Although the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.'s recent plans to expand its premium audit program suggests employers might not be paying their full dues, many pension plan sponsors might be paying too much, said Tom Terry, president of Chicago Consulting Actuaries Inc.
"Plan sponsors need to know that the PBGC is not telling them the full story," Mr. Terry said in a prepared statement.
"Based on what we've seen, there are many companies that are substantially overpaying," he said.
Through its own audits of 50 companies since 1991, the Chicago-based actuarial consultant has discovered that roughly half have mistakenly overpaid the benefit guaranty corporation's premiums, to the tune of more than $4 million.
But Jane Hoden, a PBGC spokeswoman, disputed CCA's findings.
"Based on the PBGC's experience with premium audits, approximately 25% of the plans have underpaid PBGC premiums, while less than 1% of them have overpaid," she said.
She noted the pension insurance agency maintains records of premium payments by all 50,000 pension plan sponsors who buy PBGC insurance.
On those occasions that pension plan sponsors have overpaid - usually because of wrong estimates, changes in plan years or plan shutdowns - plans typically amend their filings.
The sponsors can choose to either request a refund or receive a credit toward their next premium payment, she said.