Agreement reached in ELCA Board of Pensions lawsuit

Posted on November 1, 2013 by ELCA News

According to an October 2013 news release from Portico Benefit Services, an agreement has been reached in the 3-year old lawsuit against the ELCA Board of Pensions following the judge’s finding that the vast majority of annuitants “were helped, not harmed, by [the Board’s] challenged actions and did not suffer the ‘same injury’ that Plaintiffs claim to have suffered.”

The lawsuit was filed in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis in December 2010 by four ELCA pastors who claimed that reduced annuity payments, attributed to major market losses sustained in the market recession of 2008 and 2009 that caused a funding shortage in the ELCA Participating Annuity Investment Fund, were improper.

“We’re pleased that our policies and practices have been upheld,” said Jeff Thiemann, president and CEO of Portico Benefit Services. The ELCA Board of Pensions became Portico Benefit Services in November 2011. “Our number one priority has always been, and will continue to be, caring for our members by fulfilling the fiduciary responsibility that we have for them.”

Thiemann added that the agreement affirms that the plaintiffs will continue to be treated in the same manner as all other annuitants.

“The decisions made by our trustees and management team on the previous annuity payment reductions have been difficult, and we recognize the impact on our members. In the long run, those tough decisions allowed the fund to become more stable, and it now enjoys fully funded status. This gave our trustees the opportunity to increase annuity payments in 2013,” said Thiemann.