Annuity Adjustments Approved for 2019

Nov. 03, 2018

Minneapolis — Each November, Portico recommends adjustments to monthly variable annuity payments, annual dividends, and the bridge fund crediting rate for the ELCA Participating Annuity Trust. This year, the board of trustees approved an annuity payment increase for 2019, the seventh consecutive increase in seven years.

Annual adjustments take effect in January of the coming year. They are largely determined using the Annuity Trust’s Funded Ratio: 1.091 as of Sept. 30, 2018. An increase for the coming year is possible when the Funded Ratio — Portico’s measurement of the health of the annuity — exceeds 1.0 as of Sept. 30. An approved formula distributes one-third of a surplus to members, and retains the other two-thirds for future annuity payments.

Curt Fee

“This is good news for our annuitants, and good news for the Annuity Trust.”

Curt Fee
Vice President and
Chief Investment Officer

The vast majority of annuitants receive monthly payments that are adjusted annually. For 2019, these monthly payments will increase 4.4%: 3% as a result of the positive Funded Ratio, and an additional 1.4% due to a change in the actuarial tables used to forecast life expectancy.

For annuitants receiving a dividend-eligible monthly payment, their monthly payments will remain at 2018 levels, and a lump-sum cash dividend of 20.8% will be paid out in Jan. 2019.

For future annuitants with money in an ELCA Participating Annuity Bridge Account, their interest-crediting rate will be 7.6% in 2019.

“This is good news for our annuitants, and good news for the Annuity Trust,” said Curt Fee, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer at Portico. “The methodology for managing annual adjustments is working as designed, and preserving the possibility for income growth over time while moderating the effects of market volatility, both positive and negative.”

Of note this year is a change to the actuarial tables used to calculate the life expectancy of current annuitants. Portico determined, during a regular review, that these tables had begun to overestimate life expectancy. This change had a favorable financial impact on annuity adjustments for 2019.

Those with questions about ELCA Participating Annuity Trust payment adjustments can contact the Portico Customer Care Center at 800.352.2876 or via email at

About the ELCA Participating Annuity
The ELCA Participating Annuity provides monthly annuity payments for life to participating ELCA plan members. Participating annuity assets are adjusted based on the investment performance and mortality experience of the Investment Fund. The assets are held in trust and are separate from other Portico assets. The ELCA Participating Annuity Trust does not rely on future cash flows to pay current benefits, so annuitants are not dependent on active members to fund their annuity payments.

About Portico Benefit Services
Portico Benefit Services provides health, retirement, disability, and survivor benefits and related services for approximately 50,000 active and retired ELCA pastors, rostered laypersons, lay employees, and their families.