NETHERLANDS - The industry-wide pension funds for care insurers and food articles have also granted their participants part indexation payments, following fast improving cover ratios.

SBZ, the €2.2bn scheme for healthcare insurers, announced it would increase the pension rights of its pensioners and deferred members by 0.2% this year, which is 50% of the consumer index.

SBZ's indexation decision is possible as the fund now has a funding ratio of 120%, which is considerably higher than the 103%s anticipated in its five-year recovery plan.

Officials had indicated that in the worst case scenario, the scheme's cover ratio would not reach 120% before 2023.

Elsewhere, the €1.5bn pension fund for employees of the wholesale grocery industry said it will increase the pension rights of its active participants by 1.35%, although its salary index benchmark rose by 6.75% in the same period.

The scheme granted its pensioners and deferred members indexation of 0.22%, whereas the consumer index rose by 1.1%.

The Pensioenfonds voor het Levensmiddelenbedrijf, which had a cover ratio of approximately 120% by the end of November 2009, refrained from paying indexation for 2008.

However, the €1.8bn pension fund for bakers said it will not grant inflation compensation.

"Despite the strong financial recovery in 2009, the financial position of the pension fund does not allow for indexation yet," officials explained.

The cover ratio of the bakers' scheme was 108.6% by the end of November.

That said, the pension fund's risk profile means its required financial reserves equal a funding ratio of 114.4%, rather than 130% on average for most other pension funds.

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