OH BWC Approves Payment Relief For Many Employers

Columbus, OH (CompNewsNetwork) – The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation's (BWC) Board of Directors took action to provide many Ohio employers more time to pay premiums, and allow employers conducting business outside of the state to reduce their workers' compensation insurance premiums. A report to the BWC Board of Directors on the agency's investments also revealed improved performance of its investment portfolio.

The board approved a rule change for the 50/50 payment program, which enables Ohio businesses that pay online to split their yearly premiums into two payments. The change allows businesses to pay only 50 percent of their premium costs by February 28 and pay the remaining 50 percent by June 1. Second payments were previously due by May 1. 17,000 employers currently participate in the program.

"We know that countless of Ohio employers are under tremendous pressure to meet all of their financial obligations,” said BWC Administrator Marsha Ryan. "Increased flexibility for employers in meeting their workers' compensation obligations will provide immediate relief.”

The board also approved rule changes related to Senate Bill 334, which went into effect in September, and allows businesses to avoid premium payment to BWC for work done in other states and covered by another state's policy. Generally, the law also requires out-of-state employers, with employees working in Ohio, to provide workers' compensation coverage for their workers when they come into Ohio to perform their duties.

As a result of the rule changes, Ohio employers must report to BWC the payroll reported to the other state's insurer, however, they are not required to pay BWC premium on the other state's payroll. BWC will also now recognize the coverage of an out-of-state employer working in Ohio to the extent that state will honor the BWC coverage for Ohio employers temporarily working in their state. Out-of state coverage will be honored for a period of up to 90 days.

Once employers notify BWC of their Others States coverage, they can take advantage of this law change when they file their payroll report and pay their premiums for the Jan. 1 to June 30, 2009 payroll reporting period.

In other business, board members discussed the performance of BWC's investment portfolio in the past month following recent challenges to the investment markets. Unaudited figures for all BWC invested funds reflect a portfolio appreciation of 8.2% for the month of December through yesterday. As a result of strong performance of the bond portfolio, the BWC's entire investment portfolio has increased in value approximately 13% since the end of October. Calendar year to date unaudited performance return of BWC's investments is approximately -2%.

"BWC's investment portfolio remains stable due to our conservative approach to managing recent turmoil in the markets,” said Ryan. "Our Board of Directors has worked closely with BWC investment staff to maintain a strategy to hold investments for the long term and stay on course to protect our assets. Most importantly, we have maintained uninterrupted service to Ohio employers and injured workers throughout this market volatility.”

The next Board of Directors meeting will be Friday, January 23, 2009, in Room 3, Level 2 of the William Green Building, located at 30 W. Spring St., Columbus. 

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