PPG Transfers $1.6 Billion of Pension Liabilities to MetLIfe, MassMutual

Paint and coating maker PPG Industries this week made a deal to transfer $1.6 billion worth of “pension risk” to MetLife and MassMutual.

The deal comes despite past comments from the MetLife CEO about the worrisome nature of pricing these deals.

From the Chicago Tribune:

The deal accounts for about 13,400 of PPG’s salaried and non-union hourly retirees or their survivors who began receiving benefit payments before April 2, Pittsburgh-based PPG said Monday in a statement that didn’t disclose terms. The insurers will assume the obligation to make all future annuity payments and administer the arrangements. Other participants will remain in PPG’s pension plan.

PPG joins companies including General Motors and Verizon Communications, which have been seeking to offload pension risks that are pressured by low interest rates and a growing possibility that beneficiaries may live longer than expected. Insurance companies, which are already focused on overseeing risks tied to life expectancies and huge bond portfolios, have been snapping up the deals, which give them more assets to manage in exchange for taking on liabilities.

“The agreement will transfer the payment administration and obligations to these high-rated insurance companies with a long history of efficiently providing group annuity benefits,” PPG said in the statement. “This transfer is consistent with previous PPG actions to better manage the company’s pension process.”

[…]

Prudential Financial Inc. has won some of the largest agreements, reaching multi-billion dollar risk transfers with GM and Verizon. MetLife Chief Executive Officer Steve Kandarian has been wary of some of those massive deals, since the long-dated liabilities cannot be repriced, leaving little room for error on price negotiations.

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