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It was no small matter for the ILM Group’s executives when they froze the pension plan that has provided retirement security for the firm’s employees since 1947.

The financial pressure of maintaining the plan had been mounting on the small insurer for years. But until March, ILM had not given in, even as tens of thousands of other employers did. It held on when the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks rocked the economy, flat-lining the stocks that fund the pension payments. It also kept the plan intact when the Great Recession shrank its holdings by 29 percent.

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