Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Inside Colorado PERA

PERA Continued to Provide Cost-Effective Service During Challenging Year

A PERA customer service representative, smiling

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

Image credit: CEM Benchmarking
(click to enlarge)

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.”


  1. Marcella J Ruch says:

    I’m thrilled with the management of PERA.

  2. Alberto Paredes says:

    It has been my opinion that during difficult financial times, PERA has taken decisions many retirees did not like. However, I think it is better to accommodate to the stress of the cuttings of COLA, than to lose the whole thing. When I retired, the annual increase was 3% automatic. During the 15 years since then, I have have felt grateful to remain an active member, and looking to the future of future members as well. Go PERA!

  3. Harvey Torrey says:

    It would be nice if I could access the website. Your Voice/text authentication doesn’t work with my humble pay as you go phone. So I’m locked out. So much for innovation.

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi Harvey,
      Sorry you’re having trouble accessing the website. If you call our Customer Service team at 1-800-759-7372 they should be able to help you out.

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