Medical marijuana and its impact on Ohio workers' comp

With the upcoming implementation of medical marijuana in Ohio, you and your commercial clients may be wondering what impact, if any, this change will have on the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and its programs? BWC recently put together a fact sheet with information to help you understand the impact that this change will have on Ohio workers’ comp.

What does Ohio's medical marijuana law say?

In 2016, the Ohio General Assembly set up the framework to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio, effective Sept. 8, 2018.

It was approved for certain medical conditions, including pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, PTSD, and traumatic brain injuries.

At this time, the only legal forms of medical marijuana will be edibles, oils, patches, plant material and tinctures. Vaporization is permitted. It cannot be smoked or combusted. Home growth is prohibited.

The Ohio Department of Commerce is tasked with regulating the licensure of medical marijuana cultivators and processors, as well as the laboratories that test medical marijuana. The state of Ohio Board of Pharmacy will license retail dispensaries and register patients and their caregivers.

Additionally, the State Medical Board of Ohio will regulate physicians’ requirements and procedures for applying for and maintaining certificates to recommend medical marijuana and maintain the list of conditions for which medical marijuana can be recommended.

What is the impact on the new law on the Ohio BWC?

The impact of the new law on BWC and its programs is limited.

It does not adversely affect the Drug-free Safety Program, will not require BWC to pay for patient access to marijuana, and expressly states that an employee whose injury was the result of being intoxicated or under the influence of marijuana is not eligible for workers’ compensation.

Specifically:

  1. Nothing in the law requires an employer to accommodate an employee’s use of medical marijuana.
     

  2. The law does NOT prohibit an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, or taking an adverse employment action because of a person’s use of medical marijuana.
     

  3. The law specifies that marijuana is covered under “rebuttable presumption.” In general, this means that an employee whose injury was the result of being intoxicated or under the influence of marijuana is not eligible for workers’ compensation. This is the case regardless of whether the marijuana use is recommended by a physician.
     

  4. While the law does not specifically address reimbursement for medical marijuana recommended for injured workers, Ohio law already has rules and statutes in place that limit what medications are reimbursable by BWC.

    • Administrative code provides that drugs covered by BWC are limited to those that are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Marijuana has not been approved by the FDA and remains a Schedule I illegal drug under federal law.
       

    • BWC-funded prescriptions must be dispensed by a registered pharmacist from an enrolled provider. Medical marijuana will be dispensed from retail marijuana dispensaries, not from enrolled pharmacies.
       

    • BWC only reimburses drugs that are on its pharmaceutical formulary, which is a complete list of medications approved for reimbursement by BWC. Drugs not on the list are not eligible for reimbursement, and under BWC’s current rules, it cannot be included in the formulary, nor is it otherwise eligible for reimbursement.

What can employers do?

If you have not done so already, the best way employers can protect their workers and themselves is to establish a drug-free workplace, or, if they already have one, to review and update it if necessary.

This is important because certain sections of the new law reference the use of medical marijuana in violation of an employer’s drug-free workplace policy, zero-tolerance policy or other formal program or policy regulating the use of medical marijuana.

For what this means to your specific workplace, consult your human resources or legal department.
 

View BWC fact sheet


Changes coming to 2019 CIC institute format

Certified Insurance Counselor designation logoWe have great news about changes coming to next year’s CIC institute offerings!

If you’re a CIC designation holder, you’ll only have to attend two days of instruction to obtain an update on your CIC designation in 2019. This saves you time out of the office and the expense of a hotel room for an additional night.

For those pursuing a CIC designation, you’ll no longer have to cram both instruction and test-taking into the third day. In the 2019 institutes, you’ll experience two full days of instruction, with just your exam taking place on the third morning. In order for the institute to count toward your designation, you still must attend the third morning to complete (and pass) the test.

As a result of this change, 2019 CIC institutes will now be offered for 16 credit hours of continuing education per institute instead of 20. This is the same amount currently offered in the James K. Ruble Graduate Seminars.

Please note: these changes take effect in the December 2018 CIC Company Operations institute, as well as all of the 2019 institutes. The rest of the 2018 institutes remain in the traditional three-day format.

More good news

We have released the 2019 CIC institutes schedule and are accepting registrations!

These institutes are popular and book up fast, so check out the calendar or click on a title below to secure your spot!

2019 Ohio CIC Institute Schedule

Have questions about our education programs?
 

Contact Sam


Ohio's 2018 Outstanding CSR of the Year award winner announced

2018 Outstanding CISR of the Year logoAUSTIN, TX – Each year, a group of exceptional insurance professionals are chosen by The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research to represent their states and compete to become the National Outstanding CSR of the Year.

This prestigious award, regarded as the foremost national award of its kind, recognizes the contributions and commitment of those who serve clients within the insurance industry.

To qualify for the top state honor, the 2018 candidates submitted an essay on the following topic:

“In today’s business environment, CSRs are finding that more work is required from a smaller staff pool. As a CSR, what four ways have you found beneficial in helping you accomplish work tasks while still providing excellent customer service? In short, how do you do more with less?”

Additionally, entrants must have demonstrated commendable service to their agencies, their industry, and their community. The only eligibility requirement for this award is that the candidate must be an insurance customer service representative or have primary responsibility for insurance customer service duties.

“The Outstanding CSR of the Year Award recognizes the annual exemplar for exceptional customer service representatives across the nation,” said Danielle Janecka, Senior Vice President of The National Alliance.

“Through their essays, contributions to their agencies, and their letters of recommendation, every one of the state winners helps to raise the standard for personal and professional excellence. We honor them for their clear contributions to their colleagues, teams, and organizations. They are the face of customer service for our whole industry.”

Each state winner receives a framed certificate and is eligible to compete for the national honor, which carries a $2,000 cash award, a gold and diamond pin, $1,000 cash award for the nominator, and a scholarship for the recipient’s employer to any program offered by The National Alliance.

Additionally, the name of the Outstanding CSR of the Year is inscribed on a sculpture permanently displayed at the national headquarters of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research in Austin, Texas.

State Winners:

State Name Agency
Arizona Kathleen A. Dragan Hill Insurance Services, LLC
California Jenny Chea-Vaing, CISR Singlepoint Insurance Services, Inc.
Delaware Maria T. Metcalfe, CISR Bellevue Insurance Services, LLC
Florida Catrin Liffner Beck Partners Insurance
Illinois Sara K. Mancini, CISR Elite, AIS Market Financial Group, Ltd, a division of
Arthur J. Gallagher
Indiana Amanda Stoller Ovation Insurance
Iowa Jeremy Smith, CIC, CISR The Accel Group
Kansas Kimberly Andersen, CISR J. Goodman Insurance Agency
Kentucky Brandy Marcum Market Finders Insurance Corporation
Louisiana Kristen G. Fligg, CISR Amerisafe
Maine Lori Duval F.A. Peabody Company
Maryland Gregory A. Clem HUB International Mid-Atlantic, Inc.
Michigan Brian St. Charles, CISR Michigan Community Insurance Agency
Minnesota Starr L. Marshall, CISR Reliable Agency
Mississippi Laura A. Freeman, CISR Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance, Inc.
Nebraska Michele Koehler, CISR Integrity Insurance Group
North Carolina Teresa P. Gedraytis, CIC, CISR James E. Moore Insurance Agency, Inc.
Ohio Beth Ann Mitchell Lauber & Will Insurance Agency
Oregon Kendall I. Pori, CIC Protectors Insurance, LLC
Pennsylvania Ashley M. Fitzsimmons, CISR Fitzsimmons Insurance Agency, Inc.
South Carolina Anna M. Kocuba, CISR Kinghorn Insurance of Beaufort
Tennessee Elizabeth A. Wilkins Martin & Zerfoss Insurance
Texas Linda M. Dailey Insurance Partners/SWBC
Utah Stephanie Holden, CISR, CPSR SentryWest Insurance Services
Vermont Katie LaFreniere, CISR Crowley Insurance Agency
Washington Amy Hayes Duncan & Associates, Inc.
Wisconsin Stacey M. Migliano, CISR The Trottier Insurance Group
Wyoming Cindy Gerhold HUB International


The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, the nation’s premier provider of advanced educational opportunities for insurance and risk management professionals, includes the Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC) Program, the Certified Risk Managers (CRM) Program, the Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR) Program, the Certified Personal Risk Managers Program (CPRM), the Certified School Risk Managers (CSRM) Program, the Dynamics Sales Training Series, the School for Producer Development, and The National Alliance Research Academy.

For further information, contact:

The National Alliance
P.O. Box 27027
Austin, Texas 78755-2027
phone: (800) 633-2165
website: TheNationalAlliance.com


ODI Business Entity Licenses Expire Sept. 30

Ohio insurance agencies with a business entity license through the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) must renew their licenses by Sept. 30.

Licensed insurance entities may submit a renewal application as early as 90 days prior to the license expiration date.

Business entities should renew the license electronically using the NAIC electronic application found at nipr.com. Instructions to help you renew your license can be found here.

Reminder: Business Entity License Changes Must Be Reported Within 30 Days

Are you aware that changes to your business entity license information must be reported to ODI within 30 days?

ODI requires that any change in a business entity name, address, email, licensed agents, officers, directors, members, or owners, with a 10 percent or more voting interest in the agency, must be reported within 30 days of such a change.

To check your business entity’s information, use ODI’s Agent/Agency Locator.

To make any changes to your business entity license, click here.

Update business entity license

Questions?

Contact Carolyn Mangas, Government Affairs Manager, at (800) 555-1742.


Berkshire Hathaway GUARD now writing personal lines in Ohio

Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies logoBerkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies has begun offering homeowners and complementary personal umbrella coverage in Ohio.

According to GUARD CEO Sy Foguel, “We have always relied upon independent agents to deliver our policies to consumers, so our goal is to feature products that fill a need within their offices. We believe our homeowners coverage, which provides the same high level of security and service currently enjoyed by our commercial customers, will do just that.”

Senior Vice President of Personal Lines Dovid Tkatch explains that this new initiative has been designed to reflect a few core principles of the company by “providing a quality, easily understood product on a simple platform as well as a high level of service to both agents and policyholders.”

Targeted markets include one- to four-family dwellings, renters, and condo units (both owner-occupied and those held for rental).

“In addition to standard exposures,” Tkatch adds, “Berkshire Hathaway GUARD aims to provide a bridge between certain business and personal insurance needs by considering Homeowners coverage for residences owned by corporations and LLCs; dwellings held for rent; and residences where incidental business activities occur.”

GUARD’s Senior Vice President of Sales Dave Simmons says, “We believe we can provide a great service to agents that write both commercial and personal accounts. We feature a competitively priced product with a variety of available discounts, including one for insureds who have commercial policies with GUARD. We also believe certain aspects of our underwriting appetite are unique and will appeal to producers anxious to cross sell and achieve a greater client share.”

GUARD’s product is generally aimed at dwellings valued at $75,000 to $2,000,000.

By mixing and matching policy forms, endorsements, and optional coverages aimed at broader protection, each policyholder can obtain property insurance suited to his or her exact circumstances.

A personal umbrella with limits up to $5,000,000 can also be added.

According to Tkatch, “We’ve already introduced these personal lines coverages in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois and have been pleased with the response. In 2018, we hope to expand into a few other states as the year progresses.”

As a national carrier, long-range plans call for offering the product countrywide he said.

In October of 2012, GUARD was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. – an international holding company with diverse interests that include insurance and reinsurance. In 2013, GUARD unveiled a new identity as Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies. 

GUARD offers a national footprint with a growing list of insurance products, including: workers’ compensation, property/liability via a businessowner’s policy, commercial auto, commercial umbrella, professional liability, disability, homeowners, and personal umbrella.

Each of the organization’s insurance companies (AmGUARD, EastGUARD, NorGUARD, and WestGUARD) is rated A+ (“Superior”) by A.M. Best – a leading source of independent rating information on the insurance industry.

Agents interested in learning more should visit guard.com/apply.

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