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For immediate release: May 30, 2013

Big day for Ohio business

BWC Board of Directors approve $1 billion rebate, reduction in private employer rates

COLUMBUS - Actions today by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation will set in motion the distribution of $1 billion in cash rebates to Ohio employers, many of which can now also plan for additional savings through decreasing overall base-rates. The board unanimously approved a proposal set forward by Governor John R. Kasich to leverage BWC's strong financial position by returning $1 billion to 210,000 Ohio employers. In a separate action, the board signed off on a 2.1 percent average reduction in base rates for private employers that brings their three year premium savings to an estimated $224 million.

"The Board's actions in providing a rebate and reducing base rates makes it a banner day for business in Ohio," said BWC Administrator/CEO Buehrer. "We're pleased prudent management and smart investing at BWC are paying off, literally, for hundreds of thousands of Ohio's private and public employers."

The cash rebate to private employers and public employer taxing districts is made possible by larger-than-expected fund balances at BWC generated by strong investment management. The entire proposal totals $1.9 billion and also calls for:

  • Expanding BWC's successful Safety Grant Program from $5 million to $15 million to support increased statewide efforts that promote workplace safety and encourage further investment in protecting Ohio's workers. Steps are already being taken to expand the program and increase overall safety efforts this summer.

  • Modernizing how premiums are collected in Ohio by moving to a prospective-payment system and subsequently requesting the board issue an additional $900 million premium credit to mitigate transition costs. This switch would also result in rate reductions of 2 percent for private employers and 4 percent for public employers. This requires authorization by the legislature, which is currently considering the action.

The 2.1 percent base-rate reduction for private employers presented to the board last month and approved today is for the 2014 policy year, which runs July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. It represents an aggregate savings of $29 million over 2013 premium collections. The reduction follows a 4 percent rate decrease in 2012 and flat rates in 2013. Actual premium paid by individual private employers depends on a number of factors, including their industry, their recent claims history and expected future costs, and their participation in discount and savings programs. Rates for public employers, currently at a 30 year low, are decided in the fall.

"Our goal is to ensure a financially strong workers' compensation system that provides a safety net for generations of Ohio workers while being a partner in improving our state's business environment and growing our economy," said Buehrer.

BWC is a non general-revenue fund state agency that provides workers' compensation insurance for 250,000 Ohio employers and covers approximately two-thirds of Ohio's workforce. With approximately $1.9 billion in annual premium and assessment income, BWC is the largest state-fund system in the United States and one of the top 10 underwriters of workers' compensation insurance in the nation. BWC processed more than 115,000 new claims and paid approximately $2 billion on roughly one million open claims in 2012. BWC's mission is to protect Ohio's workers and employers through the prevention, care and management of workplace injuries and illnesses at fair rates.

The next meeting of the BWC Board of Directors is scheduled for Friday, June 21, 2013.

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