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Category: Group Retro

Ohio BWC Update to Wrap Up 2023

Posted By Brandy King
December 18, 2023 Category: Ohio Bwc, Bwc Update, Group Retro, Transitional Work, Ohio Bwc EM Cap, Drug Free Safety Program

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will be rolling out several changes that will impact Ohio employers in 2024. We mentioned back in August that the way base rates are structured may be changing, which BWC has confirmed. It’s uncertain how this will impact the end premiums, but no big swings are anticipated. We’ll be keeping our clients informed about any major changes.  The following rating elements will also be changing, with the potential to impact future premiums:  •    Deductible Factors •    Individual Retro – minimum premium factors •    Group Retro - loss development factors •    Premium Size Credit – ranges and factors This is also a “wait and see” situation, as we don’t yet know exactly what changes BWC plans on making to these elements.  Certificates of coverage will look different next year as well. They’ll now also list the employer’s MCO, any additional insureds, officers, who is eligible for elective coverage (such as owners), and NCCI codes and descriptions, in addition to the company’s address.  As of now, if employers need to make a minor change or correct an error in a company’s policy name, they had to complete a specific form and fax or mail that form back to BWC. The only way this process could be made slower would be by carrier pigeon. Luckily, they’ve stepped int

Choosing the Best Workers' Comp Partner for Your Business

Choosing the Best Workers Comp Partner for Your Business

Posted By Brandy King
July 20, 2023 Category: Ohio Workers Comp, Ohio Bwc, Ohio Tpa, Claims Management, Group Rating, Group Retro, PEO

Even though the 2023 BWC policy year just started, we’re already looking ahead to 2024 Group Rating and Group Retro programs. It can be hard to feel like a savvy buyer when it comes to workers’ comp in Ohio, but Spooner would like to share some pointers for how to understand the timeline and choose the best partner.   If you’re thinking of changing your partner for Group Rating or Group Retro, be sure not to complete the renewal that your current TPA sends this summer. Most employers don’t realize that cutting a check for a renewal in summer of 2023 will obligate them to their current TPA through June of 2025. Make sure your accounting team is aware of this, too. We’ve seen too many unhappy customers of other TPAs get trapped this way.  Are you under the impression that because you’re a member of XYZ Chamber of Commerce, you have to utilize their partner for workers’ comp programs? Not the case. The sponsoring organization frames it that way because there’s money on the table. For example, if you are an XYZ Chamber member (who happens to be partnered with a specific TPA) and you want to leave that TPA, XYZ Chamber makes less money. Naturally, they want you to stay with their TPA and may even advise you can’t get that discount outside of their partnership. This is patently false. Most TPAs have access to all of the same Group Rating and Group Retro programs for all industries, and the sponsoring orga

2018 & 2019 Group Retro Update

Posted By Brandy King
April 24, 2023 Category: Group Retro, Ohio Bwc, 2018 Group Retro, Group Retro Lawsuit

Many of you may be wondering what the status is of the Group Retro lawsuit that we talked so much about in February. Just over two months have passed – but when it comes to legal matters, it’s not much time at all. To catch you up to speed, a magistrate determined in February that BWC abused their discretion by withholding Retro refunds. BWC had a two-week window following that 2/6/23 decision to file any objections to the decision – which of course, they did. They chose to reiterate several points from their original arguments, and indicated that they did possess the authority to change a portion of the Revised Code without going through the typical rulemaking process. Our lead plaintiff, Kent Elastomer, and their counsel at Roetzel & Andress have already filed a response to those objections. We’re waiting to see if the full court of appeals wishes to hear oral arguments or proceed with the record that has already been established.  Unfortunately, there is no timetable on these next steps, but we will keep you updated here on our blog, on our LinkedIn page, and through our client services managers (if you’re a current Spooner client). If you participated in Group Retro during the 2018 or 2019 policy years and would like to be on our roster so we can fight for your refunds when the tie comes, complete this form and one of our team members will be in touch with

Disappointed with Your 2020 Group Retro Refund?

Disappointed with Your 2020 Group Retro Refund

Posted By Brandy King
November 07, 2022 Category: Group Retro, Ohio Bwc, ACES, Reserves, 2020 Group Retro, Group Retro Refunds

You’re not alone. Now that BWC is releasing the first Group Retro checks (and a few assessments) for  the 2020  policy year, many Ohio employers are underwhelmed by the results. In the earlier days of Group Retro, it wasn’t unheard of to see refunds over 50%. Spooner certainly had its heyday in the program, with some of our industry groups reaching close to the maximum return of 63%. In the last ten years, we’ve seen several factors begin to chip away at these big returns: increased loss development factors, fewer premium dollars in pools due to Premium Size Factor Reductions, and more recently – the move to a new reserve calculating system called ACES. The first two changes caused average returns to dip into the 40% ranges, but huge reserves from ACES delivered a sucker punch that left only five of the best performing groups with returns over 40%. Five of the hardest-hit pools will receive an assessment, which means paying back anywhere between 15-25% of their 2020 premiums to BWC. All other groups in the middle of the best and worst averaged returns of less than 24%. For some, that’s less than half of their historical performance average. We’ve been tracking the impact of ACES on Group Retro for a while now, and several TPAs (including Spooner) have voiced their concerns to BWC regarding the dwindling returns. While the complaints were taken under advisement, BWC chose to make such minor changes to the reserve calculations t

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: 2020 Group Retro Performance

Posted By Brandy King
August 02, 2022 Category: Ohio Bwc, Group Retro Assessment, 2020 Group Retro, ACES, Group Retro

Since the 2020 policy year wrapped, we’ve mentioned the lackluster performance of several Group Retro pools. These poor  returns, as well as a few assessments, are occurring largely in part to BWC’s move to the ACES reserves system, and aren’t necessarily tied to the performance of any one TPA. Luckily, Spooner’s pools remain steady (this is the good), but they may not be the returns we’ve seen in years past. On July 28, we received what will be the final numbers used to calculate the first round of Group Retro returns for those enrolled during the2020-2021 policy year. Out of 53 groups across all industries, only five performed above the 40% mark. This is increasingly important to remember as you shop 2023-24 programs this summer, and you’re seeing 50-60% returns being promised. The remainder lingered between 10-38% (the bad), with a few more in the red – meaning employers in those pools will be assessed, i.e. billed for their share of the difference (the ugly). Many decision makers don’t make note of the “maximum assessment” when they complete their Group Retro paperwork. This is a percentage disclosed that equates to how much of that year’s premium you’ll be responsible to pay back to Ohio BWC if the performance of your Group Retro pool is worse than expected. Here’s a real-life example of one of the groups being assessed. This particular pool was assigned a 20% maximum assessment,

2023 Program Enrollment is Live!

2023 Program Enrollment is Live!

Posted By Brandy King
June 28, 2022 Category: Ohio BWC, BWC Saving Programs, Group Rating, Group Retro, Self Insured PEO

It seems far away (and it is), but enrollment for 2023-2024 Ohio BWC savings programs has already started. We’ve had some other blogs that helped educate employers on how to choose the right TPA, but here are some additional things to be on the lookout for during “open season.” •    Your current TPA will send your renewal for 2023-24 very soon, if they haven’t already. This is usually done in the hopes that you’ll go ahead and process it just to get it off your desk. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time and doing your research. If you send the renewal back to them in July 2022, you’re stuck with them through June 30, 2024.  •    There are some sneaky marketing pieces out there from our competitors. We’ve seen mailers that say, “We value your continued business – your renewal is enclosed!” This would be great if you were actually their client. If there’s a new decision maker, or this ends up going straight to Accounts Payable, now you have a new TPA that you didn’t ask for.  •    Are you being provided with program options - or being re-enrolled in Group Rating every year, with the assumption that your TPA would tell you if it wasn’t the most advantageous? Would Group Retro save you more money, or even an option outside of BWC? What other discount programs can you stack with the program you plan on

Are Missing Group Retro Refunds Complicating Your Budget for 2022?

Posted By Brandy King
November 09, 2021 Category: Ohio BWC, Workers Comp, Group Retro, Retro Refunds, 2018 Group Retro, 2019 Group Retro, PEO

Back in August, we told you that Ohio BWC wouldn’t be paying Group Retrospective refunds to employers who participated in Retro during the 2018 and 2019 policy years.  For the past 12 years, many businesses have counted on those checks to budget for the coming year. Normally, Retro refunds would have showed up last month (October), but this time those employers were left empty-handed.  Companies that were anticipating tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands, in some cases) in Retro Refunds are now faced with an end of year shortfall and difficulty budgeting.  Our actuarial department estimates that Group Retro refund totals for all participating policyholders during the 2018 and 2019 policy years would have been as follows: •    $190,000,000 for the 2018 policy year   •    $155,000,000 for the 2019 policy year  That’s $345 Million in refunds not being paid back! If you are concerned with how the state is managing your premium dollars - and more importantly, your refunds - you have options. Self-insuring is one option, or you can look into a partnership with SuretyHR through our Self-Insured PEO program. This provides a lot of the same savings and benefits of self-insuring for workers’ comp, but without the risk and financial burden of directly paying excess

Group Retro Updates: 2018, 2019 & 2020

Posted By Brandy King
August 02, 2021 Category: Ohio Bwc, Group Retro, Group Retrospective Rating, ACES, MIRA, Reserves, Group Retro Assessment, 2018 Group Retro, 2019 Group Retro

We promised to keep you informed on the status of 2018 and 2019 policy year refunds from BWC’s Group Retro program.  As it stands, no employers enrolled during those years will be receiving any refunds. Typically, in the fall of 2021 Group Retro participants should be receiving your first refund from the 2019 policy year and your second refund from the 2018 year. It’s important to understand that if these refunds are normally included in your budgeting process for the coming year, you should not factor that in. For more info on why BWC chose not to release these funds, and what Spooner is doing to help Ohio employers, check out our June blog entry on these missing Group Retro Refunds. If your company was enrolled in Group Retro for the 2020 year, your first refund will be paid out in the fall of 2022.  Since the 2020 policy year recently ended, we also have an updated outlook on those returns. Out of the 45 total Private Employer Group Retro pools in Ohio, data from BWC shows that 31 of them will have an assessment for their first year (due in fall 2022). This means that companies in that pool will be billed by BWC for a portion of 2020 premiums instead of receiving a refund. This is largely due to BWC moving to a system called ACES to determine reserves on claims as of July 1, 2020. We believe BWC is open to discussing changes to some of the variables used to calculate refunds in response to the impact ACES is having on 2020 Group Retro

Where is BWC's Group Retro Program Headed?

Posted By Brandy King
June 11, 2021 Category: OHio BWC, Workers Comp, Group Retro, ACES, Claim Reserves, Group Retro Assessments

  In our last few blogs and newsletters, we’ve been updating you on the changes we’re noticing in Ohio BWC’s Group Retro program.  Initially, there was the withholding of 2018 and 2019 refunds (six total payouts for participating employers). Then, we began noticing the overall degradation of retro refunds.  Most recently, we’ve noticed how BWC’s changes to their claim reserve calculations are having a tremendous impact on the performance of Group Retro pools.  For those of you who didn’t read our post about reserve calculations, here’s an abridged version: workers’ comp claims have a dollar amount reserved at the onset of a claim (yes, even if you do salary continuation) for additional funds that the insurer thinks it may end up costing.  BWC’s method of calculating reserves changed in January 2021 and Spooner’s tracking of these trends show reserves increasing as much as 1900% on some claims. Why does it matter? That pretend money is treated like real money when your experience is calculated for the next year, determining your premiums. That $5000 ankle sprain is now a $29,000 ankle sprain, and the insurer (BWC) will recoup their losses from you accordingly.  We’ve been tracking the impact these reserves have on Group Retro, and it shows a vast majority of the pools underperforming.  Some competitors even show the possibility of an assessment, meaning that policyholder

Why We Fight (For Your Group Retro Refunds)

Posted By Brandy King
June 11, 2021 Category: Ohio BWC, Group Retro, Refunds, Dividends, 2018 Group Retro, 2019 Group Retro

  Many Ohio employers have rejoiced over the big checks issued by Ohio BWC in the last few years, a boast that the state’s strategies that have yielded enough to share dividends with policyholders. While it’s easy to understand the excitement when you’re getting five, six, or even seven figure checks from BWC – we all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  Many of the businesses gladly cashed those checks not realizing that Ohio BWC wouldn’t be sending checks for refunds earned from the Group Retrospective (retro) program for the 2018 and 2019 policy years.  Employers who participate in the Group Retro program are rebated after the policy year ends, based on their group’s actual performance throughout the year. The pool establishes a premium level throughout the policy year - and when the actual losses come in lower than that, the consortium members are rebated their share of the difference.  While no vendors were provided with the total that Group Retro refunds would have been for those years, Spooner’s actuarial department estimates that Group Retro refund totals for all participating policyholders during those years would have been as follows: •    $190,000,000 for the 2018 policy year   •    $155,000,000 for the 2019 policy year  These projections include what would be all three years of refund payments for each policy year, not just the first y

BWC Withholds 2018 & 2019 Group Retro Refunds

Posted By Brandy King
April 02, 2021 Category: Ohio BWC, Group Retro, Group Retro Refunds Withheld, Ohio BWC Dividends, 2018 Group Retro, 2019 Group Retro

The BWC is not going to pay out 2018 & 2019 Group Retro refunds this fall.  They have decided the dividend rebates issued for these policy years will take the place of 2018 and 2019 Group Retro refunds.  We do not believe the dividend proposal passed by the Board of Directors gives the BWC the authority to eliminate Group Retro refunds.  Spooner Incorporated is appealing this decision with the BWC, but we may not be able to do it alone.  Please reach out to Brian Davis if you would like to join us in the fight to get the BWC to release the 2018 and 2019 Group Retro refunds this fall. Brian can be reached

Changes in Reserve Calculations

Posted By Brandy King
April 01, 2021 Category: Ohio BWC, Reserves, Claims Costs, Group Retro, ACES, MIRA, Reserves

Effective July 1, 2020, Ohio BWC implemented a new reserve system called ACES.  Based on a large sampling of claims, we’ve found that this system can drastically increase reserves for future claims costs - which will then impact premiums and Group Retro performance. A reserve is a dollar amount placed on every claim, in which the insurer (BWC) “reserves” assumed future costs within the claim. The concept of a reserve is considered standard practice in workers’ compensation insurance, even for self-insured employers. Once a reserve is set, it will not leave the claim until the claimant has ceased medical treatment for at least six (6) months. The only other way to eliminate a reserve is through the process of a settlement. If a claim has a reserve when Ohio BWC’s September “snapshot” is taken - those reserves will be treated as dollars already spent on the claim, impacting premiums for the coming policy year. Lost time claims will see the largest impact, as medical reserves for 2019 were roughly four (4) times paid compensation and are now 19 times paid compensation.  This does not necessarily mean your company should consider salary continuation to soften the blow, as all claims have reserves. That should be discussed with your TPA on a case-by-case basis and not used as a remedy to avoid a lost-time claim with BWC. We are expecting these changes to have an impact on Group Retro refunds for the 2020 policy year a

Why is it Important to Understand Group Retro Ratings?

Why is it Important to Understand Group Retro Ratings

Posted By Spooner Inc
July 25, 2019 Category: Group Retro

Spooner Inc. helps Ohio employers understand their group retro

Changes to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation for 2019

Changes to the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation for 2019

Posted By Spooner Incorporated
January 04, 2019 Category: Workers Compensation, Ohio BWC, Group Retro

In this video blog, Jacqui and Joe discuss the changes the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation in 2019 and how Spooner Inc., can help you save time and money for your business in the new

The Importance of Proper Program Placement Group Rating Vs. Group Retro Program

The Importance of Proper Program Placement Group Rating Vs. Group Retro Program

Posted By Spooner Inc.
December 14, 2018 Category: Group Retro, Program Placement

Spooner Inc., has partnered with Virteom to engage our customers and users about our services and the technology behind the scenes. In our video series, Jacqui and Joe talk about what Spooner Inc., does and how it all works! This video is all about our program placement and getting the best placement for customers. Watch or read the transcription below! What is Spooner's Program Placement? Everything has to start with an AC3 form which is a temporary authorization, it allows us to give a company quote. There's no obligation or cost to it, but once we have that we're able to take a screenshot of a company's history and then see what's a good fit for them.  There are two main programs that exist. The first is our group rating, this is an upfront discount. It's like you're safe drivers discount. Essentially, if you have not received any speeding tickets in a while, we'll give you a little bit of a cheaper rate.  What is the Group Retrospective Program? Group retro is when you've had a couple of speeding tickets, but they monitor your driving to ensure you're a safe driver, so this puts more pressure on your driving performance. Based on your performance you can get refund checks. That's what the group retrospective program is. Below is a diagram to show you how it breaks down.  Determining Your Rating and How It Plays Out | An Example On the left under group premium, it says 41 percent. Now, the most you can g

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