both programs.

The single-employer program covers pension plans that are sponsored by one employer. The insurable event triggering PBGC's obligation to provide guaranteed benefits is termination of an underfunded plan. This typically happens when the employer sponsoring the plan goes out of business or bankrupt, and can no longer afford to keep the plan going.  When this happens, PBGC takes over the plan's assets, administration and payment of plan benefits (up to the legal limit). More...

This entry is part of the Director's Hub blog series. You’ll hear from our Director, Tom Reeder, about the importance of preserving pension plans and protecting retirement security. Check out Tom’s bio to learn more about him.

The majority of my career has been dedicated to preserving retirement security, particularly helping employers establish and maintain retirement plans. I've gained an appreciation for companies that help their employees prepare for retirement by offering a pension plan, despite the perceived burden of maintaining such a commitment. I've also gained an appreciation for the dedication of federal government staffs in the pension area.

Since joining PBGC in October, I've had the pleasure of working with talented professionals who have one goal—protecting the pensions of the 40 million Americans PBGC serves. The staff at PBGC is dedicated to preserving defined benefit plans and protecting retirement security.More...

PBGC will pay retirement benefits for more than 2,700 current and future retirees at Walter Energy Inc., a producer and exporter of coal based in Birmingham, Ala.

The agency is stepping in because Walter Energy plans to sell the majority of its assets in bankruptcy proceedings and the potential buyers have signaled they will not assume the pension plan.

Walter Energy sponsors the Pension Plan for Salaried Employees of Walter Energy Inc. Subsidiaries, Divisions and Affiliates. This plan will end on Dec. 31, 2015. More...

PBGC actuaries completed a study of risk transfer events (RTEs) in pension plans. Risk transfer, also known as "de-risking," is how companies eliminate their pension benefit obligations. In a risk transfer, a company either pays off participants with a lump sum or buys annuities from insurance companies to replace the company pension.

The study looked at patterns in the data on Form 5500s that pension plan sponsors filed with the government from 2009 - 2013. By using those patterns, the actuaries identified companies that had recent risk transfers.

PBGC is interested in these events because:

  • Lower insurance premium payments may affect PBGC's long-term financial condition. 
  • Past risk transfer activity can help project future activity and help PBGC plan for its effects. 
  • Participants may elect to receive lump sums. If so, policy makers will want to ensure they have the correct tools to manage their funds wisely.

More...

Update: Open Government at PBGC

  |   October 19, 2015

US Capital

In case you missed it, we’ve added five new data sets to our Open Government webpage since our last post:

·        PBGC Appeals Board Data (PDF)
This data shows the number of appeals opened and closed, average number of days to close an appeal, percent of appeals with a decision change, and current number of appeals for FY 2006 through 2015.

·        PBGC Customer Satisfaction (Excel file, 18.7 KB)
This spreadsheet contains a graphical depiction of PBGC's customer satisfaction index for FY 2013 through FY 2015. PBGC uses the ForeSee CXA survey methodology to ensure customer ratings are objective. ForeSee CXA is a recognized standard throughout government and industry and is based on a 0-to-100 score. Customer satisfaction surveys are presented to visitors throughout the year to measure overall customer satisfaction and their satisfaction with our PBGC.gov website. This data set will be updated annually.  

More...

Thomas Reeder Jr.

"It's an honor for me to become PBGC's next Director. I've spent most of my professional life helping employers start and maintain retirement plans. I appreciate the faith the Administration and the Senate have shown in nominating and confirming me and I'm looking forward to getting started."