Here we go again! The Bureau of Worker’s Comp (BWC) has again slashed rates for private sector employers. Since 2011, BWC has saved employers $463 million annually. This represents a combined rate decrease of 28.2 percent and over $4.3 billion in cuts over the past five years. Additionally, Ohio’s local governments and schools have saved over $670 million and are experiencing their lowest rates in 30 years.
Traditionally, workers’ compensation insurance has been one of the most costly expenses for employers. Over the past five years, Steve Buehrer and his team have done an impeccable job demonstrating how state agencies can cut costs and save taxpayers money. Through conservative policies, strong investment management, and an increased focus on safety, the BWC has been able to make these savings possible.
To achieve over $4.3 billion in savings passed on to employers, BWC has made a number of cuts. Average rates for private and public employers have dropped by 28.2 percent and 30 percent, respectively. In fiscal years 2013 and 2015, conservative fiscal management allowed BWC to issue two $1 billion rebates. $1.2 billion in credits were issued to employers which allowed the transition to a modernized billing system which adds more flexible payment options and reduces premiums. Finally, the safety grant program was tripled to $15 million annually, helping businesses improve safe practices and reduce claims. Since this increase, $40 million in grants have been awarded and injury claims have dropped by 9 percent.
The Grow Ohio program is another BWC initiative which has saved new businesses money. This includes at least a 25 percent discount to new policies or early entry into group-experience rating, which encourages new business growth. Additionally, their one-time forgiveness program prevents costly penalties for simple first-time mistakes.
Recently, BWC announced another rate cut for private employers, which will add to these savings. This new reduction will reduce average rates by 8.6 percent, resulting in annual savings of $113 million over the next year. These new savings are set to begin on July 1st. These new reductions are based on a statewide average and individual employer savings will depend on a number of factors including expected future costs in their industry, the company’s recent claims history, and participation in various BWC programs. Employers are encouraged to visit bwc.ohio.gov to learn about programs that can assist in lowering their workers’ compensation costs through workplace safety improvements.
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The writer represents the 84th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.