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News & Policy

PBGC Rated High for Customer Satisfaction

August 27, 2003

Workers and retirees whose pensions have been taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) give the agency high marks for customer service, according to the 2003 American Customer Satisfaction Index. Pension participants awarded the agency a score of 77 on the index, seven points higher than the overall government score of 70 and three points higher than the private-sector score of 74.

"At a time when the PBGC is becoming responsible for the pensions of more people than at any time in its history, the agency continues to provide high levels of customer service," said Executive Director Steven A. Kandarian. "PBGC's staff are doing an excellent job of meeting the expectations of our customers."

The PBGC's overall customer satisfaction score on the 2003 survey rose three points from the previous year. Specific areas of improvement were "customer care" (from 83 to 86), "written communication" (from 80 to 84), and "concern resolution" (from 78 to 82). In the area of "prior expectations," which measures how satisfied customers thought they would be before the PBGC took over their pension plan, the score remained unchanged at 68.

Established in 1994, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) provides a uniform and independent measure of consumers' experiences. The ACSI is produced through a partnership with the University of Michigan Business School, the American Society for Quality, and the consulting firm CFI Group.

In fiscal year 2002, the PBGC became trustee of pension plans covering 187,000 people, which was the largest one-year increase in the agency's history and brought the number of workers and retirees owed guaranteed benefits to 783,000. The PBGC expects an even larger influx of new participants in fiscal year 2003, which will bring the total number of participants in the program close to 1 million.

PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It insures the basic pension benefits of 44 million American workers and retirees participating in more than 32,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. The agency receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and investment returns.

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PBGC No. 03-54