COLUMBUS Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud today proposed giving up to $1.6 billion to Ohio employers this spring to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Ohio's economy and business community.
"This is great news for Ohio's businesses, and will assist in relieving some of the financial pressures many are experiencing, said Governor Mike DeWine. Administrator McCloud and I both encourage businesses to reinvest this money in the health and safety of their employees.
BWC's Board of Directors will hold an emergency virtual meeting Friday to vote on the proposed dividend, which equals 100% of the premium employers paid in policy year 2018. As in previous years, the dividend is possible because of strong investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year, and prudent fiscal management.
"This dividend is possible in no small part to the employers in our state that have worked hard to improve workplace safety and reduce injury claims, said Administrator McCloud, noting checks will be going to employers later this month. We are also fortunate that despite the market's recent downturn, our fiscal position is strong enough to allow for this dividend while maintaining funds to take care of injured workers for years to come.
BWC provides workers compensation insurance to more than 248,000 private and public employers in Ohio. Should the proposed dividend total $1.6 billion:
The proposal follows other recent moves by BWC to ease the strain on employers this year. In late March, BWC told employers they could defer their monthly premium installment payments for March, April, and May until June 1. BWC also waived or postponed some requirements and deadlines for several programs that reduce employer premiums and applied the discounts automatically.
If approved by the board, the dividend would be BWC's sixth of $1 billion or more since 2013 and seventh overall in that time. It also continues BWC'S trend of lowering workers comp costs for Ohio's private and public employers. BWC has repeatedly lowered premium rates in recent years, including a 10% cut for public employers that took effect in January and a 13% cut for private employers that begins July 1.
In total, since 2011, BWC has refunded employers approximately $10 billion in excess workers comp premiums collected.