Employers receive more than $1B in state rebates

Businesses and public employers in area counties are getting back tens of millions in Ohio worker’s compensation premiums as part of an almost $1.1 billion statewide rebate made possible by better-than-expected returns on an approximately $24.6 billion fund.

“It’s not often the government says to business, here, have some of your money back,” said Andy Schwartz, corporate counsel and co-owner of Lion Inc., which will receive a rebate. The Vandalia maker of apparel and turnout gear for firefighters and other emergency workers hosted the announcement Monday by state officials.

A 12-county area in southwest Ohio including Butler, Clark, Greene, Montgomery and Warren counties will see an influx of more than $135 million.

Area businesses, public employers get BWC rebate

CountyPolicy TypeRebate
ButlerPrivate Employers$25,258,680.14
ButlerPublic Employers$2,700,354.39
ChampaignPrivate Employers$2,814,417.08
ChampaignPublic Employers$430,317.99
ClarkPrivate Employers$8,308,561.24
ClarkPublic Employers$1,601,033.64
ClintonPrivate Employers$2,881,966.38
ClintonPEC - Public Employers$483,936.93
DarkePrivate Employers$3,347,367.37
DarkePublic Employers$454,225.97
GreenePrivate Employers$4,412,142.46
GreenePublic Employers$1,499,028.51
LoganPrivate Employers$3,026,124.61
LoganPublic Employers$652,922.67
MiamiPrivate Employers$8,933,903.12
MiamiPublic Employers$1,000,008.47
MontgomeryPrivate Employers$39,632,279.01
MontgomeryPublic Employers$5,868,034.19
PreblePrivate Employers$1,646,841.55
PreblePublic Employers$341,734.00
ShelbyPrivate Employers$5,876,932.01
ShelbyPublic Employers$578,025.80
WarrenPrivate Employers$12,348,722.69
WarrenPublic Employers$1,363,442.60
Not located in OhioPrivate Employers$90,739,628.03
Total Ohio $1,095,186,996.01
SOURCE: Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation

The rebates come with “no strings attached” but recipients are urged to spend the money on safety initiatives that can keep future premiums in check, said Sarah Morrison, administrator/CEO of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

“The employers can use it however they would like to,” Morrison said. “We, of course, are encouraging employers to use that money to invest in their employees; to invest in safety; maybe take some opportunities to put in new equipment: guardrails, those sorts of things.”

The agency sets workers’ comp premiums assuming a 4.5 percent return on its investments, but over the last several years funds yielded 7 percent, Morrison said.

“So we are in a good position that we can return this money to Ohio employers,” Morrison said.

There is no registration or application process for employers. Checks are being mailed automatically, she said. The first rebates went out last week and a staggered mailing schedule should have nearly 180,000 checks all to their destinations by early August.

Stephanie Precht, Dayton Chamber of Commerce’s director of public policy and economic development, said the BWC’s commitment to returning millions to employers drives down business costs and benefits Ohio workers.

“The return of these critical funds allows the Dayton area business community to invest more money back into their local operations and perhaps even more importantly into the local workforce,” she said.

The rebate sum equals roughly two-thirds of an employer’s premium for the 2015 policy year, according to BWC.

“We charge worker’s compensation to individual accounts whether that be the general fund or the street fund depending on people’s wages, and then we put that money back into those accounts,” said Mark Beckdahl, finance director for the city of Springfield. “It’s a nice return of money for expenses that we had previously.”

Though the rebate figure for each private employer is not public information, Ohio private employers will receive about 88 percent of all rebate dollars. The largest private employer refund in Montgomery County is $3.1 million and $526,641 in Butler County.

The largest rebate to an area public employer — about $1.3 million — will go to the city of Dayton. Dayton Public Schools was also high on the list, receiving more than $961,000. This year’s is the third $1 billion rebate since 2013.

Schwartz said maintaining a good safety record promotes not only future rebates from BWC but also better insurance rates from any type of provider.

He said Lion’s rebate is already earmarked for safety initiatives and equipment that could range from ergonomic studies to training to building new equipment that lessens repetitive stress on employees.

“We see that safety is good business. It’s good for our employees and we know it’s good for all our stakeholders when we have a good safety record,” he said.

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