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Blue Cross eyes Medicare growth through private exchange

By: Bob Herman, Modern Healthcare

Published April 27, 2015 - 9:22am CST

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association will build a private health insurance exchange in the hopes of retaining workers who age into the Medicare program, the not-for-profit health plan group said Friday.

Kathleen M. Ireland used technology to keep IBM ahead of Superstorm Sandy

By: Mark A. Hofmann

Published April 26, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Like countless other businesses in the Northeast, IBM felt the fury of October 2012's Superstorm Sandy.

Funding of big pension plans dips in March

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 23, 2015 - 2:27pm CST

The funded status of very large pension plans sponsored by public companies dipped in March as a slight decline in interest rates boosted the value of plan liabilities, according to a Milliman Inc. survey released Thursday.

Captive benefit funding requests back on the fast track

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 21, 2015 - 4:06pm CST

The U.S. Labor Department's final authorization of a health care service firm's application to fund benefit risks through its captive insurance company affirms that the door again is open to employers to seek fast regulatory review of their captive benefit funding proposals.

DC plans playing catch-up on education for roll-ins

By: Robert Steyer, Pensions & Investments

Published April 20, 2015 - 10:08am CST

Defined contribution plans — from the International Paper Co. 401(k) plan to the federal Thrift Savings Plan and Oregon Savings Growth Plan — are allowing employees to roll in disparate retirement account balances from previous employers and individual retirement accounts, trying to help reduce the burden of managing multiple accounts and take advantage of lower fees.

Bill would extend Health Coverage Tax Credit

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 17, 2015 - 10:10am CST

Employees who have lost their jobs due to foreign competition, as well as retirees in failed pension plans, again would be eligible for federal health insurance premium subsidies under legislation introduced Thursday in the U.S. Senate.

BNP Paribas granted money management exemption

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published April 16, 2015 - 8:44am CST

BNP Paribas can continue providing money management services to U.S. retirement plans, despite the parent company's June 2014 guilty plea to violating U.S. sanctions in several countries, said a notice published Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor in the Federal Register.

Congress approves bill to increase cover from malpractice lawsuits

By: Judy Greenwald

Published April 15, 2015 - 3:16pm CST

Health care providers would be protected from Medicare's refusal in certain circumstances to pay charges to be used as a cause of action in medical malpractice lawsuits, under legislation that is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama.

Employees more optimistic about retirement

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 14, 2015 - 3:09pm CST

Fewer employees are planning to delay their retirement due to inadequate savings or other financial issues, according to new survey data released on Tuesday by PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P.

Labor Department's proposal for new fiduciary standard moves to comment period

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published April 14, 2015 - 2:58pm CST

The U.S. Department of Labor is moving full steam ahead with a proposed fiduciary standard for anyone giving retirement investment advice after years of retrenching, officials announced Tuesday.

Lower interest rates, longer life spans give pensions double whammy

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 14, 2015 - 12:32pm CST

Slammed by lower interest rates and adoption of new mortality assumptions reflecting longer life spans, funding levels of the largest U.S. corporate pension plans plunged in 2014, Towers Watson & Co. said Tuesday.

Former Enron trader Arnold may launch national PR push to reform pensions

Published April 10, 2015 - 10:49am CST

(Reuters) — Former Enron Corp. trader and hedge fund billionaire John Arnold may be about to launch a national publicity campaign to convince U.S. voters of the need to reform public pensions, according to a document seen by Reuters.

S&P warns of Chicago rating downgrade without pension fix

Published April 09, 2015 - 3:14pm CST

(Reuters) — Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said on Thursday it will likely downgrade Chicago’s A-plus credit rating if the city lacks a plan to “sustainably” fund its pensions by the end of this year.

Willis identifies energy sector opportunities

By: Matthew Lerner

Published April 09, 2015 - 11:19am CST

Energy insurers should capitalize on what Willis Group Holdings P.L.C. is calling the most competitive energy insurance market in 15 years, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Falling interest rates lead to pension plan funding decline

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 07, 2015 - 3:37pm CST

Plummeting interest rates, which inflated the value of pension plan liabilities, walloped funding levels in pension plans sponsored by large publicly held U.S. employers last year, reversing a big chunk of an earlier improvement in funding levels, according to a Milliman Inc. survey.

N.J. high court sets date for oral arguments on pension contribution cut

By: Robert Steyer, Pensions & Investments

Published April 07, 2015 - 10:24am CST

The New Jersey Supreme Court set oral arguments for May 6 to hear a challenge by more than a dozen public employee unions against Gov. Chris Christie’s withholding $1.57 billion in contributions from the state’s $77.1 billion pension system for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Illinois deferred compensation plan sets auto re-enrollment

By: Barry B. Burr, Pensions & Investments

Published April 07, 2015 - 10:03am CST

The Illinois State Board of Investment is automatically re-enrolling all 52,000 participants in the $4.1 billion Illinois State Employees' 457 Deferred Compensation Plan, based in Springfield, driving members out of the most popular investment option in the process.

Pension plan funding stable in March

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 06, 2015 - 2:53pm CST

Pension plans sponsored by S&P 1500 companies maintained an estimated aggregate funding level of 80% through the end of March, according to a report by Mercer L.L.C. released Monday.

Large company pension funding declined in 2014

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 03, 2015 - 3:06pm CST

The aggregate funding ratio for the largest 100 U.S. corporate pension plans dropped by 6.1% in 2014, due primarily to lower discount rates and a decline in employer contributions, according to a new study by Milliman Inc.

New rules simplify 401(k) auto-enrollment management

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 02, 2015 - 2:50pm CST

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service on Thursday issued new guidance designed to make it easier for employers to manage automatic enrollment and contribution increases in 401(k) and other types of retirement savings plans.

Rutherfoord brokerage chairman retires

By: Shelby Livingston

Published April 01, 2015 - 12:24pm CST

Richmond, Virginia-based brokerage Rutherfoord, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Agency L.L.C., on Tuesday announced its chairman, Thomas D. Rutherfoord Jr., has retired.

Bulgaria plans gradual rise in retirement age, pension payments

Published March 31, 2015 - 9:13am CST

(Reuters) — Bulgaria will gradually raise its retirement age and social payment contributions, the government said on Tuesday, as the European Union's poorest country struggles to fund pensions for a shrinking and aging population.

Pension risks can be insulated via cell captive

By: Sarah Veysey

Published March 29, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Cells within incorporated cell captive structures can provide a useful mechanism for the transfer of pension risk to the reinsurance market.

Companies turn to captives to tackle pension liabilities

By: Sarah Veysey

Published March 29, 2015 - 6:00am CST

The use of captive insurance companies or captive cells to transfer pension longevity risk is a relatively new but potentially cost effective and efficient way for employers to access reinsurance capacity to reduce their pension liabilities.

Multiemployer pensions rescue buys the PBGC some time

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 29, 2015 - 6:00am CST

While experts may disagree on the strength of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.’s insurance program for single-employer pension plans, there is a broad consensus that lawmakers had to act last year to prevent the collapse of big, underfunded multiemployer pension plans, and with that the PBGC’s multiemployer insurance program.

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