The risks and costs associated with offering a defined benefit pension plan have never been greater. Record low interest rates have inflated the value of plan liabilities, boosting the amount of money employers will have to contribute. Big swings in the equity markets have resulted in enormous fluctuations in the value of plan assets, making it difficult for employers to predict future plan funding levels. In addition, a recent change in law will impose by 2014 a 40% increase in the base premiums employers will have to pay the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Employers, though, are taking steps to reduce their exposure to these risks and costs. Many are freezing their plans, which stops the accrual of new benefit obligations. Others are offering plan participants the opportunity to take their monthly benefit as a lump sum. And more recently, employers are offering pension buy-outs. Employers taking these risk reductions strategies and the details on those approaches follows: View the gallery.