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Pioneer Pension Plans: Advocating for Reinvented PBGC Premiums


Robert Tavares

March 5, 2024 - 18:22 pm


Reevaluating the PBGC Premium: A Push for Sustainable Pension Plans

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2024 – The enduring financial security of retirees could be facing a new horizon as the American Academy of Actuaries publishes a comprehensive public policy issue brief. The report illuminates the potential adverse effects originating from the current premium structure employed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's (PBGC) single-employer insurance program, along with potential strategies to mitigate these issues.

The Critical Role of the PBGC's Single-Employer Program

Grace Lattyak, the vice chairperson of the Academy's Pension Committee, highlights the single-employer program's essential function in safeguarding private-sector defined benefit plans. The PBGC's scheme has not only contributed positively to the program’s funding status but also stands out as crucial for the financial well-being of many American retirees. Yet, the analysis provided in Aligning the PBGC's Single-Employer Premium Structure With Its Objectives emphasizes the need for an evolved premium structure that would more effectively further the PBGC's mission. By adjusting the scheme, there is potential to stimulate the persistence of voluntary private pension plans and ensure that premiums remain at a minimum.

Detrimental Impacts of Current Premium Components

The premium components, a combination of fixed and variable rates, can have several unintended negative consequences. Notably, they can influence an employer's decision to establish a pension plan in the first place. Concern is also growing that these components may inadvertently push employers to:

  • Dismantle existing coverage for participants with minor benefits, and
  • Halt any expansion of plan coverage.

Furthermore, these premiums may inadvertently incentivize organizations to either freeze benefits or entirely withdraw from the defined-benefit pension system. Additionally, in particular cases, they can diminish the motivation for employers to adequately fund their pension plans.

The Congressional Gatekeepers of Premiums

Any adjustments to the premium structure must pass through the legislative hands of Congress, which currently holds the power to set these rates. There is also room for Congress to revise the existing budget scoring processes that may prompt higher premiums. The issue brief from the American Academy of Actuaries contains proposed solutions for altering not only the structure but also the authority and parameters surrounding the premium-setting process.

The Need for Congressional Action and Reform

The release of the issue brief could be a significant catalyst for congressional debates and actions that may lead to the reformation of PBGC premiums. These changes can potentially lead to a more sustainable, predictable, and fair pension landscape for both employers and employees. Congress, being at the helm of this decision-making process, will play a pivotal role in either reinforcing or remodeling the current paradigm as per the professional guidance of actuarial experts.

An Insight Into the Academy's Advocacy for Retirement Security

For those interested in the in-depth analysis conducted by the American Academy of Actuaries and their ongoing efforts in the realm of retirement security, comprehensive details can be found on The website serves as a hub for the Academy's extensive work, showcasing their commitment to protecting the financial futures of the American populace.

The American Academy of Actuaries: Guiding Public Policy for over Half a Century

Celebrating more than 50 years of service, the American Academy of Actuaries has made significant strides as a professional association, now encompassing a robust membership of 20,000 professionals. This establishment has dedicated itself to the public's interest and the United States' actuarial profession, providing crucial leadership, expertise, and counsel on a myriad of risk and financial security matters. Moreover, the Academy is recognized for setting the standards of qualification, practice, and professionalism for actuaries practicing within the nation.

Forthright Actuarial Guidance in Shaping Pension Policy

Policymakers rely on the Academy for its forthright actuarial guidance. In its advisory capacity, it stands as a beacon for those navigating the complex intersection of policy-making and the needs of retirees. As the discourse surrounding pension reform progresses, the insights offered by actuarial professionals, especially on such critical public policy matters, continue to shape legislative outcomes.


In the delicate balance between ensuring retirees' financial security and maintaining viable pension programs, the PBGC's premium structure is under the microscope. The role of Congress in determining these premiums is as pivotal as ever, with the industry leaning on the collective wisdom of actuaries to navigate these turbulent waters.

With endpoints set for a comprehensive review and possible overhaul of the PBGC's premium framework, it's a critical juncture for retirement policy. While the path forward may be fraught with legislative hurdles and intense debates, the ultimate aim remains clear – to align the PBGC's mission with a premium structure that favors the longevity and well-being of America’s pension plans.

Closing Note:

This news report is disseminated by the American Academy of Actuaries, an organization dedicated to the public and the civic betterment of the actuarial profession within the United States, and has consistently upheld public policy standards for decades. With the new public policy issue brief highlighting the PBGC's premium structures, there may well be a new chapter on the horizon for securing the promises made to America's working-class heroes in their retirement years.

Contact Information:

For more information about the report and the American Academy of Actuaries, the full issue brief and additional resources can be accessed by visiting

SOURCE: American Academy of Actuaries

The American Academy of Actuaries, with its long-standing tradition of serving public policymakers and taking a stance on several issues of national importance, continues to influence the pension sphere. This meticulous report from the Academy may soon incite action and potentially pivotal discussions in Congress which could redefine the future of pension premiums in the United States.

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