OH BWC Investment Portfolio Returns 12% In Fiscal Year 2010

                               Columbus, OH (CompNewsNetwork) - The total investment portfolio of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) experienced a significant gain over the past fiscal year. Chief Investment Officer Bruce Dunn presented a report to the BWC Board of Directors that shows an unaudited portfolio net return of 12 percent - after management fees - during Fiscal Year 2010. BWC's investment portfolio is passively invested in bonds and equities and includes the large State Insurance Fund, which funds medical and indemnity claims for Ohio injured workers. The total portfolio return was achieved through a 13-percent net return for bonds and 12.3-percent net return for equities over the period.

“These impressive gains are a direct result of careful research and analysis by our professional investment staff and consultants,” said BWC Administrator Marsha Ryan. “They are employing best practices and working closely with the Board to make thoughtful investments that are producing profits at a time when similar funds are struggling.”

The solid returns follow several actions taken by the Board's Investment Committee over the last two years, which are intended to maintain a strong portfolio. These actions included implementation of a strategy to diversify fixed and equity investments within the State Insurance Fund; a comprehensive update to the Fund's investment policy statement; and selection of passive-investment managers to execute BWC's new investment strategy.

In other business, the Board updated BWC's professional providers and medical services fee schedule, which sets reimbursement rates for the more than 64,000 certified medical providers. The updated schedule is projected to increase reimbursement to providers serving Ohio's injured workers by nearly three percent. New codes used to identify medical services and procedures will make certain injured workers receive appropriate care; ease the reimbursement process; and bring more clarity to the benefits covered under BWC's plan. The updated fee schedule will become effective October 25.

Also on today's agenda, the Board was given an update on the implementation of recommendations within the comprehensive study of Ohio's workers' compensation system, ordered by the 127th General Assembly in House Bill 100. The 900-page study includes 146 recommendations which are being analyzed and implemented. In FY10, 59 recommendations were addressed with 46 implemented. BWC's internal team reached 84% of its implementation goal for the fiscal year.

“The comprehensive study continues to serve as a valuable tool, providing direction toward the fundamental improvements that were necessary for BWC's long-term strength,” added Ryan. “Each recommendation we put into action increases the quality of our operations and our service to Ohio businesses and injured workers.”

Finally, the Board performed its annual self-assessment and rated its overall performance at an average of 4.5 on five-point scale. It also set action steps for improvement as part of its commitment to continuously advance processes and effectiveness.

The next meeting of the BWC Board of Directors will be Friday, August 27, 2010 at 8 a.m. in Room 3, Level 2 of the William Green Building, located at 30 W. Spring St., Columbus.

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