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Category: Group Retro

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 Policy Year, 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

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 PY, 2019 PY, State Fund

  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 PY, 2019 PY

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 email Jennifer Kantorowski 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. Jennifer can be reached at

Changes in Reserve Calculations

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

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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