MetLife, MassMutual Win $1.6 Billion Pension Deal With PPG

  • Chemical company will transfer obligations for 13,400 retirees
  • Insurers will take on responsibility for future payments

MetLife Inc. and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. agreed to take on $1.6 billion in pension liabilities from PPG Industries Inc., the maker of paints and coatings.

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 Co. and Verizon Communications Inc., 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.” MassMutual has an AA+ grade at S&P Global Ratings. New York-based MetLife has an insurer financial strength rating of AA-.

Monthly Benefits

For a group of about 11,000 salaried retirees, the two insurers will each pay half the monthly benefits, with MassMutual acting as lead administrator, MetLife said in a separate statement Tuesday. MetLife will be the exclusive provider for the non-union hourly group.

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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