Today, Governor Mike DeWine asked the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) to send up to $5 billion in dividends to Ohio employers to ease the continued financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. If approved by the bureau's board of directors, it would bring the total dividend dollars for employers this year to nearly $8 billion.
‘This pandemic is unprecedented, and continues to financially impact Ohio employers and businesses,” said DeWine. “Issuing these dividends is important. This is about keeping businesses open and people employed.”
The $5 billion dividend would be the BWC's third dividend of more than $1 billion this year, and the largest one-time dividend ever issued by the BWC. The bureau distributed $1.54 billion in April and $1.34 billion in October. At $5 billion, this dividend is approximately four times the total premiums BWC collected from its employer members in policy year 2019.
“We’ve never issued three dividends in the same year, let alone any for this much, but unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “Even so, the State Insurance Fund is well positioned to cover our injured workers for years to come.”
Despite the pandemic, the BWC remains in a strong fiscal position from healthy investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year, and prudent fiscal management. Private and public employers in Franklin County would receive approximately $559 million, followed by Cuyahoga County at $528 million. The employer in line for the single largest dividend check in the state is the city of Columbus at nearly $64 million.
The BWC’s board is tentatively scheduled to vote on the request during a special meeting on Nov. 2, 2020.