The PSVaG, Germany’s lifeboat scheme, has set the levy for pension funds at 24 basis points, a significant jump when compared with last year’s rate of 13bps but still below the long-term average of 30bps, calculated from the fund’s inception in 1975.

Companies with non-insurance linked pension promises must pay the levy based on their liabilities, although some vehicles, such as Pensionsfonds, are given a discount.

The PSVaG attributed the levy hike to an increase in pension payments due to company insolvencies.

Payments will amount to nearly €800m this year compared with more than €400m in 2014.

Although the overall number of insolvencies continues to fall, the PSVaG noted in a statement that “there were more above-average pensions to be paid”.

In total, 94,200 companies with approximately €326bn in liabilities are paying into the PSVaG, which manages just under €5bn in assets.

For this year, the PSVaG has opted against splitting the levy into four instalments, made legally possible last year; nor has it set up any advance payment for 2016.

The PSVaG declined to comment on government plans to allow employees to opt out of the protection scheme and instead continue with retirement insurance arranged by their companies.

Many industry experts believe this would ease the PSVaG’s burden, although the government has yet to provide details of its plans.

The PSVaG could also face another challenge if the government introduces industry-wide pension plans, which would increase the volume of assets in the lifeboat scheme significantly