Gov. John Kasich and the top executive for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) last week proposed giving Ohio employers $1.5 billion in premium rebates this summer, expanding workers’ comp savings for employers to $8 billion since 2011.
“We’ve had healthy income and returns on our investment portfolio, and it’s only right to share that success with our private and public employers,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison, standing with Kasich at the Land-Grant Brewing Co. in downtown Columbus. “We know that the more money we leave with employers, the more they can invest in their employees and grow their business.”
Added Kasich: “This is another example of how Ohio is using every tool in the box to make our environment for job creation one of the best in the nation, and our workers’ compensation system has been a great partner in our efforts. We’re up 500,000 private sector jobs and these additional savings in workers’ compensation costs will continue to help our businesses grow and succeed.”
The rebate, BWC’s largest in 20 years, was proposed to BWC’s Board of Directors on April 25, and will be voted on at the board’s May 24 meeting. If approved, rebate checks would likely be mailed in July and August.
The proposed rebate equals 85 percent of the premiums paid for the policy year that ended June 30, 2017, calendar year 2016 for public employers. It would follow $1 billion rebates issued in 2013, 2014, and 2017, as well as a $15 million rebate in 2016 for counties, cities, and other public employers.
Of the $1.5 billion, an estimated $48 million would go to schools and $111 million would go to local government entities. That’s on top of $402 million in rebates those public taxing districts have received since 2013 ($125 million for schools, $277 million for others).
As with previous rebates, BWC is also exploring a significant investment in health and safety services, the details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.
Adam Benner, president of Land-Grant Brewery, said his company expects a rebate of around $8,500.
“We’re a young company and our business is steadily growing,” said Benner. “This rebate helps us invest in our future.”
Morrison cautioned that despite recent history, strong investment returns and rebates are a goal, not a guarantee. “Our investments are still growing, but we’re seeing the rate of that growth moderate in 2018,” she said. “There are lots of variables that influence the market.”
With this rebate, BWC will have saved employers $8 billion in workers’ compensation costs since 2011 after considering other rebates, credits, greater efficiencies and several rate reductions, including two this year.