WASHINGTON Nov 15 The U.S. agency that insures
corporate pensions reported a record annual deficit of $26
billion on Tuesday with its potential exposure to financially
weak companies also on the rise in a tough economy.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp said the shortfall -- the
difference between assets on hand and obligations it owes
retired workers -- grew by $3 billion in the fiscal year that
ended Sept. 30.
Most of the deficit was in the account for pensions once
run by individual corporations -- or single-employer plans.
Those traditional plans were structured to pay a set annual
amount to retirees.
PBGC, which covers 44 million workers and retirees in
mainly single-employer plans, said its potential exposure to
financially weak companies grew by $57 billion to $227 billion
from the year-ago period.
The agency did not identify specific industries or
In 2011, PBGC paid nearly $5.5 billion in benefits to
873,000 retirees and assumed responsibility for 152 underfunded
Lower interest rates used to measure benefit payments was a
factor for the higher deficit last year, the agency said.
PBGC has $81 billion in assets on hand to cover
obligations, the bulk of which are benefits to be paid over