Ohio BWC Will Vote on $1.5B Dividend Sept. 25

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has scheduled a vote on Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed $1.5 billion dividend payment for Sept. 25 during its monthly virtual meeting.

During his Thursday coronavirus briefing, DeWine called on the agency to make the dividend payment to ease the impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s economy and businesses. If approved, it would be the second dividend this year, following payments made in April. Checks could be mailed as soon as late October.

“Once again, this is great news for Ohio’s businesses because it will provide some immediate financial relief for employers amid this ongoing pandemic,” DeWine said in a statement Friday morning.

The proposed dividend would equal 100% of the premium employers paid in policy year 2019, according to the release. The Ohio BWC states such disbursements are possible “because of strong investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year and prudent fiscal management.”

In July, the agency earned $922 million in returns and had a net position (assets minus liabilities) of $12.4 billion as of July 31, according to the release.

“Our robust investment earnings indicated a dividend was feasible next year, but providing it now supports Governor DeWine’s efforts to provide businesses relief during this pandemic,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “This means, in all likelihood, we will not issue a dividend in 2021.”

The April dividend totaled $1.54 billion, $1.35 billion of which went to private employers and $184 million went to local government taxing districts, including counties, cities, townships and school districts.

Additionally, the BWC board met Friday morning to approve the governor’s other request to send another round of face coverings to employers through its Protect Ohio’s Workforce: We’ve Got You Covered program.

Since late May, the agency has shipped 20.6 million masks to 197,000 Ohio employers. The second round will start this fall, sending some 23 million masks to employers for free.

Funding for the masks comes from the BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene.

Source: Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.