The Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) “affects everybody,” whether they are a business owner or not, Erin Rosiello told Greenfield Rotarians on Thursday.
According to its website, the Ohio BWC was begun in 1912. The workers’ compensation system insures about two-thirds of Ohio’s workforce.
Before the inception of BWC, Rosiello, a regional development manager with the BWC, said at the Greenfield Rotary Club’s weekly meeting that if a worker was hurt on the job, it was considered the worker’s fault. But then businesses started getting sued and that changed things. She said the BWC says “it’s a no fault situation.”
The agency, she said, is “basically insurance” and was put in place to protect workers and businesses.
The Ohio BWC sees 100,000 new claims each year, Rosiello said, and to ensure there is money enough to be able to attend to the claims, the agency has “billions in reserve.” The bureau’s reserve is grown by investing premiums, but the BWC is only allowed to hold so much in reserve and once a certain point is reached, money goes back to employers, which she said was the case a couple years ago.
“With $28 billion in assets, BWC is the largest exclusive state-fund workers’ compensation system in the United States and the second largest underwriter of workers’ compensation insurance in the country,” the website says.
Rosiello said Ohio’s BWC “is unique” in that it is one of four states that is “monopolistic.” And even with the monopoly, she said Ohio is rated as “the 17th most affordable” state in the country.
The agency offers premium reductions to employers through a variety of programs. There are a number of resources available for employers and workers as well.
An important point, Rosiello said, and another way that workers comp affects more than business owners, is when a homeowner hires someone, like a tree service or a painter, to work at their home. She said it is important to check that the contract worker has an active BWC policy, because if something happens a homeowner’s insurance will likely not pay when it is found out that a person that the homeowner hired to do a job at the home was injured while doing that job.
To check if a contract worker has an active policy, go to the BWC website (listed below) or call 1-800-OHIOBWC.
It can be a “liability gap” that a lot of people aren’t aware of, Tim McDermott, also with the BWC, said.
McDermott encouraged Rotarians to not only verify a contractor’s BWC certificate, but their insurance and bond, too.
For more information about the agency or the resources available, go to www.bwc.ohio.gov.
The Greenfield Rotary Club meets each Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at Catch 22 Sports Pub, 250 Jefferson St., Greenfield.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.