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For immediate release: April 22, 2014
BWC staff proposes 6.3 percent cut in workers' comp rates
Proposal to be considered over the next month and possibly approved in May
COLUMBUS - Today the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) staff proposed that the Board of Directors approve a 6.3 percent reduction to base rates beginning July 1. If approved, this cut would mark the eighth consecutive year in which private sector rates have either fallen or remained flat. Rates for public employers were also reduced beginning Jan. 1, and are now at their lowest level in at least 30 years.
"BWC has challenged itself to be part of the solution to Ohio's economic recovery by keeping employers' workers' compensation rates affordable so they can prosper," said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. "While we’re pleased with this trend of lower and more stable rates for employers, we're also tremendously pleased with our progress in fulfilling our mission to provide the highest quality care and return-to-work services to Ohioans who suffer workplace injuries."
If approved, the 6.3 percent reduction will result in an overall decrease in collected premiums of $91 million compared to premiums under the current rates. In aggregate, the premiums collected over the past four years would be $409 million less than would have been collected without recent reductions. Private employers benefited from a 4 percent rate decrease in 2011, flat rates in 2012 and a reduction of 2.1 percent last year.
BWC and its actuarial consultant, Oliver Wyman, attributed the proposed reduction to better than previously expected claims frequency and claims severity.
The actual premium paid by individual private employers depends on a number of factors, including the expected future costs in their industry, their recent claims history, and their participation in various discount and savings programs. Employers are encouraged to visit bwc.ohio.gov to learn about programs that can assist in lowering their workers’ compensation costs by making safety improvements in their workplaces.
"The most successful employers are those that understand safe and healthy employees are instrumental to a strong bottom line," added Buehrer. "Going forward, BWC will be intensely focused on the issue of workplace safety and educating employers about the benefits of investing in injury and illness prevention."
The next meeting of the BWC Board of Directors is scheduled for Thursday, May 22, 2014.
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