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TIAA Excessive Mailings

The plaintiff in this case is a participant and a beneficiary of several retirement plan accounts administered by TIAA (formerly known as TIAA-CREF). He claims that he has been receiving 15 separate account mailings each month over the last eight years. Before that time, he had been receiving a consolidated statement, which reflected information for all of the accounts in one envelope. At issue is the cost of this separate mailing practice to plans recordkept by TIAA and their participants.

The plaintiff engaged in an effort to convince TIAA to return to the practice of sending consolidated statements. He began contacting TIAA via phone representatives, correspondence to other TIAA parties, and eventually, sending correspondence to the CEO, to which he received the promise of a written response, which ultimately was not received. He then sent several letters to TIAA trustees, senators and representatives, who forwarded them along to various organizations and agencies, such as the AARP and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). Finally, TIAA did respond, claiming that returning to consolidated statements would be prohibitively expensive, due to other technology projects underway at the company; however, the consolidated statements could possibly become a reality as a by-product of these technology projects.

In terms of damages, the suit requests that TIAA compensate the retirement plans for all losses incurred as a result of this uneconomical practice, and restore the plans to the positions they would have been in, had consolidated statements been sent. The lawsuit also orders TIAA to develop more cost effective systems to better communicate with plan beneficiaries.

www.napa-net.org; March 17, 2016.