Grow Ohio Incentive Program
Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4123.29,
Administrative Code (OAC) 4123-17-14,
4123-17-61.1, 4123-17-69, and 4123-17-74, (including Appendices
July 1, 2016
All policies and procedures regarding Grow Ohio that
predate the effective date of this policy.
September 12, 2018; July 1, 2015; May 2, 2014; January
1, 2013. New policy issued July 1, 2011.
July 1, 2020
The Ohio Bureau
of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will permit new employers to participate in the
Grow Ohio Incentive Program (Grow Ohio) in accordance with the applicable laws
policy applies to employers, employer authorized representatives, BWC Employer Programs,
Division of Safety and Hygiene (DSH), Claims Services and Policy Processing.
for Ohio Workers' Compensation Coverage (U-3): Form used by an employer to
apply for workers’ compensation coverage.
eligibility evaluation date: The date an employer is reevaluated following
the first or succeeding year of participation to determine continued
eligibility in the program. The date for a private employer (PA) is April 1, and
the date for a Public Employer Taxing District (PEC) is October 1.
Experience Rating (Group Rating): Employers joined together under a
Sponsoring Organization in order to be evaluated as one (1) employer for the
purpose of workers' compensation premium calculation and for receiving up to
the maximum discount for that program year on their payroll rate.
misrepresentation: When an employer fails to disclose:
That it has merged with one or more entities; or,
The true nature of its business practice in its application for Group Rating
coverage; and this failure to disclose would cause financial harm to the other
members of the Group.
rating year: The policy year including the date on which the new employer’s
coverage becomes effective unless changed at BWC’s discretion in section IV.A.3.
New employer: An employer creating one or more jobs in the state
of Ohio on or after July 1, 2011, and for which any of the following is true:
The employer is a new business entity in Ohio; or,
employer is an out-of-state employer with no prior operations in Ohio or prior
workers’ compensation insurance coverage in Ohio.
An employer that precedes another in whole or in part in the operation of a
eligibility period: The new employer’s initial policy year and the two
consecutive policy years thereafter.
Management Self-Assessment (SH-26): This
form is intended to help employers evaluate their safety and claims management
systems and identify opportunities for improvement. The form contains eleven
(11) safety and health categories considered critical to an effective safety
and health process. The person(s) in the organization most familiar with the
current safety and claims management process should complete the form.
Organization: An entity (usually a business entity) with governing members
certified by BWC to sponsor and market Group Experience Rating and Group
Retrospective Rating programs through BWC. Certification requirements for
Sponsoring Organizations are outlined in OAC 4123-17-61.1.
An employer that succeeds another in whole or in part in the operation of a
Party Administrator (TPA): Any person or organization that works with
certified Sponsoring Organizations to administer and facilitate an employer’s application
to Group Rating programs.
Annual reconciliation of estimated payroll and actual payroll. BWC will
calculate any premium obligation or credit for the completed policy year.
Criteria. BWC evaluates program eligibility at the time an employer files an
Application for Ohio Workers’ Compensation Coverage (U-3).
The employer must be a new employer as defined in section III.F. above.
BWC will permit a successor to participate in Grow Ohio only under the
The predecessor was participating in Grow Ohio; and,
The successor is a new employer as defined in section III.F. above. The
successor’s program eligibility period will end on the same date as the
predecessor’s eligibility period would have ended.
BWC may determine an alternate initial policy year based on several
factors that include but are not limited to:
An employer that established coverage during the last thirty (30)
calendar days of a policy year.
An employer granted an earlier or later effective date of coverage
through the BWC General
Employer Complaint policy or process as set forth in OAC 4123-14-06.
The following types of employers are not eligible to participate in Grow
A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) as defined in OAC 4123-17-15.
A self-insuring employer or a state fund employer that was previously
A PEC employer, if the employer is one of the following:
A public nonprofit, nonsectarian, community school that operates
independently of any school district under contract with an authorized
sponsoring entity and was established under ORC Chapter 3314; or,
A public-private partnership securing workers’ compensation insurance
under ORC 4123.03.
An employer for which a combination or transfer of experience is
indicated under OAC 4123-17-02
except as provided in section IV.A.2. above.
An employer that BWC determines is essentially the same employer for
which coverage has previously been provided including a debtor-in-possession
An employer that elects to participate in a program that is incompatible
with Grow Ohio, as outlined in OAC 4123-17-74, Appendix
An employer participating in Grow Ohio shall be eligible to continue its
participation in the program only if, as of each continuing eligibility
evaluation date, the employer holds active workers' compensation coverage
according to all the following standards:
The employer must be current with respect to all payments due BWC, as
defined in paragraph (A)(1)(b) of OAC 4123-17-14;
The employer must be current on the payment schedule of any part-pay
agreement entered into for payment of premiums or assessment obligations; and
employer must not have cumulative lapses in workers’ compensation coverage in
excess of forty (40) days within the prior twelve (12) months.
BWC will automatically provide eligible employers with a twenty-five
percent (25%) Grow Ohio discount on premium for the policy year their coverage
becomes effective and up to the next two following policy years based on the
employer continuing to meet eligibility requirements.
BWC will apply the twenty-five percent (25%) Grow Ohio discount for the
duration of the employer’s program eligibility period unless the employer elects
to participate in Group Rating or other alternative rating program.
The Grow Ohio discount will not apply to:
No coverage penalties as referenced in OAC 4123-17-16.
Any findings of premium deficiencies resulting from a review of the
employer in which BWC determines the employer misrepresented or failed to
report payroll for any period.
Deductible claim cost billings.
minimum administrative charge as outlined in OAC 4123-17-26.
Application for Group Rating through Grow Ohio.
Under Grow Ohio, BWC waives the Group Rating application deadline as set
forth in OAC 4123-17-74, Appendix
A and Appendix
The employer must meet all other Group Rating requirements outlined in
OAC 4123-17-61 through 4123-17-68.
The employer’s participation in Group Rating after the initial policy year
is subject to all the requirements as outlined in OAC 4123-17-61 through
New employers can access the Grow Ohio service offering on www.bwc.ohio.gov which provides a link
to a list of Sponsoring Organizations and their available groups categorized by
industry type. Each Group identifies the TPA that represents each Sponsoring Organization.
TPAs may contact new employers using a list of employers recently
assigned a policy number.
The employer must file an Employer Statement for Group-Experience-Rating
Program (AC-26) form with the Group’s Sponsoring Organization within thirty (30)
days of the date BWC assigns a policy number to the new employer.
A new PA employer receiving a finalized policy within thirty (30) days
prior to the Group Rating deadline and the end of the current policy year may
be eligible for both the current policy year and the next year’s Group by
completion of the AC-26. (Example: A new PA employer receives a policy
number November 1, of the current policy year. This employer can apply to Group
Rating for the remainder of the current policy year as well as for all of next policy
When the original Sponsoring Organization did not have a compatible industry
group to place an employer, BWC may accept an AC-26 more than thirty (30) days
after the assignment of a policy number if all the following conditions are
The employer‘s AC-26 is filed with a different Sponsoring Organization,
new Sponsoring Organization must electronically submit the fully executed
AC-26, and an addendum to the Employer Roster for Group Rating (AC-25) to BWC within
thirty (30) days of the date the employer was notified by the original Sponsoring
Organization there was no compatible industry group.
Program Safety Requirements.
A new employer participating in Grow Ohio electing the twenty-five percent
(25%) discount must complete one of the four safety requirements listed below
in order to remain eligible for the program:
An online Grow Ohio safety survey;
At least two hours of safety training offered by DSH at any BWC
training location, the annual Ohio Safety Congress, or online through the BWC
The Safety Management Self-Assessment (SH-26); or,
A training class or seminar developed by BWC and approved by DSH for satisfying
Grow Ohio safety requirements.
Completion of one of the four safety requirements listed in section
IV.C.1. must be finalized by the following applicable date:
The last business day of December for an employer policy with an initial
effective date of January 1 through and including June 30.
The last business day of June for an employer policy with an initial
effective date of July 1 through and including December 31.
An employer withdrawing from a Group Rating program with remaining Grow
Ohio eligibility that has not completed the required program safety
requirements will have until the end of its current policy year to complete the
safety requirements to receive the discount.
BWC will remove an employer from participation in the Grow Ohio at the
beginning of the next policy year if either of the following apply:
employer fails to complete the required safety training for its year of
The employer elects to participate in a program that is incompatible
with the program as outlined in OAC 4123-17-74, Appendix
BWC will immediately disqualify an employer from the Grow Ohio program
if the employer is removed from a Group for a gross misrepresentation on its
application for Group Rating as outlined in OAC 4123-17-62(F).
The employers must timely report actual payroll and pay any premium due
upon reconciliation of estimated premium and actual premium. An employer will
be deemed to have met this requirement if BWC receives the payroll report and
the employer pays premium associated with such report before the expiration of
any grace period. See the Payroll
True-Up Policy for additional information.
An employer may voluntarily withdraw from Grow Ohio by notifying BWC in
The request must be signed by the chief executive officer (CEO) or
designated management representative of the employer.
The effective date of withdrawal will be the beginning date of the
policy year in which BWC receives the employer’s withdrawal request.
withdrawal will be permanent regardless of the employer’s program eligibility
period and completion of the required training.
Resolution of complaints.
An employer may appeal BWC’s decision that it is ineligible to
participate in, or has been removed from, Grow Ohio.
complaints should be processed under the General
Employer Complaint Policy. BWC has not identified any specific extenuating
circumstances that apply to Grow Ohio.
was disqualified from enrolling in Group Rating through Grow Ohio for not being
included on a Group roster within thirty (30) days of policy finalization due
to additional application review by BWC. Will BWC extend the time an employer
has to apply for Group Rating?
will grant the employer additional time but all of the following must be
The employer must have been on the Group Rating roster;
The employer must be rejected for not being timely submitted as outlined
in section IV.B.2.;
BWC’s Policy Processing department determines a combination is not
warranted and informs BWC Employer Programs to reconsider the employer for
The employer was included on a Group Rating roster within thirty (30)
days of notification of Grow Ohio eligibility; and
The employer has met all other eligibility requirements for Group Rating.