Mercer Settles Alaska Pension Suit for $500 Million

The Alaska Retirement Management Board blamed Mercer for unfunded liabilities.

(June 15, 2010) — Marsh & McLennan Cos.’ Mercer consulting unit agreed to settle a $2.8 billion lawsuit brought by the Alaska Retirement Management Board for $500 million.

The suit blames the firm for billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities from 1992 to 2004, which Mercer denies. Insurance will cover $100 million of the settlement, the company said.

“This is a significant settlement that will benefit the state and our citizens,” Alaska’s Attorney General Daniel Sullivan said in the statement, according to Bloomberg. “We have been informed that by a large margin it is the largest such settlement in history for this kind of claim. This is, as far as we know, by far the largest actuarial settlement that has occurred in the country,” he added.

The civil suit was scheduled to go before a jury trial next month, with the state and the Alaska Retirement Management Board seeking at least $2.8 billion and payment due in 60 days.

According to a statement, Mercer concluded that a settlement was in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders for several reasons, including: the uncertainty of the outcome of a jury trial in Juneau, with its high concentration of plan participants; the complex technical nature of the claims; and the fact that the plaintiffs were seeking at least $2.8 billion in damages.

To contact the <em>aiCIO</em> editor of this story: Paula Vasan at <a href=''></a>; 646-308-2742