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.
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.
In case you missed it, on June 29, President Obama signed legislation to extend the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) through the end of 2019.
The IRS is currently reviewing this legislation and is working with its partners - including PBGC - to implement the HCTC program. Individuals cannot yet claim the HCTC credit since the program is not yet implemented. In the meantime, the IRS issued guidance for those who may be eligible for the credit.
The HCTC is a federal tax credit that pays a significant portion of qualified health insurance premiums for eligible individuals. This includes people who are 55-65 years of age and receive benefits from PBGC.
For the latest HCTC updates, visit PBGC's HCTC webpage and blog, Retirement Matters. While you're there, subscribe to the blog to make sure you receive all HCTC updates.
"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."