Ohio Workers’ Comp Board OKs Safety Rules, Rate Decrease

June 2, 2009

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors has approved rule changes associated with the safety standards in the Ohio Administrative Code for several industries.

Ohio law allows BWC to adopt rules establishing worker safety standards that are the minimum requirements of an employer for the protection of its employees.

The board approved revisions of safety rules for the following industries: metal casting, steel making, laundering and dry cleaning, elevators, rubber and plastics and window cleaning. The changes are necessary because when injuries are caused by a violation of a specific safety requirement, the injured worker may receive additional compensation payable in the claim.

In other business, the board approved a slight premium rate decrease for Ohio state agencies, universities and university hospitals.

A BWC actuarial analysis recommended the change to the Public Employer State Agencies rate. State agencies, which pay bi-weekly premiums, will begin paying the new rate beginning July 1. State universities and university hospitals pay quarterly premiums and will begin paying at the lower rate in October.

BWC’s Actuarial Division determines rates for each agency that will generate premium collections that are equal to the anticipated losses during the upcoming year. The average rates vary among public employer state agencies. Agency rates will be individually calculated, while most can expect a rate decrease, some agencies could experience an increase based on their claim activity.

The board also approved an implementation strategy for diversifying both fixed and equity investments within the State Insurance Fund. The vote follows the board’s approval last month of a comprehensive update to the Fund’s investment policy statement (IPS), which was the result of a year-long analysis.

As a result of the new IPS, the State Insurance Fund portfolio will remain 100 percent passively managed and will be comprised of 70 percent bonds and 30 percent equities. The plan calls for the issuance of a Master Passive Index Manager Request for Proposal (RFP) to select a passive investment managers to execute the new investment strategy. The RFP is expected to be posted by July 2009, with finalists identified later this year.

The board separately authorized hiring three managers to assist with the transition to the new asset allocation. Barclay Global Investors, Russell Investments and State Street Global Markets were selected from 10 managers that responded to an RFP that was issued in February.

Source: Ohio Board of Workers’ Compensation

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