An agreement was reached in the lawsuit filed by employers against the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) alleging the BWC charged excessive premiums. As a result, approximately 230,000 businesses will receive monies from the settlement, with some standing to receive over $1 million.
The BWC appealed into the Supreme Court of Ohio in late June after the Eight District Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision that the BWC operated an unlawful rating system, granting excessive premium discounts to employers participating in the group rating system at the expense of non-group-rated businesses.
This settlement is about half of the $860 million ordered by the trial court in March of 2013, but both sides have praised the settlement. The BWC recognized that prior administrations had charged excessive premiums, but asserts that changes have been made in recent years to address the issue and are pleased with the settlement so that it can move forward. Attorneys for the lead plaintiff are also pleased, noting that the BWC adopted a formula in 2009 to address the past abuse and now thousands of businesses will receive monies that can be reinvested to help them grow.
Once the settlement is approved by the court, employers will be notified as to how to submit claims. A third-party administrator will be appointed to manage the process and will begin processing claims in the next few months. Any unclaimed funds will be returned to the State Insurance Fund. A copy of the settlement agreement can be found here.
The recent changes by the BWC spurred on by this litigation should continue to save many employers money on their workers' compensation premiums.