That’s what juggling benefit plan regulations, existing and emerging often feels like to plan sponsors– are not they’re not alone. Assistant Secretary of Labor, who leads the Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) describes efforts to prioritize action as a “game of regulatory Jenga.” Read on for insights about what’s currently stacked on top.
Creating more opportunities for more workers to save for retirement tops the priority list for Assistant Secretary Gomez “The majority of people do not have access to retirement savings and an opportunity to save for retirement through their employment … .This is really scary, particularly for underserved communities, for women, for caregivers.” Toward that end, Gomez is also concerned about providing more education and compliance assistance to plan sponsors–and would be plan sponsors–so that more employers can offer benefit plans: “We have benefit advisers in each of our regional offices that are literally just a phone call away to help not only participants but also plan sponsors that might be needing assistance and don’t know where to turn.”
The challenge of missing participants remains a big concern for EBSA, which already directs plan sponsors to: maintain complete and accurate census information; communicate with participants and beneficiaries about their benefit eligibility; implement effective policies and procedures to locate missing participants and beneficiaries; and, document the procedures and actions implemented. In addition to working on auto portability guidance for plan sponsors, the DOL, as mandated by SECURE 2.0, is at work on “a national, online “lost and found” database for Americans to track their retirement accounts.”
While looking out for employees and their beneficiaries, plan sponsors are cautioned: not to forget to protect themselves too: ERISA fiduciaries can be held personally liable for errors.Regulatory audits, lawsuits, cybersecurity incidents and even the mere allegation of a fiduciary breach are extremely painful, costly and disruptive under the high standards of ERISA.With Colonial on your side, a few dollars a day ensures defense costs and penalty limits up to $1,000,000 if faced with alleged or actual breaches of duty in connection with the employee retirement plan. Colonial’s efficient and affordable fiduciary+cyber liability package even includes protection against regulatory actions related to data and privacy, as well as expert response services in the event of a cyber breach—at no extra cost.
Secretary Gomez also emphasized that in the face of cybersecurity challenges, protection for retirement plans remains a concern and observed, “It seems like not a day goes by where we’re hearing about a different breach… but it’s a continuing struggle….” Indeed, cybersecurity experts point out that it’s best for businesses to be prepared for cyber breaches, because it’s no longer a matter of “if” incidents will occur, but when. For plan sponsors, the matter of cybersecurity takes on heightened importance since even a relatively minor incident can rapidly spiral into a fiduciary breach.
Plan sponsors will want to stay up to speed on the Department of Labor’s Cybersecurity Guidance, which explicitly directs them to monitor the cybersecurity protocols of all service providers, put response plans in place and implement best practices. Further support can be found at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Small and midsize businesses that lack the capabilities of larger companies may find CISA’s associated resources especially helpful. Experts further advise plan sponsors to create “a rolling calendar via which important topics like cybersecurity and participant data are regularly brought up for internal discussion among key stakeholders including HR, finance, legal, IT and communications.”
Colonial Surety is here to help plan sponsors too. Toward preventing cyber incidents from spinning into fiduciary challenges, we even include a cyber breach response plan in our affordable Cyber+Fiduciary Liability Insurance package. Along with defense costs and penalty limits up to $1,000,000, our liability insurance package for plan sponsors includes:
- Expert-led response services following a data breach.
- Protection from lawsuits and regulatory actions related to the breach.
- Legal services.
- Computer forensic services.
- Public relations and crisis management expenses.
- Notification services.
- Call Center services.
- Credit and Identity monitoring
Protect yourself, efficiently and affordably today:
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Let Colonial help you make sure your plan sponsor clients have the coverage they need. Of course we have got you covered too! From Errors and Omissions Insurance to Fiduciary Liability Insurance, Employment Practices Liability Insurance–and more, we’re HERE with the coverages pension professionals need to keep the business going—and growing.
Colonial Surety Company is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed and in business all across the country. Serving customers since 1930, we are 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.