A growing trend is for companies to freeze legacy pension plans and offload to insurance companies. One problem is that then there isn't PBGC coverage. Of course, there is state insurance for US insurance companies. But as this article points out, a big risk is from new insurance companies [Athene, etc] in this market and some may not be based in the US. There should be less worries when large established insurance companies are involved [of course those can fail too as was my personal experience years ago with MBL of NJ (was 150 years old!) that had our 403b plan money].
I have a small pension and at times that has worried me a bit. Luckily (I guess) the plan is underfunded to the point it makes it unattractive for an insurance company to take over. So if you see your corporation frantically funding the pension plan it is time to worry, they may be planning on unloading that obligation.
My pension plan, currently held by Nokia, is 130% funded and has been that way for four years. Ought to be prime pickings. There's something wrong with Nolia, since they haven't derisked their financial pot by buying annuities from an insurance company and saving at least 20%. I won't complain, but it's bound to happen.
Here is an interesting link to The Pension Rights Center on what it means when a private pension replaces the pension fund with annuity contracts issued by an insurance company. Lots of links for those who think this may affect them.
Were I coming up on retirement and this happened to my pension, it would get my attention...
I have/had a miniscule pension from a large company. It pays my low utility bills monthly. Actually, that company took over my pension from my previous employer since they acquired the company some years ago. The pension plan was underfunded. Recently, my pension was transferred to MetLife. The letter said the large company did this for small pensions because the administrative costs for small pension were high. I was and am happy even after reading this. I think MetLife is in better position than the large company. But like I said, it's a small amount.