2nd dividend this year to ease COVID-19 financial impact
COLUMBUS – The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors will vote next month on Governor Mike DeWine’s proposal Thursday 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, the dividend would be the second one of that magnitude this year to ease the pandemic’s impact and the third since 2019, all at Governor DeWine’s request.
“Once again, this is great news for Ohio’s businesses because it will provide some immediate financial relief for employers amid this ongoing pandemic,” said Governor DeWine.
Meanwhile, the Board met virtually this morning and approved Governor DeWine’s request to send another round of face coverings to employers to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
BWC has shipped 20.6 million masks to 197,000 Ohio employers since late May as part of Protecting Ohio’s Workforce — We’ve Got You Covered. In a second round, BWC will begin this fall sending approximately 23 million masks to employers, who will not be billed for the items. The funding will come from BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene at no impact to the division’s safety services and grant programs. BWC is working to purchase as many of these masks as possible from manufacturers making them here in Ohio.
The Board heard Governor DeWine’s dividend proposal Thursday afternoon, immediately after the governor’s daily news conference on the coronavirus. The proposed dividend would equal 100% of the premium employers paid in policy year 2019. As with prior disbursements, the dividend is possible because of strong investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year, and prudent fiscal management. Checks could be mailed as soon as late October.
“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.”
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.
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.
Click here for a fact sheet on the proposed dividend and our masks initiative.
For more on COVID-19 as it relates to BWC, visit: https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/downloads/blankpdf/COVID-19-BWCFAQs.pdf
For other questions about COVID-19 related to BWC, email BWCCOVID19@bwc.state.oh.us.
For the latest on COVID-19, visit the Ohio Department of Health website http://coronavirus.ohio.gov, or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).