New Jersey insurer faces costs of lifetime benefits

A private insurer in New Jersey has made available lifetime employee benefits, should members public school teachers be found eligible, the Bergen Record reports. Despite Governor Chris Christie's moves to reduce government obligations to teacher unions' benefits, the New Jersey Schools Boards Association Insurance Group had been paying out $500 per month over the lifetime of retirees.

In 2009, the NJSBAIG paid out roughly $29,000 in benefits, but that number is expected to exceed $500,000 in coming years. According to the source, the agency is a 28-year-old nonprofit that helps collect workers compensation funds from 38 school districts to fund benefit payments.

The Record reports that the agency incurred roughly $80,000 in expenditures last year, raising questions about where the money is going despite the assertion of executive director Martin Kalbach that no one is collecting payments.

Nevertheless, reforming public union retirement benefits remains a necessary action in the Garden State, which faces a $10.7 billion budget shortfall in 2012. Additionally, the state's pension fund is $54 billion in debt.  

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