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Retired Teamsters wait for Congress to act on wobbly pension fund

The U.S. House passed a bill to prop up the failing fund. Now it's in the Senate's hands. [More]


Long process predicted for multiemployer reforms

U.S. House committee approval of a multiemployer pension reform package seems likely to be only the first step in a process that will see many changes before a final plan emerges. [More]


Setting the record straight about America's multiemployer pension crisis

Just days ahead of the House Ways and Means Committee's planned markup of legislation that would offer government loans for struggling multiemployer pension plans, conservative academics have launched an all-out attack on the bill. A commentary by Gene Kalwarski. First published in The Hill. [More]


Health insurance premiums up 5% for state workers

Health insurance premiums for current and retired state employees will increase 5% next year under a plan approved Tuesday that involves reducing the amount of money set aside to pay unexpected large medical claims. [More]


Rx shift weighed for state retirees; Medicare option outlined to panel

Dropping drug coverage for retired state employees who are on Medicare would save $20 million a year for state employee and retiree health plans and lower the overall health care costs for 82% of the retirees, a consultant told an advisory panel on Friday. [More]


Actuary: Without changes, health insurance rates for state workers likely need big increase

Without a cut in benefits or other changes, health insurance rates for state employees will likely need to rise by double digits next year, an actuary told a state board Tuesday. The projection by John Colberg, an actuary with the consulting firm Cheiron of McLean, Va., is in line with what he told the State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board last year about the outlook for 2020. [More]


Debunking myths of a loan program for struggling multiemployer pension plans

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act offers the best chance of preventing the insolvency of the 121 failing multiemployer pension plans covering 1.3 million workers. By David Blitzstein, Jeffrey B. Cohen, Gene Kalwarski and Judy Xanthopoulos [More]


Public plans receive their own mortality tables

The first mortality tables specifically for public-sector pension plans--identifying teachers as likely the largest public pension obligation cohort--might not surprise administrators of large plans, but it does offer them a way to benchmark to their peers. [More]


Mature Pension Plans Are Sensitive--Manage With Care

California county pension plans in SACRS or the State Association of County Retirement Systems are more mature than the typical public plan nationwide and thus more sensitive to investment volatility, according to a survey by Cheiron actuaries published in the latest SACRS magazine. See page 18. [More]


Senators introduce bill to help United Mine Workers pension fund

Six Democratic senators introduced a bill that aims to shore up the beleaguered United Mine Workers of America 1974 Pension Plan, Washington, and ensure that no miners lose their health care due to 2018 coal company bankruptcies. [More]


Some unions turning to variable benefit pension plan model

As a special committee in Congress continues to grapple with ideas to help struggling multiemployer pension funds and to keep others from the same fate, an increasing number of trustees are forging ahead with shared-risk or variable benefit plan designs that can better match benefits to market returns. [More]


For American Workers, 4 Key Retirement Issues to Watch in 2019

For American Workers, 4 Key Retirement Issues to Watch in 2019 [More]


A million pension checks risk huge cuts without this fix

A multibillion-dollar pension shortfall is ready to shake up enough lives to pack a string of stadiums hosting the Super Bowl. But most people on the street aren't talking about the looming crisis, unless they're worried about seeing their own pension check slashed. Those living in fear include workers and retirees connected to the Central States Pension Plan, which covers Teamsters in Detroit and elsewhere. [More]


SFERS Board Cuts Rate of Return to 7.4%

The board of the $24.5 billion San Francisco Employees' Retirement System (SFERS) has approved a small reduction to its expected rate of return to 7.4% from 7.5%, retaining the system's status as having the most optimistic return projections of any public pension plan in California. [More]


Struggling multiemployer plans see help ahead at expense of healthy funds

With less than a week to produce a solution to a massive multiemployer pension underfunding problem, expectations of a special congressional committee are shifting from dramatic new ideas to some tough choices for plan sponsors. [More]


Denver Employees selects 2 for actuary roles

Denver Employees Retirement Plan hired Cheiron as consulting actuary and Gabriel, Roeder, Smith as reviewing actuary, said Randall Baum, chief investment officer, in an email. [More]


Time for Select Pension Committee to Shine as Midterms' Afterglow Dims

With the 2018 midterm elections mostly in the rear-view mirror, it's time for a special bipartisan congressional committee on pensions to complete its mission and come up with a comprehensive and fair solution that rescues financially struggling plans, helps save the federal agency backstopping pensions, and protects the hard-earned benefits owed to retirees and active workers. [More]


Struggling Multiemployer Pensions Need Drastic Fix

There are more multiemployer pension plans on the path to insolvency this year than there were last year and for many of them, the only chance they have at survival will have to come from Congress. [More]


List of struggling multiemployer plans grows in 2018

The number of multiemployer pension plans in crisis continues to grow, according to an analysis by Cheiron, released Thursday. [More]


Cheiron Study finds 121 multiemployer pension plans may fail within 20 years More than 1.3 million participants could lose benefits

As many as 121 multiemployer pension plans covering 1.3 million workers are underfunded by $48.9 billion and have informed regulators and participants that they could become insolvent within 20 years because they don't have the money to pay the full promised benefits. [More]


New England Teamsters facing $5.1 billion pension shortfall, putting retirees at risk, study says

A pension plan covering more than 72,000 truck drivers and warehouse workers represented by the New England Teamsters union is the nation's second most underfunded multiemployer pension plan and is on track to run out of money within a decade, according to a new study by Cheiron. [More]


Pension risk assessment standards on deck

Pension plan sponsors of all types are keeping an eye on Nov. 1, when new actuarial standards on pension obligation risk assessment kick in. [More]



The Treasury Department last week approved a plan to reduce benefits paid out from the Teamster Local 805 Pension and Retirement Plan. That marks the eighth application approved under the Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act since it was passed in 2014, and the fourth this year. [More]


San Diego officials divided over accelerating pension debt payoff

Proposals to accelerate paying off San Diego's pension debt of $2.76 billion are sharply dividing the city's pension board, which decided on Friday to delay any decisions until late October or early November. [More]


Controversy simmering over gauging pension obligations

Debate over the proper way to measure pension obligations is once again in the spotlight, with the Actuarial Standards Board considering yet another way to measure them and a special congressional committee on multiemployer pension plans debating whether current practices control enough for investment risks. [More]


Public Pensions Adopt Cost Sharing Mechanisms to Stem Volatility

Sandy Matheson, with the help of the fund's actuarial firm, Cheiron, put together a plan in which the risks of investment gains and losses weren't just assumed by taxpayers, but shared between local governments, their employees and retirees. Maine adopted the risk-sharing plan for municipal employees that participate in the system starting the fiscal year that began July 1. Matheson plans to brief lawmakers on extending it to state employees and teachers." [More]


Sandra Matheson and Gene Kalwarski Win Society of Actuaries Retirement 20/20 Contest for Papers on Public Pension Plans

Sandra Matheson, executive director of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, and Gene Kalwarski, CEO, and founder of Cheiron have won a Society of Actuaries contest for papers about public pension plans. [More]


States Want Public Pensions to Assess Risks of Next Downturn

Colorado and Minnesota recently joined other states in moving to require public pension plans to undergo stress testing. [More]


Commentary: Stress testing a critical need for public pension funds

​I believe all public pension plans should regularly conduct stress tests. Those that don't risk having stress testing thrust upon them by lawmakers. More importantly, stress testing is critical to the long-term success of public pension plans. [More]


A battle to hold on to pensions-- and the dreams they carried

"A major problem with the funding of many pension plans is the ratio of active to retired workers. It's swung from two active workers for every retired worker 20 years ago to one active worker for every five retired workers in some plans today," said Gene Kalwarski, chief executive of Cheiron in McLean, Va., which has multiemployer plans as its clients. "These funds are getting drained," Kalwarski said. "More and more people are living into their 80s or beyond, and there are fewer workers left behind to support them." [More]


Illinois public safety pension funds outside Chicago fare no better

The unfunded liabilities of local government public safety funds outside Chicago nearly doubled over the last decade, eroding funded ratios to below 60%. [More]


Sherrod Brown and Democrats have a plan to save pensions. Now Congress must decide if it's a rescue or a bailout

Ohio U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and top Democratic leaders want to lend billions of dollars to troubled union pension plans. The pension managers could take some of the money and pay former truck drivers, ironworkers, coal miners, clerks, bakers and confectioners their monthly retirement checks. [More]


Loan programs seen as viable answer to multiemployer woes

The dire straits faced by more than 100 struggling multiemployer pension funds are starting to draw attention in Congress, raising hopes that solutions, including a new federal loan program, are within reach. [More]


Schumer backs proposal to help troubled Teamsters pensions

Teamsters whose pension benefits were cut could see some future relief under a proposal backed by Sen. Charles E. Schumer. [More]


Relieving Pension Tension?

Cheiron CEO Gene Kalwarski was honored by the publication of a piece he wrote for the Forbes website, under the aegis of Dr. Olivia Mitchell, executive director of the Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. [More]


IRS releases new mortality tables for plan sponsors

The IRS issued updated mortality tables that plan sponsors will have to study quickly before they go into effect for plan years starting Jan. 1, 2018. [More]


Cheiron consulting actuary to be honored for volunteerism

Kenneth A. Kent, a consulting actuary with Cheiron in McLean, Va., will be recognized by his peers at the American Academy of Actuaries when he receives the Jarvis Farley Service Award at its annual meeting in November. [More]


Exclusive: U.S. agency claims huge hole in Westinghouse's pension plan

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation estimates Westinghouse Electric Co. Pension Plan is underfunded by $937 million. [More]


American Academy of Actuaries To Honor Ken Kent With Jarvis Farley Service Award

The American Academy of Actuaries will present Cheiron's Ken Kent with the prestigious 2017 Jarvis Farley Service Award at the organization's Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum, Nov. 14-15, 2017, in Washington. [More]


PBGC looking to partitions for relief

The PBGC's first approval of a multiemployer pension plan for benefit cuts with a partition is raising hopes that other plans will also be able to get partitions approved. [More]


Multi-Employer Pensions Divided Between Haves, Have Nots

Two recent reports that studied the funding levels of multi-employer pension plans alternately offer a half-empty, half-full view of the current health of defined benefit plans. Together, they depict a landscape where many pension funds are struggling, yet most of them are doing fine. [More]


Cheiron finds 114 multiemployer plans heading to insolvency

As many as 114 multiemployer pension plans expect to become insolvent within the next 20 years, according to an analysis released Tuesday by actuarial consulting firm Cheiron. [More]


Cheiron Study finds 114 multiemployer pension plans projected to fail within 20 years
More than a million participants could lose benefits

As many as 114 multiemployer pension plans are underfunded by $36.4 billion and expect to become insolvent within the next 20 years because they don't have money to pay participants their full benefits. [More]


Hotel Industry Trust That Left 401(k) for Pension Gets IRS OK

IRS approves UNITE HERE! Local 26 variable defined benefit pension plan designed by Cheiron. [More]


Partition May Be Pension Rescue Ticket for Some Plans

The PBGC's conditional approval of a Nashville, Tenn., pension plan's request to be partitioned may encourage trustees of other financially troubled plans covering union workers to use such a tool to help avoid insolvency. [More]


United Furniture Workers pension fund gets OK to reduce benefits

United Furniture Workers Pension Fund A, Nashville, Tenn., won approval from the Treasury Department to cut benefits for participants, including retirees. [More]


Treasury Department Gives Thumbs Up to Second Pension Rescue

A pension fund in Nashville is now the second plan covering unionized workers to receive Treasury Department approval to cut members' benefits. [More]


Detroit braces for hefty pension, debt payments

Facing annual pension and debt payments of more than $100 million for several years, Detroit is preparing its first 10-year financial report that will include potential sources of revenue such as the Pistons' expected move to the city and other downtown projects. The report, which will also detail how the city handles ballooning pension and debt payments beginning in 2024, will be key to the city maintaining its post-bankruptcy financial health and fulfilling its goal of getting out from state oversight by 2018, Detroit Chief Financial Officer John Hill said. [More]


Pension case could cost city millions

Lawsuits over San Diego's 2012 pension cutbacks could cost the city millions of dollars, but estimates of how much exactly the city would have to pay vary widely. [More]


State and school employees seeing health costs rise a little now, a lot later

Arkansas public school employees and retirees will see bigger contributions for their health insurance in 2017, but face even larger contributions in 2018 and 2019, Cheiron Inc.'s John Colberg told legislators. The increases in contributions were decided by the State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board in July 2016. [More]


Fact Check: Will Phx pension reform cost taxpayers $350 million?

The Arizona Republic fact-checked an advertising campaign by a group of firefighters opposed to Proposition 487, a ballot initiative also known as the Phoenix Pension Reform Act, which the group said would cost taxpayers more than $350 million over the next 20 years. [More]


Adjustable Pension Plan Gaining Interest in Certain Business Sectors

A defined benefit pension plan design that reduces employer risk while assuring participants a guaranteed minimum lifetime benefit is attracting increased interest from certain business sectors. Known as an adjustable pension plan, the design derives its name from the fact that the benefit earned by participants is based not just on employees' compensation and years of service, but also on returns on investment of plan assets like in defined contribution plans. [More]


IRS Gives Green Light to Adjustable/Variable Pension Plan

The IRS has issued a private letter ruling approving a pension designed with Adjustable Pension Plan (APP) features. The ruling resolves an uncertainty with respect to a particular design formula that can be used to customize the APP (AKA Variable Defined Benefit, or VDB Plan) to meet the needs of plan sponsors. [More]


Cheiron's APP Featured in GAO Report

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identifies Cheiron's variable DB plan, also known as the "adjustable pension plan" (APP) as an option "for a flexible DB plan to address risks facing multiemployer plans." The NCCMP's "Target Benefit" model was also cited.

In very broad terms, an APP plan is developed on a conservative (e.g., 5%) rate of return and mortality assumption. Benefits are adjusted to account for varying economic conditions. The more conservative nature of the plan results in more stable financial costs for the employers. The pooled risks (mortality and investments) provide better benefits than a defined contribution plan would for the participants.



Cheiron, EFI Actuaries Combine to Form Larger Innovative Consulting Firm

On Jan. 1, 2013 Cheiron Inc. combined forces with EFI Actuaries to expand and build upon its leadership role in the actuarial consulting field. [More]


NY Times Guild Members Accept APP Plan

Journalists, advertising professionals and other New York Times employees, represented by the Newspaper Guild of New York Local 31003 CWA, have just embraced the adjustable pension plan (APP) concept by ratifying, by an eight-to-one margin, a new four-year labor contract featuring the innovative design pioneered by Cheiron.

Cheiron provided strategic advice to the New York Times Company and the Newspaper Guild as it analyzed how to maintain its pension program in a manner that preserved essential protections for workers, while assisting the company to manage its liabilities with greater predictability and flexibility. [More]


Cheiron's Hudson Testifies on Pension Crisis

Cheiron Consulting Actuary Richard Hudson joined a panel of pension scholars and experts Sept. 20 to testify at a U.S. Senate hearing titled "pension modernization for a 21st Century workforce." [More]


Large employer, union embrace Adjustable Pension Plan model

In a move that might signal an important trend in pension design, a major labor union and employer have agreed to adopt an Adjustable Pension Plan (APP) effective January 1. [More]


Cheiron’s Kalwarski tells trustees variable defined benefit plan may address some funding challenges of traditional DB plans

The variable defined benefit plan (VDB) design is beginning to catch the attention of traditional career-average DB plan sponsors who are looking for alternatives to terminating their existing plans, Cheiron CEO Gene M. Kalwarski, FSA, EA, MAAA, told trustees attending the IFEBP's 57th Annual Employee Benefits Conference in New Orleans recently. [More]


Senior IRS official James Holland joins Cheiron

Longtime IRS veteran James E. Holland, Jr., ASA, EA, FCA, MAAA, joined Cheiron, Inc. on January 4 as the firm's Chief Research Actuary. Holland, who had been Assistant Director, Employee Plans Rulings and Agreements since February 2008, left the Service after a distinguished 36-year career. [More]


Cheiron joins pension policy, government, labor leaders in retirement security forum

"It's time to think of new ways to encourage employers to provide pensions for their workers, and new types of pensions that do not put the full investment responsibility on workers," U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis told a recent gathering of retirement thought leaders in Washington.

Cheiron President Gene Kalwarski, another speaker at the gathering sponsored by "Retirement USA," presented an outline for an alternative pension design, the Variable Defined Benefit Plan. [More]

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