The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors has approved a proposal from Governor Mike DeWine to send $1.5 billion of the agency’s revenues to Ohio employers covered by the BWC system.
BWC, the state’s insurance fund for injured workers, will begin sending checks to approximately 180,000 private and public employers in late September. It marks the fifth time since 2013 the agency has returned at least $1 billion to employers following strong investment returns, falling injury claims, and other operational efficiencies.
In Fulton County, $355,000 will go to schools, and $257,000 to local government entities.
“I am pleased that BWC’s Board of Directors agreed with our proposal to give this money to qualifying businesses, local governments, and school districts,” DeWine said. “Employers will be able to reinvest these funds in their operations and their employees, which will further strengthen Ohio’s economy.”
The revenue equals 88% of the premiums employers paid for the policy year ending June 30, 2018 – calendar year 2017 for public employers. While the bulk would go to private companies, an estimated $114 million would go to counties, cities, townships, and other local government entities. Nearly $50 million would go to public school districts.
Employers are free to spend the funds as they wish, but BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud urged businesses to invest in workplace safety.
“Investing in safety reduces the risks for costly workplace injuries,” she said. “It’s good for the health and safety of employees, it’s good for the company’s bottom line, and it’s good for our economy.”
The board’s vote continues a trend of lowering workers’ comp costs for Ohio employers. BWC has repeatedly lowered premium rates in recent years, including a 12% cut for public employers that took effect in January and a 20% cut for private employers that begins Monday. The agency returned $1 billion or more to employers in 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018. It also returned $15 million in 2016 to counties participating in the Public Work Relief Employees’ Fund.
In total, BWC has saved employers nearly $10 billion in workers’ comp costs through dividends, credits, rate reductions, and greater efficiencies since 2011.