Samaritan Medical Center Chooses Transamerica for DB Plan After Success with 401(k) Plan

Learn how Samaritan delivered an improved 401(k) fund line-up, lower plan costs, and a more equitable participant fee structure through Fund Revenue Equalization.

The Challenge
It’s 2005 and Samaritan Medical Center (Watertown, NY) is focused on making improvements to their retirement program. After a lengthy review and rigorous rebid process, Samaritan selects Transamerica Retirement Solutions as its new 401(k) provider in July 2006.

Flash forward several years. Transamerica and Samaritan’s advisor have delivered an improved 401(k) fund line-up, lower plan costs, and a more equitable participant fee structure through Fund Revenue EqualizationSM. By all accounts, Samaritan is more than pleased.

But they’re not completely satisfied yet. Several years later they begin to examine their defined benefit plan. And justifiably so. “Samaritan was relying on outdated systems to perform benefit calculations, which was costing them time and money,” explains Patrick Kendall, Vice President, Defined Benefit Practice Leader at Transamerica.

The result was an inefficient and error-prone process that gave Samaritan headaches. In turn, the potential for inaccurate benefit calculations could impact the plan’s actuarial projections, which form the cornerstone for long-term financial strategies.

The Solution
It’s now January 2012 and they have once again turned to Transamerica for a plan upgrade. In the following months, Transamerica provides Samaritan with a plan to reduce their DB plan expenses, improve the plan’s efficiency, and deliver better retirement outcomes.

At the center of the Transamerica solution is world-class technology. “Our systems allow plan sponsors to delegate the benefits administration, calculations, and reporting to a ‘center of excellence,’ one that specializes in this aspect of the defined benefit program,” Kendall explains. “It is equipped with modern high-grade systems and methods to produce the most accurate and efficient results.”

Delegating these functions allowed Samaritan’s staff more time to focus on the organization’s core business. Highlights of the Transamerica solution include:

  • Modern methodology for accumulating and warehousing data.
  • Payroll feed-based administration.
  • Real-time processing of benefit calculations for plan participants.
  • Participant website with modeling and projection tools.
  • Comprehensive and integrated Contact Center services (phone, email, regular mail).
  • Participant statements based on a complete picture of the participant’s retirement savings with Samaritan.


Another significant advantage is that Transamerica’s benefits engine can easily incorporate updates without excess costs. “This is particularly important when legislative changes are enacted or when the sponsor organization is going through a merger or acquisition. With our solution there are no additional charges because the engine is its own entity—built so updates can be pushed out to all plans at the same time,” says Kendall.

The Results
Not long after choosing Transamerica as administrator of its DB plan, Samaritan agrees that moving the DB plan to Transamerica is the right move. The decision has been a huge success:

  • Lower costs—Transamerica helped Samaritan reduce its plan costs by approximately 25%1.
  • Clean data—Before Transamerica took over the DB plan, Samaritan’s Human Resources staff spent nearly a year working on an “hours-and-pay” data cleanup… and they still weren’t done. When Transamerica took over the plan, our data consultants were able to clean-up the entire plan with virtually no impact on the Samaritan HR employees.
  • Improved education—Transamerica provided a dedicated on-site education representative who regularly hosts monthly one-on-one meetings with employees.
  • Easy access—Once both plans were brought over to Transamerica, it was a simple step to provide employees with one-stop access to all of their 401(k) and DB plan information. They now have access both DB and DC information through a single website, statement and Call Center.

1As of March 2013