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The Columbus Dispatch Reports Workers' Compensation Rate Cut Proposed for Public Employers

Ohio's 3,800 public employers are in line for another cut in their workers' compensation premiums.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation said yesterday that it is proposing a 9.1 percent reduction in rates for the cities, counties, townships, villages, schools and special districts that it covers beginning Jan. 1.

The cut is estimated to save these employers $19 million in 2015. The proposal is expected to be approved next month.

If approved, this latest proposed reduction, coupled with decreases in each of the past four years, will result in a 20 percent decline in rates during that time.

The cuts have reduced premiums from $1.46 per $100 of payroll in 2010 to $1.12 per $100 of payroll in 2015. Those rates are before any discounts the employer might receive for participating in certain programs.

"Public employers are already paying the lowest rates in at least 30 years, and this additional reduction would go a long way for these employers that are closely monitoring each dollar," said Steve Buehrer, the bureau's administrator, in a statement.

The proposed reduction is based on several factors, including anticipated claims frequency, claims severity and payroll trends, according to the bureau.

Actual premium changes for individual government agencies would depend on a number of factors, including their recent claims history.

The bureau approved a 6.3 percent rate cut for private employers that went into effect July 1. It is the eighth straight year that rates for private employers have stayed flat or gone down. Rates for private employers will come up for discussion again next spring.

The bureau also announced in early August that public employers could receive rebates totaling $126 million on their workers' compensation premiums next month. The bureau's board is expected to vote on the rebates at its meeting today.

The rebates proposal includes $1 million for safety training for Ohio firefighters as part of the bureau's efforts to reduce injuries.

The rebates are a part of the $1 billion that the bureau announced in August that it wants to return to public and private employers that the bureau insures. The bureau doesn't cover all public and private employers.

Private employers insured by the bureau also figure to collect their rebates in October.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch  •  Friday September 26, 2014 4:13 AM

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