The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s deficit increased to $36 billion in 2013, in large part because of the worsening financial picture at multiemployer plans.
The agency’s multiemployer insurance program’s deficit rose to more than $8.1 billion this year, compared with $5.3 million last year.
Multiemployer plans provide lifetime income to more than 10 million people in 1,400 plans, but because more plans are expected to fail in the future, costs have gone up.
The deficit in single employer pension plans dropped to $27.4 billion from $29.1 billion in 2012. This program insures the pensions of nearly 32 million workers and retirees in 23,000 ongoing private-sector plans. The single employer program’s potential exposure to future pension losses from financially weak companies is estimated at about $292 billion compared to about $295 billion in 2012.
The one thing PBGC excels at is customer service. The agency ranks in the top 3 percent in a survey measuring 154 categories of customer responsiveness. PBGC achieved a score of 90 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which is more than 20 points above the government average.
PBGC works with large companies to make sure their retirement plans are secure. In 2013, the agency helped Eastman Kodak Co., the Tribune Company, Dynegy Inc. and others emerge from bankruptcy with their pension plans intact.