Raleigh, N.C. – In July 2017, the North Carolina Retirement Systems reported that all divisions met or exceeded metrics goals for the month, surpassing performance from the same period last year.
The Retirement Systems continues refining processes and enhancing online capabilities through the online ORBIT self-service portal. These improvements are having a large impact on the Retirement Systems’ ability to increase responsiveness. Performance results include:
- Faster retirement processing. The time it took to process a retirement application decreased from 40.2 days in July 2016 to only 5.3 days in July 2017. This is an 86.8 percent decrease in processing time.
- Wait times decreased. Members calling into the Retirement Systems waited on hold for an average of only one minute and 17 seconds. This is a 52 percent decrease over July 2016 average wait times of two minutes and 44 seconds.
- Paper records processing increased. The Retirement System receives more than 50,000 pages of records and forms each month. In July 2017, retirement staff were able to process more than 98 percent of documents within one day compared to just 88 percent in July 2016.
“I’m very proud of our staff and their continued efforts to find new ways to provide exceptional service to our members and to reduce the overall complexity of the retirement process,” said Steve Toole, Executive Director of the Retirement Systems. “We have a big responsibility to our members, and we track our progress toward these goals very closely to consistently improve the experience that our members have.”
In fact, in addition to an improved member experience, the North Carolina Retirement Systems are outperforming many of their peers in cost as well. In its 2016 independent annual report card of the Retirement Systems, CEM Benchmarking Inc. compared North Carolina to 16 other large state pension plans and found that North Carolina spent about $23 per member, per year in administrative costs, while other plans spent an average of $89 per member. That’s a savings of $66 per member, for a total savings of $50 million each year. This reports highlights how North Carolina is able to provide exceptional service to our members while also providing a huge savings to North Carolina taxpayers.
Lowering costs and increasing efficiency are two important goals to North Carolina State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA.
“We’re in the check-delivery business, so increasing our ability to streamline our processes and increase our responsiveness to members is key,” Treasurer Folwell said. “We need to continue to sustain this effort as we get ready for what will be a dramatic increase in the number of state retirees over the next 20 years.”
In a 2015 report provided by Conduent, the number of retired public employees in North Carolina is projected to increase from approximately 295,000 members in 2017 to about 468,000 members by 2035.
In order to prepare for this demand, the Retirement Systems are working to transition many of its major processes from paper forms to ORBIT, such as applying for retirement and requesting a refund, which will further increase responsiveness and efficiency.
“I applaud our Retirement Systems staff on the great job they’re doing for the employees and retirees of North Carolina,” Treasurer Folwell said.
The Department of State Treasurer’s Retirement Systems Division manages the processing and administration of all retirement benefits for North Carolina state government, local government, law enforcement, judicial, and legislative employees, as well as fire and rescue workers, and all of their applicable beneficiaries. More information can be found at www.myncretirement.com.