Friday, June 27, 2014

PIAA Takes Lead in Helping Fix Workers’ Comp Exposure for Ohio Employers

PIAA wrote the following article on 6/27/14 with news on the resent Ohio Workers Compensation program.  The article is as follows:


Did you know some states do not recognize Ohio’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage? Many Ohio business owners have no idea that they are at risk for compliance audits and fines when their employees travel to other states for business.

As of June 16, 2014, this issue is on its way to no longer being a problem. Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 493 into law, which offers an insurance coverage solution for all Ohio employers whose employees cross state lines.
H.B. 493 permits the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) to enter into an agreement with an insurer to provide limited other-states’ workers’ comp coverage for Ohio employees who are temporarily working in another state. With this arrangement in place, Ohio businesses will no longer have to fear the repercussions of aggressive states like Pennsylvania and Kentucky that do not accept Ohio’s workers’ comp because they require local workers’ comp coverage for all work performed in-state, regardless of whether coverage exists in Ohio.

While local workers’ comp coverage can be obtained in these states, it is not necessarily cost-effective. In addition, obtaining blanket cost-effective out-of-state workers’ comp coverage has been a challenge in the current marketplace where such a product is hard to find. With H.B. 493, this will soon be an issue of the past, as BWC works to create the opportunity to provide guaranteed issue workers’ comp coverage to resolve the problems many Ohio businesses have faced due to other states workers’ comp requirements.

How did this issue surface?
Independent insurance agents throughout Ohio found their trucking, contracting, plumbing and other clients were being hit with audits, fines, taxes and other compliance enforcement actions from border states because Ohio’s workers’ comp insurance was not compliant with the insurance requirements of other states. These compliance issues were putting Ohio businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

The Professional Independent Agents Association of Ohio, of which your agent is a member, created a task force of independent insurance agents who serve a variety of businesses. These agents worked with the Ohio BWC and representatives from other industries, like trucking and contracting, to develop a solution to this problem.

What’s Next?
Now that the bill has been signed into law, BWC will begin the competitive bid process to identify an insurance carrier(s) to provide limited other states’ coverage for Ohio employers who need it.

While this process will take some time, the outcome will ensure that Ohio businesses will finally have guaranteed access to a workers’ comp insurance product that provides the type of out-of-state coverage that will protect their business and meet their needs. Furthermore, employers and insurance agents will no longer have the burden of trying to determine all the different workers comp requirements of each and every state where work is performed, since there will be access to a workers’ comp product that is accepted in all states.