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Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation
Ohio BWC Logo.png
Agency overview
Formed 1912
Headquarters Columbus, Ohio
Website
www.ohiobwc.com

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation' (OBWC or BWC) provides workers' compensation insurance coverage for employers and employees in the State of Ohio through a $22 billion fund.[1] Based on assets under management, OBWC is the largest exclusive state-operated and second largest overall provider of workers’ compensation insurance in the United States.

The OBWC reported providing coverage to more than 288,000 employers and supports more than 1.5 million open cases of worker disability. OBWC paid out more than $1.9 billion in benefits against premiums from employers of $2.1 billion.

Since its founding in 1912, BWC has provided medical and compensation benefits for work-related injuries, diseases and deaths. BWC provides insurance to about two-thirds of Ohio's work force.

Contents

Scandals and controversies

Coingate

In 2005, the OBWC became involved in a massive investment scandal that ultimately contributed to the defeat of the Republican Party leadership of the state government in Ohio.[2] It was revealed in early 2005, in part by a Toledo, Ohio, newspaper The Blade that the OBWC had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in high risk or unconventional investment vehicles run by people closely connected to the Ohio Republican Party who had made large campaign contributions to many senior Republican party officials.

Most notably, a rare coin investment fund has attracted particular scrutiny after it was reported that two coins worth more than $300,000 had been lost. Further investigation then revealed that coins worth $10-$12 million were missing and that only $13 million of the original $50 million invested could be accounted for. Thomas Noe, a Republican Party fundraiser and activist was charged with running a criminal enterprise, the theft of $13 million from the fund, and of keeping a second set of books to cover for it.[3]

Private equity investments

In the aftermath of the Coingate scandal, the OBWC determined to reduce its exposure to investments perceived as "alternative" or "high risk" which included an $400 million portfolio of over 60 private equity and venture capital investment funds. A sale of the portfolio was reported in 2007.

However, as part of that sale process, OBWC engaged Ennis Knupp to conduct a thorough valuation of its alternative investment holdings. The Columbus Dispatch subsequently made a request under the Freedom of Information Act to receive the Ennis Knupp valuation report, which included confidential materials that the various private equity firms objected to OBWC disclosing. The various private equity firms settled a lawsuit with the Columbus Dispatch allowing a partial disclosure, however the generally secretive private equity industry followed the outcome closely.[4][5]

Subsequent events

In the years following the Coingate scandal, OBWC has replaced its senior management and investment teams and has been scrutinized heavily by the new Democratic administration in Ohio.

On June 26, 2007, however, the OBWC was again in the news as a result of the theft of a laptop containing personal information for 439 injured workers.[6]

On January 13, 2009, Ohio inspector general's office investigation reported that a high-paid employee had been spending most of his work hours, since 2005, downloading and viewing audio and video files from sexually explicit websites during working hours. The case was referred to prosecutors for possible charges involving theft of state time and the inspector general urged the BWC to monitor more closely its employees' computer use.[7][8]

See also

References

External links








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