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Can All Sides Win the Pension Reform Battle?

In the US, pension reform is one of those topics that, like abortion and gun control, have people from all backgrounds and belief systems gesticulating wildly and arguing endlessly. Take this recent article about pension reform in New Jersey, where both sides accuse the other of either

  1. not making enough concessions (the unions), or
  2. reneging on their promises (the government).
While the fiscal realities of this era ultimately force a move to some point between the axes, supporters and detractors will fight for every last inch until the deal is done – and even then, parting with a sense that they will be back to the negotiating table the next time around.

In fact, anywhere in the world where increased life spans strain pension funding coffers, the debates can be as boisterous as what Americans have come to expect. The government of Norway realized it had a longstanding problem that was only going to get worse as longer retirements collided with decreasing worker-to-pensioner ratios. In 2005, the parliament legislated to introduce radical pension reforms to take effect beginning in 2011. Encouraging citizens to work beyond traditional retirement age, these measures allowed for flexibility in the age and rate at which individuals could start to draw money from their pensions. It fell on Norway’s Welfare and Pensions Administration, or NAV, to institute a system to deal with the predicted increase in pension activity while continuing to address the process claims and payments under the old system.

How did NAV get Norwegians to submit two-thirds of their pension claims online, and process two-thirds of those within seconds? Check out Norway transforms pension management with FICO rules management technology to learn about Norway’s pension transformation, which helped NAV gain a Computerworld Honors award for “Using Technology to Benefit Society.”

I’d also be curious to hear about other global jurisdictions that have instituted technologies and/or strategies that are helping to reduce the sting of pension reform in an era where, one may say, the battle lines are being redrawn as funding sources dry up, and an aging population further strains an already weakened infrastructure.

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