Ohio's Comp Bureau Nears Full Recovery from Investment Scandal
A June 6 report by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation indicates BWC has substantially recovered from an investment scandal two years ago that brought major changes. BWC could have lost its $50 million investment in Capital Coin Fund, but the fund's liquidation has brought BWC close to a recovery of the entire amount, says the progress report, which is available at www.ohiobwc.com/reform/. The report says an investigative task force has obtained 19 criminal convictions in connection with fraudulent investment activities and other matters from its probe of the case.
The report was released one year after passage of HB 100, a reform bill that created a new external oversight board for BWC, which has a $17 billion investment portfolio. The reform law also created the Office of the Deputy Inspector General specifically for BWC and the Industrial Commission. (BWC is the administrative and insurance arm of the Ohio comp system, while IC adjudicates claims.) New Gov. Ted Strickland, who signed HB 100 on June 11, 2007, had appointed BWC's current administrator, Marsha Ryan, in March 2007 as part of the shakeup.
"The progress report released today outlines the accomplishments and the numerous changes currently under way at BWC," Ryan said as the report was released. "There is much work to be done; however, we are on a steady path to comprehensively improve the performance of Ohio's workers' compensation system." BWC has reduced overall premium rates for private employers by 5 percent and for universities and state agencies by 10 percent. The agency will soon implement a more accurate system that gives employers a clearer look at factors affecting reserves for their workers' injuries.