Board of Pensions Report Script
Today, as we reflect on 2020 and look forward to the coming year, I’ll share information regarding:
- Utilization of the Board of Pension COVID Assistance Programs
- The Board of Pension funding report for the pension and retirement plans
- A look back on the 2020 health insurance and what we can reasonably expect for 2022
- A Wellness Report highlighting the Naturally Slim pilot program of 2020
- Employee Assistance Program utilization
ANNUAL CONFERENCE ACTION ITEMS
COVID ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
- Approval of the BOP Report/Ministry Plan
- Housing Allowance Exclusion Resolution for Retired Clergy
- Election of New Board Members
In 2020, the Iowa Board of Pension set aside $1,000,000 to fund local church assistance programs to relieve financial stress on the local churches during the COVID pandemic:
- The COVID-19 STREAMLINED DIRECT BILL ASSIST PROGRAM
- 5 churches requested assistance
- Total assistance provided - $12,772
- THE COVID-19 PAYROLL ASSIST PROGRAM
- 1 church applied for assistance
- $1,000 was provided
Total assistance provided under the COVID programs - $13,772
During the fall of each year, the Iowa Board of Pension receives their valuation report from Wespath. As reported in August 2020 valuation, the Iowa Conference Board of Pension Pre-82 plan is expected to be funded at 104% in 2022.
Due to the current valuation, investment performance, economic outlook, and consideration of their fiscal responsibility, the Board of Pension has approved a 3.85% increase to the Past Service Rate from $674 in 2021 to $700 in 2022.
Funding for the MPP and CRSP plans are combined into one funding pool, defined by Wespath as Corridor Funding. The August 2020 valuation reported an expected funding ratio of 110% in 2022.
(Over the past several years, there has been much conversation related to pension liability, and it’s important to note the difference in the funded ratio and the market value of the plans. The funded ratio is a long-term funding-view taking into account all future contributions and future investment earnings. The market value of the plans is a current snapshot of the available assets. When determining the Iowa Board of Pension liability, that number is calculated using the current market value of the plans and the liability for payment of all benefits earned by the clergy. As of September 1, 2020, it was estimated the Iowa Conference had an unfunded pension liability of $106,489,006 based on the market value of the plan and the benefit liability.)
CONFERENCE HEALTH PLAN
The Board of Pension has offered health care coverage under the Wellmark Blues Choice Program for the past several years and has committed to choosing a plan that provides the ‘most good for the most people at the lowest cost’. During the 2020 calendar year, our health plan saw a small increase in the claims paid compared to the previous year and it is reasonable to expect a small increase to the premium rates in 2022. As the Board receives the Wellmark 2022 renewal rates and continues to evaluate the plan and the potential cost to the participant and local churches, the Board of Pension will take action no later than their August 2021 meeting to determine the 2022 family premium and local church health share.
As a reminder, the local church health share is a commitment to our United Methodist connection and includes the following expenses: the blended insurance premium, which averages the cost of all single and family plans; the ‘Conference’ HSA or HRA contributions for participants; health insurance and all related costs for our eligible clergy receiving CPP disability benefits or surviving spouses and families of clergy who had been actively serving; monies to fund the Board of Pension Medical Assistance program; and plan administration and consulting fees.
WELLNESS PILOT PROGRAM
In October of 2020, the Board of Pension sponsored the NaturallySlim pilot program. NaturallySlim is a behavior-based, 10-week plan that teaches participants simple skills to help them lose weight, improve their health and boost their overall quality of life. The ultimate goal of the plan is to reduce the prevalence of obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. The program began with 73 participants and resulted in a total weight loss for all participants of 401 pounds, which averaged out at 4.5% loss of body weight.
Our Wellness Coordinator, Kae Tritle, will be working closely with the Health Insurance/Well-Being Committee of the Board of Pension in 2021 to plan for the continued care of clergy, staff, and their families, through programs promoting healthy habits and behaviors.
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
As the Board of Pension works to support the wellbeing of clergy, staff, and their families, the Board sponsored the partnership with Employee & Family Resources to provide an employee assistance program beginning July 1, 2020. The employee assistance program includes a 24/7/365 call center, in-person assessments by licensed counselors, short-term counseling and referrals, life coaching, financial consultation, and many online resources for information and education.
At the end of February, Employee & Family Resources estimated that our annual utilization of the program would be 1.85% of our covered population. The Board of Pension has contracted with Employee & Family Resources to provide services to active and retired clergy and Conference staff. Members of the immediate household are also eligible for services, and the core services mentioned above are available at no cost! To learn more about this wellbeing benefit, please see the Employee Assistance Program page on the Conference website, or visit www.EFR.org
ACTION ITEMS FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF PENSION INCLUDE:
- APPROVAL OF THE BOP REPORT/MINISTRY PLAN
- HOUSING EXCLUSION FOR RETIRED CLERGY
- ELECTION OF NEW BOARD MEMBERS & OFFICERS