Dec. 15, 2020
Impax Reports Positive Environmental Impact for 2019

Impax Asset Management is a U.K.-based global stock investment manager making a worldwide difference for the environment. It invests in companies pursuing positive environmental strategies with measurable outcomes, including wind farms, solar technology, and wastewater-reduction and -treatment techniques.

In 2016, Portico made a $20 million social impact first (SIF) investment in an Impax environment-focused strategy. The information below paints a picture of the positive environmental impact created by this investment during 2019 — through statistical outcomes and storytelling. ...

Nov. 9, 2020
Board of Trustees Approves 2021 Annuity Increases

Minneapolis — Each fall at its board of trustees meeting, Portico recommends annual adjustments to payments made to ELCA Participating Annuity Trust annuitants – changes to monthly variable annuity payments, annual dividends, and the bridge fund crediting rate. These adjustments take effect in January of the coming year.

Portico measures future annuity adjustments by calculating the Funded Ratio, which was positive (1.093) as of Sept. 30, 2020. This resulted in the Portico board of trustees' approval of an annuity payment increase for 2021. ...

Oct. 31, 2020
Target Date Funds Now Available

Earlier this month, Portico replaced its Select Series 40e, 60e, and 80e balanced funds with industry-standard target date funds — both social purpose and unscreened options. This is the most significant update to the plan’s fund lineup in 18 years, an important move that gives ELCA retirement plan members access to funds that maintain an age-appropriate asset mix over time.

Target date funds have become a popular choice in employer-sponsored retirement plans over the past decade, with total assets invested in target date strategies reaching $2.3 trillion at the end of 2019.1According to a recent study, 93.3% of defined contribution plans offer target date funds, and 87.3% plans offer these funds as the default investment.2 ...

Oct. 16, 2020
Nuveen Green Bond Impact Results for 2018

Portico’s social purpose (SP) investors get two kinds of returns — financial returns and evidence of social impact. The chart below describes the positive environmental impact Portico’s $25 million social impact first (SIF) investment in Nuveen Asset Management’s green bond strategy helped to create during 2018.

“This impact report is part of the return on investment for members who, in 2018, were invested in the ELCA Social Purpose Bond Fund or any of the Social Purpose Balanced Funds,*” said Erin Ripperger, Portico’s senior socially responsible investment analyst. “This is their opportunity to celebrate the many ways their investment had positive impact on the environment.” ...

Aug. 10, 2020
2021 Health Rates Reflect Lowest Increase in Seven Years

Portico Benefit Services remains steadfast in its commitment to care for the well-being of those who serve in the ELCA — so they can focus on the important work of serving others. Last week, Portico’s Board of Trustees approved the average baseline health contribution rate increase of 3.5% for all members who receive ELCA health coverage through their organizations in 2021. This is the lowest increase in seven years.

Members who are continuing ELCA-Primary health benefits at their own expense will also have an average baseline health contribution rate increase of 3.5%. Members continuing ELCA Medicare-Primary coverage at their own expense will receive a 7.5% increase, including retired members. Contribution amounts for 2021 remain far lower than those prior to 2019. ...

June 29, 2020
ELCA Benefit Contribution Trust Now Adequately Funded

Reducing the cost of benefits is always welcome, especially during these tumultuous times. Portico is pleased to announce that the ELCA Benefit Contribution Trust is now adequately funded.

Starting in July, sponsoring organizations in the ELCA Pension and Other Benefits Program will no longer be charged 0.7% of sponsored members’ defined compensation for retiree support, which means that ministries can repurpose those funds toward other needs. This reduction in payment is possible due, in part, to changes made in partnership with the ELCA in 2019 to offer Medicare Advantage hospital and medical benefits through Humana, which reduced the contribution rates for members while also reducing overall costs to the ELCA Medical and Dental Benefits Plan. ...

June 23, 2020
Two ELCA-Recommended Health Benefit Options for 2021

The ELCA Health Plan has always been a community plan, designed to meet the specific needs of ELCA congregations, institutions, social ministry organizations, churchwide organizations, seminaries, and those serving in these ministries.

To answer calls for greater flexibility in benefit features and pricing, Portico has, since 2014, offered four “metallic” ELCA-Primary health benefit options. At that time, the ELCA Church Council approved all four options, while recommending Gold+ as the option most like coverage offered before 2014. And most sponsoring employers have aligned with the ELCA’s recommendation — 83% chose Gold+ for 2020. ...

May 7, 2020
New On-Demand Videos Bring Living Well to Life

As the ELCA’s wellness leader, Portico is always on the hunt for innovative benefits and services that can help its faith-centered membership live well. In January 2020, Portico proudly introduced Being, a faith-based on-demand video platform featuring nationally recognized experts capable of bringing wellness learning to life.

To meet the specific needs of ELCA-Primary health plan members, Portico collaborated with the platform’s innovative creator, The Big Know, to create a customized version of its learning platform. The Being academy is the product of this collaboration, offering a combination of original content, Portico-customized content, and several courses shaped by Portico and taught by leading faith experts. ...

Feb. 25, 2020
IFF Investment Brings Positive Change to Communities

In November 2015, Portico selected IFF, a community development financial institution that serves low-income and special need communities in the Midwest, as its first social impact first (SIF) investment. Now, five years later, IFF continues to share the positive impacts this investment has helped make in multiple communities.

“This investment was chosen as it aligns well with the ELCA’s positive Community Economic Development Social Criteria Screen,” said Erin Ripperger, Portico’s senior socially responsible investment analyst. “IFF strives to help organizations that create opportunities for low-income communities and people with disabilities.” ...

Feb. 11, 2020
Customer Care Center Achieves Milestone Distinction for Excellence

Portico is proud to announce for the fifth consecutive year, the Customer Care Center has been certified as a Center of Excellence by BenchmarkPortal, a contact center benchmarking, certification, and training organization. BenchmarkPortal reviews thousands of customer service centers in 42 industries, and only awards the Center of Excellence certification to the top 10% of surveyed contact centers in the United States and Canada for each industry. This makes it one of customer services’ most prestigious awards. Contact centers designated as Centers of Excellence are recognized as delivering superior performance through efficiently and effectively caring for their members, while maintaining outstanding quality-related metrics and lower overall costs.

The dedication to outstanding service from Portico’s Customer Care Advocates is also acknowledged by Portico’s members. Pastor Ed Robbins of York, Pennsylvania, notes, “Portico is always the BEST customer service of any institutional resource I have ever experienced.” ...

Jan. 2, 2020
ELCA Health Plan Takes Another Evolutionary Step

Portico’s 2020 Live Well invitation represents an important next step in the evolution of its wellness approach to health benefits. This year’s new benefits help members access quality health care more easily and cost-effectively, personalize their wellness journeys, and find new ways to lead resilient, healthy lives throughout all dimensions of the Wholeness Wheel.

“While extrinsic incentives helped us attract attention to the importance of wellness,” said Rev. Jeff Thiemann, Portico’s president and CEO, “it’s far more important that people identify their own wellness-related needs, take action for their own reasons, enhance their well-being, and reap their own intrinsic rewards. The personalized benefits we offer today represent a more meaningful, cost-effective investment in the health and well-being of those we serve.” ...