Double-digit workers’ comp rate reduction proposed

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) asked its board of directors today to reduce private employer premium rates by 12 percent beginning July 1.

If approved, the reduction would save private employers $163.5 million over this year’s premiums, which are already at their lowest rates in at least 40 years.

“Ohio is in an outstanding position as the cost of workers’ comp coverage continues to fall, thanks to fewer workplace injury claims and slow-to-moderate growth in medical inflation,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison. “We know the less employers spend on premiums, the more they can invest in their communities and in safer work environments for their employees. And when that happens, we all benefit.”

BWC experienced 86,290 allowed claims in 2017, a near 18 percent drop from 2011. This is the lowest number of claims dating back to at least 1997, when there were more than 277,000 claims.

Morrison attributes the declining numbers to several factors, including BWC’s efforts to promote safe and healthy workplaces, increased safety funding and more employers putting safety education and resources to work. From 2010 through 2015, BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene saw a 71 percent increase in the number of employers using its safety programs and services.

BWC’s private employer rates have decreased or remained unchanged every year since 2007, with the last reduction occurring in 2016. Public rates have fallen, too, including a 6.1 percent cut that took effect Jan. 1 this year.

The actual premium paid by individual private employers depends on a number of factors, including the expected future claims costs in their industry, their company’s recent claims history, and their participation in various BWC discount programs.

The board will vote on the recommendation during its next regular meeting scheduled for Feb. 23.