Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Savings, Multi-Employer And Defined Benefit Pension Plans

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Savings, Multi-Employer And Defined Benefit Pension Plans
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2019
Deferred Compensation Arrangements [Abstract]  
Savings, Multi-Employer And Defined Benefit Pension Plans
14. SAVINGS, MULTI-EMPLOYER AND DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLANS
SEACOR Savings Plan. The Company provides a defined contribution plan (the “Savings Plan”) for its eligible U.S.-based employees. The Company’s contribution to the Savings Plan is limited to 3.5% of an employee’s wages depending upon the employee’s level of voluntary wage deferral into the Savings Plan and is subject to annual review by the Board of Directors. The Company’s Savings Plan costs were $2.2 million, $2.0 million and $1.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.
SEACOR Deferred Compensation Plan. In 2005, the Company established a non-qualified deferred compensation plan, as amended (the “Deferred Compensation Plan”) to provide certain highly compensated executives and non-employee directors the ability to defer receipt of up to 75% of their cash base salary and up to 100% of their cash bonus. Each participant’s compensation deferrals are credited to a bookkeeping account and, subject to certain restrictions, each participant may elect to have their cash deferrals in such account indexed against one or more investment options, solely for purposes of determining amounts payable under the Deferred Compensation Plan (the Company is not obligated to actually invest any deferred amounts in the selected investment options).
Participants may receive a distribution of deferred amounts, plus any earnings thereon (or less any losses), on a date specified by the participant or, if earlier, upon a separation from service or upon a change of control (as defined). All distributions to participants following a separation from service shall be in the form of a lump sum, except if such separation qualifies as “retirement” under the terms of the plan, in which case it may be paid in installments if previously elected by the participant. Distributions to “Key Employees” upon a separation from service (other than due to death) will not commence until at least six months after the separation from service. Participants are always 100% vested in the amounts they contribute to their Deferred Compensation Plan accounts. The Company, at its option, may contribute amounts to participants’ accounts, which may be subject to vesting requirements.
The obligations of the Company to pay deferred compensation under the Deferred Compensation Plan are general unsecured obligations of the Company and rank equally with other unsecured indebtedness of the Company that is outstanding from time to time. As of December 31, 2019 and 2018 the Company had obligations of $0.8 million and $0.6 million, respectively, related to the Deferred Compensation Plan that are included in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets as deferred gains and other liabilities. The total amount of the Company’s obligation under the Deferred Compensation Plan will vary depending upon the level of participation by participants and the amount of compensation that participants elect to defer under the plan. The duration of the Deferred Compensation Plan is indefinite (subject to the Board of Directors’ discretion to amend or terminate the plan).
AMOPP and SPP. Certain subsidiaries of the Company are participating employers in two industry-wide, multi-employer defined benefit pension plans, the American Maritime Officers Pension Plan (the “AMOPP” - EIN: 13-1936709) and the Seafarers Pension Plan (the “SPP” - EIN: 13-6100329). The Company’s participation in these plans relates to certain employees of the Company’s Ocean Services business segment. During the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, the Company made contributions of $2.6 million, $2.5 million and $2.4 million, respectively in the aggregate to the AMOPP and SPP.
Under federal pension law, a plan is in "endangered" status if the funded percentage (plan assets divided by its liabilities) is less than 80% and in "critical" status if the funded percentage is less than 65% (other factors may also apply). For the 2019 plan year, the AMOPP was neither in endangered status nor critical status. The Company received notification from the AMOPP that the Company's withdrawal liability as of September 30, 2018, the latest period for which an actuarial valuation is available, would have been $28.1 million. That liability may change in future years based on various factors, primarily employee census. As of December 31, 2019, the Company had no intention to withdraw from the AMOPP and no deficit amounts have been invoiced. Depending upon the results of the future actuarial valuations, it is possible that the AMOPP will experience further funding deficits, requiring the Company to recognize additional payroll related operating expenses in the periods invoices are received or contribution levels are increased.
The SPP was neither in endangered nor critical status for the 2018 plan year, the latest period for which a report is available, as the SPP was fully funded.
Multi-Employer Defined Contribution Plans. In accordance with collective bargaining agreements between the Company and the American Maritime Officers Union, the latest of which expires on August 31, 2022, the Seafarers International Union, the latest of which expires on July 31, 2022, the Masters Mates and Pilots Union, which expires July 2, 2022 and the Marine Engineer Benefit Association, which expires July 2, 2022, the Company makes periodic contributions to various defined contribution and 401(k) plans for the benefit of the participants. The contributions to these plans are expensed as incurred and are included in operating expenses in the accompanying consolidated statements of income. During the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, the Company made contributions of $1.1 million, $1.0 million and $1.0 million, respectively, in the aggregate to these plans. During the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, none of the Company’s contributions to any of these plans exceeded 5% of total contributions to each plan and the Company did not pay any material surcharges. As of December 31, 2019, there is no required minimum future contributions to these plans. The Company’s obligations for future contributions are based upon the number of employees subject to the collective bargaining agreements, their rates of pay and the number of days worked. Future negotiations of collective bargaining agreements between the Company and the participating unions, including the contribution levels for these plans or any additional plans that may come into existence, may result in increases to the Company’s wage and benefit costs and those increases may be material.
ISH Retirement Plan. ISH sponsored a defined benefit pension plan (the “ISH Retirement Plan”) covering non-union employees prior to its acquisition by the Company on July 3, 2017 (see Note 2). The ISH Retirement Plan generally provided participants with benefits based on years of service and compensation levels for participants hired prior to September 1, 2006. From that date forward, the benefit was calculated prospectively under a cash balance formula with pay credits based on age plus service years and interest credits based on an as defined U.S. treasury rate. Effective July 3, 2017, in conjunction with the Plan, an amendment was made to the ISH Retirement Plan that fully vested all active participants as of January 1, 2017 and froze the retirement benefits effective August 31, 2017. As of August 31, 2017, all retirement benefits earned were fully preserved and will be paid in accordance with the ISH Retirement Plan and legal requirements.
The funded status of the ISH Retirement Plan as of December 31, was as follows (in thousands):
2019 2018
Fair Value of Assets $ 37,723    $ 34,923   
Projected Benefit Obligation (37,583)   (34,299)  
Funded Status(1)
$ 140    $ 624   
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(1)Included in other assets in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets.
During the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, pension expense was $0.5 million and $0.9 million, respectively. During the period July 3, 2017 through December 31, 2017, pension income was $1.3 million.
The significant assumptions used in determining the projected benefit obligation as of December 31, and pension expense for the years ended December 31, were as follows:
2019 2018
Discount rate 3.10  % 4.05  %
Rate of increase in compensations levels(1)
N/A    N/A   
CPI 2.25  % 2.25  %
Cash balance interest credits (compounded annually) 4.00  % 4.00  %
Expected long-term rate of return on plan assets 6.00  % 6.75  %
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(1)Retirement benefits were frozen as of August 31, 2017.
The future benefit payments expected to be paid in each of the next five fiscal years are as follows (in thousands):
2020 2,250   
2021 2,120   
2022 2,200   
2023 2,180   
2024 2,160