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Where is BWC's Group Retro Program Headed?

 

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 policyholders will actually owe money back to BWC instead of getting a refund.  The Group Retro program refunds part of premiums to groups when losses are lower than expected – but an assessment occurs when losses are higher than expected.  Most industry pools show at least one group in the red, but the service industry groups seem to be getting hit the hardest.  

You might assume that if your pool is projected to be assessed, that your TPA would have reached out to help your company prepare for this possibility.  The truth is, they’re not obligated to notify you in advance if they see it coming. The way Group Retro has been performing, it may not be a bad idea to check in with your TPA mid-policy year and ask where the group stands.  They are provided these estimates on a quarterly basis by BWC, but will typically not share that information unless they’re asked – as it often has a negative impact on their ability to retain customers for the coming policy year. Spooner doesn't always share the same concerns as other TPAs, as our clients have come to rely on our effective claims management as opposed to relying on us saving them money via programs alone. 

All of Spooner’s Group Retro pools are currently safe and still projecting refunds.  While we can’t predict the future, we feel confident about the performance of our pools based on our dedication to proactive claims management and our investment of safety services for Group Retro clients. If you’d like to know how your current Group Retro pool is performing (yes, even if you’re not a Spooner client!), please reach out to us at 440-249-5207.

Most Recent

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

BWC to Host Open Forum on ACES

Posted By Brandy King
October 07, 2021 Category: ACES, Ohio BWC, Workers Compensation, Ohio BWC, Ohio Workers Compensation, Underwriting, ACES, MIRA II, EMR, Insurance Premiums

On October 14, BWC will host an open forum with TPAs to discuss the impact of their new reserve system called ACES.  Spooner’s goal is to convince BWC that this system is overestimating reserves for lost time claims (as well as some medical only claims) that will have a dramatic effect on Group Retro refunds for the 2020 policy year and future years. This could also have a negative impact on employers’ EMRs for the 2023 policy year. BWC implemented this new system of calculating reserves in January 2021. As early as June, we began noticing reserves jumping to nearly 4-5 times what they would have been under the previous system and industry standard, MIRA II. We shared another update in August, after reviewing the first round of results for 2020 Group Retro and finding that 68% of pools could face a first year assessment, as opposed to getting a refund from the program.  These open forums held by BWC are a platform for TPAs to voice concerns over certain policy and procedure changes that may negatively impact Ohio businesses. Spooner is an Ohio business, and our family of companies make it a priority to fight for policy changes that will have a positive impact on the business community that we’re so proud to be a part

Is Our Company Required To Train Employees in First Aid and CPR?

Posted By Brandy King
October 07, 2021 Category: OSHA, First Aid, CPR, AED, Medical Treatment, First Responder Training, Safety Training, Safety, Compliance

One question that our safety team gets across nearly all industries is, “Am I required to have my employees certified to perform first aid and CPR?” OSHA requires that in the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital within near proximity to the workplace – one or more staff members should be adequately trained to provide first aid. While the standards do not specify exactly how close by, OSHA has long interpreted the term "near proximity" to mean that emergency care must be available within no more than 3-4 minutes from the workplace. One option these standards provide employers is to ensure that a member of the workforce has been trained in first aid. This option is a feasible and low-cost way to protect employees, as well as putting the employer clearly in compliance with the standards. OSHA recommends that every workplace include one or more employees who are trained and certified in first aid, including CPR. While AED training is not specifically addressed or required by the standard, including that in your CPR training is recommended.   The team at Spooner Safety will now be offering first aid and CPR training to businesses that would like to certify members of their team as either a requirement or best practice. Please contact Jeremy Smith at 440-249-5696 | Ext: 154 for more

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