DALLAS (BP)–The Annuity Board has “much to celebrate as we close the books on 2000,” O.S. Hawkins, president of the Southern Baptist Convention agency, told trustees during their Feb. 26-27 meeting in Dallas.
“Future generations will view the year 2000 as a significant milestone in the Annuity Board’s history,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins reported to trustees on board actions in response to the expansion of its mission statement and additional ministry assignments approved by the Southern Baptist Convention last June in Orlando, Fla. “Much of our work during the last half of 2000 has been focused on making arrangements to enable Annuity Board participants and their spouses to have additional avenues available to them to save for retirement and other saving needs,” Hawkins noted.
John Jones, the board’s chief operating officer, further explained progress to make available additional products and services during the last half of 2001. “With the approval of the new ministry assignments the Annuity Board will sponsor the creation of AB Funds Trust, a family of registered mutual funds,” Jones said. “To achieve greater efficiencies in service, an new business system will be needed. Plans to implement these two initiatives were launched in 2000. Progress indicates we are on track to launch both of these initiatives in the second half of this year.”
Jeffrey Billinger, the board’s treasurer and chief financial officer, reported total assets were $7.7 billion at Dec. 31, 2000, compared to $8 billion at Dec. 31, 1999. Lackluster performance in the U.S. and international financial markets produced a loss in net income for the year of $190 million. Gifts to the endowment program, meanwhile, set a new record and relief payments to needy retirees and/or their widows also were at an all time high.
Benefit payments and withdrawals in 2000 totaled $430 million. Applications were processed for 2,460 persons who elected a funded benefit. At year’s end there were 29,325 participants/beneficiaries receiving funded benefit payments from the board. Participants or beneficiaries receiving fixed annuities of five years or longer received a 5 percent increase in their benefit as of Jan. 1, 2001.
The Church Annuity Plan had 50,794 persons from 23,774 churches in active billing status Dec. 31, and another 39,120 institutional and agency employees had active retirement accounts. Participant contributions of $335 million represent a 6.4 percent increase over 1999.
New products and services were launched in the insurance services area during the last quarter of 2000. Two new Medicare supplement plans were designed and a comprehensive communication and enrollment strategy was completed. An individual dental program was offered to Personal Security Program participants, and through an arrangement with GE Capital Assurance a long-term care product was made available.
A record total of $5,332,079 was distributed through the Board’s relief program to needy retired ministers and their widowed spouses. The amount received from the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program and special designations totaled $1,510,481. The entire Cooperative Program allocation for the Annuity Board and special designations is spent in relief ministry without any expense applied. The board’s Retired Ministers’ Support Fund supplements the convention allocation. A significant number of persons on relief receive no regular retirement annuity because their churches never enrolled them in the Church Annuity Plan.
At year’s end there were 864 persons receiving supplemental assistance grants, and nearly 2,500 received the $75 Adopt An Annuitant benefit.
The trustees’ relief committee considered 61 relief requests. They approved 2 four-month monthly grants, 1 five-month monthly grant, 30 two-year monthly grants, 5 two-year expense grants and 1 nine-month expense grant. Fifty-two individuals were added to the Adopt An Annuitant roll.
All executive officers were re-elected. The Annuity Board bylaws require annual election of both general (trustee) officers and executive officers. Douglas D. Day, a 14-year veteran of the board, was elected executive officer for benefit services. Day will oversee the retirement and insurance areas of the board.
Trustees accepted the recommendation of their general officers nominating committee and elected George Tous van Nijkerk of North Carolina to a second one-year term as chairman and Gary Glanville, of the Maryland/Delaware state convention, to a one-year term as vice chairman.
At the Monday evening dinner meeting, eight trustees were honored for their years of service to the board: Gerald E. Boman, Florida; Alton L. Fannin, local trustee from Oklahoma; James W. Hixson, Michigan; Ivey D. Massey, New Mexico; Guy Morton Jr., Ohio; Pete Sharber, Georgia; David C. Sheppard, Missouri; and Richard D. Welch Pennsylvania/South Jersey.
The next scheduled meeting of the Annuity Board trustees is July 30-31 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
(BP) file photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: O.S. HAWKINS.