In this story:
- CEM Benchmarking report finds PERA’s administrative costs in 2020 were lower than the average of its peer group
- PERA’s service score reflects challenges of COVID-19 pandemic
- PERA remains committed to improving service to members, retirees
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado PERA continued to provide a high level of service to its members at a low cost in 2020, according to the latest report from CEM Benchmarking.
The report, which is released every year, compares PERA to other large public pension systems around the United States and the world on two key measures: administrative costs and the quality of service members receive. PERA consistently ranks among the top of its peer group of similarly sized pension systems.
How PERA’s costs compare to other public pension plans
PERA’s pension administration costs in 2020 totaled $31.4 million, for a cost of $48 per member. That’s lower than the average of $62 per member for PERA’s peer group. In particular, PERA spends less than its peers on front-office staff, information technology and major projects.
PERA’s administration costs have been decreasing since 2018, when the cost per member was $52, while peer organizations have increased slightly.
Impact of COVID-19
CEM Benchmarking measures service quality from the perspective of a PERA member, looking at factors such as how long it takes to reach a customer service representative on the phone, and how many of those calls result in a desired outcome.
Like other public pension systems, PERA saw some effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reflected in its service score in 2020. Economic uncertainty led to an increase in calls from members inquiring about retirement, and that resulted in longer wait times for PERA’s Customer Service Center, as well as longer call duration.
As a result, PERA’s total service score dipped slightly to 82 out of 100, which was equal to its peer group but higher than the average of 76 for all pension systems included in the report.
Continuing to build on a tradition of service
The customer service center is a cornerstone of PERA’s operations, providing important information and assisting members and retirees on a daily basis. As PERA continues to work toward fulfilling the Board’s vision of innovation in service delivery, PERA’s customer service team strives to build on its tradition of service quality and dependability.
PERA hired a new director of customer service in September. Philip Hill has more than 25 years of experience in customer service call centers, more than half of which has been in retirement services and human resources.
Hill said his focus will be on making sure PERA’s customer service representatives have everything they need to continue meeting members’ needs in the future.
“In customer service, we consistently look at our methods to make sure we are providing the best service possible,” he said. “We need to continue to maximize our knowledge and availability to our callers through all the tools available to us. This is a great team that wants to do their best for each caller and provide world-class customer service.”