The Ohio Workers' Compensation Board has approved by a 4-to-1 vote another 20 percent dividend for private employers. However, that same day a  2 percent rate increase was approved effective July 1, 2004.
 
The dividend credit, which applies to the Jan. 1 to June 30, 2004, rate period, is made possible by an $800 million surplus in the State Insurance Fund. The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation cited a 15.7 percent rate of return on 2003 investments which has led to this dividend credit. The premium rate increase applies to the July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005 period, which will first be billed to private employers on Jan. 1, 2005, because the BWC payment system works in arrears.
 
James Conrad, BWC administrator and chief executive officer, noted to the Board that the 2 percent rate increase is still below the national average. Bureau officials also hope to offset some of the increase with a future dividend, but such a decision is subject to further review of the surpluses in the fund and won't be determined until November 2004.
 
Ohio producers who have questions about the dividend credit or rate increase, should contact their CompManagement representative, Brad James at (800) 825-6755, ext. 2619.
 
Ohio Pork Producers Council