COLUMBUS – The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors today approved an 8.6 percent reduction in overall average rates for the state’s private employers. The move will decrease projected annual premiums by $113 million next year.
“As a result of the Board’s actions, Ohio private employers will be paying a $463 million less annually than they were at the beginning of 2011, representing a combined 28.2 percent decrease, said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “The reduction announced today will add to the $4.3 billion in rate cuts, rebates and credits Ohio’s employers have realized over the past five years.”
In his monthly report to the Board, Buehrer noted that over the past five years, Ohio’s private and public sector employers have benefited from $4.3 billion in rate cuts, rebates and credits.
“Since 2011, BWC has moved from being a barrier to success for Ohio’s businesses to becoming a partner in economic growth, making life simpler and cheaper for employers,” said Buehrer. “Our conservative fiscal policies, attention to safety, and strong investment management have resulted in billions of dollars in rate cuts, rebates and other savings.”
A full accounting of the $4.3 billion can be found here, but in summary, it was achieved by:
Reducing average rates for private employers by 21.5 percent and nearly 30 percent for public employers resulting in a cumulative difference in premiums collected of $1 billion;
Strong investments and conservative fiscal management, which allowed for two $1 billion rebates (FY13 & FY15);
Issuing $1.2 billion in credits to Ohio employers, allowing a transition—without any cost to employers—to a modern billing system that adds flexible payment options and further reduces premiums; and
Tripling its safety grant program to $15 million annually, for a total of $40 million in grants over the last five years. During that period, injury claims dropped 9 percent, making Ohio’s injury rates lower than the national average and all surrounding states.
Ohio’s local governments and schools have realized more than $670 million in savings from these efforts and are currently experiencing their lowest rates in more than 30 years.
Buehrer also pointed to examples of how BWC has reduced bureaucracy to help employers. The Grow Ohio program has saved start-up businesses $25 million by providing a 25 percent discount to new policies or early entry into group-experience rating. The one-time-forgiveness program erases penalties for simple mistakes, and the new prospective billing system offers greater flexibility in making payments, while allowing additional premium reductions.
The latest cuts for private employers will begin July 1. The proposed reduction is an overall statewide average. 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 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.