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BWC Board to consider $1.5 billion dividend proposal

Written on Sep 10, 2020

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Board of Directors will vote in September on Gov. DeWine’s proposal to send Ohio employers up to $1.5 billion in dividends to ease the impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s economy and business community.

The Board will vote on the governor’s proposal at its monthly virtual meeting Sept. 25. 

If approved, it would be the second dividend of $1 billion or more since April. The $1.5 billion totals the premiums paid during the 2019 policy year, and officials say the payout is possible because of several factors, including a lower number of claims and strong returns on investment.

Of BWC’s $1.54 billion dividend in April, $1.35 billion went to private employers and $184 million went to local government taxing districts, such as counties, cities, townships, and school districts. 

The agency anticipated providing a dividend next year, but, if approved, it could start sending checks in late October.

“Employers told us after the April dividend that these dollars certainly can be lifesavers for business,” DeWine said during a news conference. “I made the decision to ask the board to do this and to do it now and not wait because we know there are some businesses out there that very much can use this money now.”

In May, the BWC said it would defer premium payments for employers, and installments for June, July and August would instead be due on Sept. 1. 

BWC provides workers’ compensation insurance to more than 248,000 private and public employers in Ohio. Despite COVID-19’s impact, the agency’s investment returns remain strong. It earned $922 million in returns in July and had a net position (assets minus liabilities) of $12.4 billion as of July 31. BWC is funded by employer premiums.