Increasingly, retirement plan sponsors are going beyond above and beyond ERISA’s requirements for the provision of plan communications that a wider diversity of employees can more readily understand. Industry experts share the latest on trends to break the language barriers inhibiting participation in employer sponsored retirement plans.
Understanding the ERISA Standard
Retirement industry service providers have seen a growth in requests for plan materials in languages other than English over the past several years. Requests for Mandarin, Cantonese and Spanish language materials are especially common. Currently, as Plan Sponsor sums up: “The Employee Retirement Income Security Act requires only that qualified plans with a large portion of non-English speakers provide assistance to those workers—in practice, often via a call center. The requirement applies to large companies where 10% of participants or 500 or more workers speak the same non-English language, or to small companies where 25% or more of employees are literate only in the same non-English language. Many plan sponsors now want to do more for those workers, providing additional materials and advice in their native language.”
In A Perfect World
Recognizing that digesting financial information and plotting a path to financial wellness and retirement is hard enough for native English speakers, plan sponsors and retirement industry experts are seeing the importance of going the extra mile when it comes to providing retirement plan information in the first languages of employees and their families. Demographic shifts underscore the relevance of doing so: “In 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, more than 67 million American residents spoke something besides English at home, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. That number has more than doubled since 1990 and tripled since 1980.”
Plan Sponsor shares these insights for employers looking to make websites, legal notices, enrollment, distribution and financial education content more accessible for more participants:
The larger a population of non-English speakers at a company, the more compelling the case for providing retirement materials to them in their native language. “It starts with taking a close look at the languages and cultures in your employee pool and then considering the plan offerings and communication of those offerings based on the needs of that employee population,” says Jolene Workman, vice president of customer care, retirement and income solutions at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa. “It’s putting the employee at the center and then thinking about, given the benefit, what is the best way to communicate based on that population’s needs?”
Dedication, Diligence—and Protection Too
As plan sponsors strive to meet the needs of a growing diversity of plan participants and beneficiaries, as well as get their ERISA fiduciary duties right, it’s also important to put protections in place for themselves. Archer Law reminds us that any person involved in the management of a retirement plan,“whether direct or indirect,” has fiduciary obligations and can be held personally liable for breach of fiduciary duties. Lawsuits can expose fiduciaries to numerous claims by plan participants and beneficiaries and the cost of defense alone is staggering. Colonial Surety is here to help. Our multi-year packages enable plan sponsors to secure Fiduciary Liability Insurance at locked in rates with annual premiums that cost less then one hour of ERISA legal advice. We even include Basic Cyber Liability Insurance. We make it so efficient and reasonable that you can secure insurance in minutes, now:
Armed with Colonial’s Fiduciary-Cyber Pack, if you face claims of alleged or actual breaches of duty in connection with the employee retirement plan, you’ll be covered for defense costs and penalty limits up to $1,000,000. Plus, in the event of a cyber breach, your business—and plan—will receive support at every stage of incident investigation and breach response, as well as coverage against lawsuits or regulatory actions related to the breach.
Proceed With Confidence?
Our Three Point Coverage Package offers plan sponsors the greatest value, protection and efficiency. Conveniently, Colonial provides: the required ERISA bond to protect the assets of the retirement plan from theft; Fiduciary Liability coverage to protect you and your assets from personal liability; and, Cyber Liability coverage to safeguard your company and plan from covered losses and expenses in the event of a cyber breach.
Serving customers since 1930, Colonial Surety is the trusted source for the pension industry to secure legally required ERISA bonds, fiduciary liability insurance and cyber-liability insurance. We help safeguard plan sponsors, pension professionals and financial advisors — and keep their businesses compliant — with pain-free, efficient, and friendly service every time.
Colonial Surety Company is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, US Treasury listed and in business all across the country.