How Buying or Selling a Business Can Impact Workers' Comp

If you’re planning to buy an existing business, or sell yours, there are some important steps related to your BWC policy that you need to be aware of.  While the information below is meant to be helpful, it can be confusing and it’s best to reach out to your Third Party Administrator (TPA) or the BWC for guidance.

If you’re selling your business:  you will need to coordinate with the buyer to make sure that all the appropriate forms are completed so that there is no lapse in coverage between the cancellation of your policy and establishment of the new owner’s policy. You’ll also need to make sure the BWC is aware of the sale/acquisition so that the policy experience can be transferred from the predecessor (seller) to the successor (buyer).   If you are only selling a portion of your business, you should not cancel your coverage, but you will need to notify the BWC of the partial sale so they can transfer that portion of your experience to the new owner.   You will also need to complete a True Up within 45 days of notifying the BWC of your coverage cancellation.

If you are purchasing an existing business:  you can learn about the claims experience or any outstanding financial obligations BEFORE acquiring the business by completing a Request for Business Transfer Information (AC-4).  This will give you the opportunity to see the risk you will assume and help with negotiations when moving forward with the acquisition.  You will also need to establish a new policy and coordinate with the seller to notify the BWC of the sale/acquisition so that the BWC can transfer the experience. 

The forms needed are:

Notification of Policy Update (U-117):  this form is used to cancel coverage and should be submitted by the seller (predecessor).  It can also be used to notify the BWC of any changes in business information such as address and contact information.  This can be completed online if you have an e-account.

Application for Ohio BWC Coverage (U-3):  this from is used by the successor/new owner to establish coverage.  This can be completed online through the Ohio BWC website. Once the application is filed along with the $120 application fee, your coverage will be active.

Notification of Business Acquistion/Merger or Purchase/Sale (U-118):   this form is to be completed by both the seller and buyer and connects the policies so that the BWC can complete the experience transfer.  If this is not completed, the BWC still find information about the sale of a business while processing an application for coverage or a request for policy cancellation. It’s best to complete the form so that the BWC has the correct information when processing applications and the appropriate action is taken.

The BWC uses the National Council on Compensation (NCCI) successor methodology to determine whether the experience and transfer of liability are appropriate when an entity undergoes an ownership change. In most cases, the experience will transfer from the predecessor (seller) to the successor (buyer).   Bankruptcy and Receivership are two very specific situations where it is best to reach out to the BWC or your TPA for guidance.

More detailed information and a link to the forms noted above can be found using this link to the BWC


Your 2018 policy year payroll True Up must be completed BEFORE August 15

At the end of each policy year, employers are required to report the actual payroll for the prior policy year in the BWC True Up process.  The BWC system will recalculate premium for the prior policy year based on the actual payroll and determine whether additional premium or credit is due.  This must be completed by August 15.  Failure to report actual payroll for the prior policy year (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019) and pay any additional premium that may be due by the August 15 deadline could result in penalties and disqualification from all group and BWC savings programs for 2 policy years. 

Fore more information about the BWC True Up, please click HERE

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  • Next up: How COSE Helps Me
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  • How COSE Helps Me

    Listen to our members talk about how their COSE membership has helped their business.

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  • Next up: How I Stopped Loathing Networking and Started to Love Kibbitzing
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  • How I Stopped Loathing Networking and Started to Love Kibbitzing

    The problem with networking is that it’s called networking, which doesn’t sound like a fun thing for humans to do. It does sound like a fun thing for computer equipment to do. So I stopped calling it networking and started calling it kibbitzing, which is both more accurate and more species-appropriate. Kibbitzing is what old Jewish men do at the schvitz or the deli, usually about something unimportant.

    After changing its name, I started treating it like a game. I’d go to events and at the end of the night count the number of business cards I had and see if I beat my personal record. I’d play another game where I’d see how long I could go before an awkward silence, or before I started talking about myself or my business. Once I went an hour. It was a proud moment.

    I started paying attention to people who did it better than me. I work with one of those people right now. Let’s call him Jon.

    * Jon fills up his meals and social beverages with meet-ups with clients, potential clients and contacts.

    * Jon studies up on the other person beforehand, then comments during the lunch on things he already knows about them.

    * He also studies up on the restaurant he’s going to. I can’t tell if that’s because he’s a foodie or because he’s preparing for the meeting. I think it’s both.

    * He waits until the end of the meeting to discuss business, if he has any to discuss.

    * When he’s finished with his meeting, he does a recap of what he is going to do for that person when he gets back to the office.

    * Prior to the meeting, he had already asked himself this question: what can I do for this person that will help him/her? If he couldn’t come up with an answer, and sometimes even if he does, Jon asks what he can do to help him/her.

    * When Jon gets back to the office, he does exactly what he told that person he was going to do. He makes it his first priority. He also uses this as an opportunity to send a follow-up e-mail to the other guy and comment on how much he enjoyed the jovial little kibbitz they had.

    And that’s why I no longer loathe networking.

    This is an excerpt from the article found here.

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  • Next up: Techies Wanted: How OEC and Others Are Filling Northeast Ohio’s Tech Gap
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  • Techies Wanted: How OEC and Others Are Filling Northeast Ohio’s Tech Gap

    There’s a good chance you’re reading this article in your office right now, which means you’re taking a break in the midst of email notifications, conference calls, Excel spreadsheets and other technological wonders of the modern office age. Heck, you might even be reading this piece of content on (on your lunch break, we’re sure!)

    There’s a good chance you’re reading this article in your office right now, which means you’re taking a break in the midst of email notifications, conference calls, Excel spreadsheets and other technological wonders of the modern office age. Heck, you might even be reading this piece of content on (on your lunch break, we’re sure!)

    What we’re trying to say here is that in every company, regardless of industry, the technological waters run deep. It doesn’t matter whether the company you work for has its roots in insurance, manufacturing, hospitality, or virtually any other field — technology is at the heart of everything your company does. So, given how critically important technology is for Northeast Ohio companies, the field must be attracting tons of hopeful job applicants looking for a career where there is a lot of opportunity and room for advancement, right?

    Well, not quite.

    Numerous reports point to several available tech jobs available for each applicant who applies. Sources contacted for this report say the talent pool in the region hasn’t necessarily weakened, but does lack the volume of talent needed to match the growing appetite companies have for analysts, network professionals, software engineers and more.

    “There are a lot of very talented technology professionals in Northeast Ohio, but the demand is growing faster than the supply,” says Geo Money, manager of branding and culture at OEC, an award-winning technology-leader and innovator of original equipment parts replacement.

    Anthony Hughes, Tech Elevator’s co-founder and CEO, agrees with Money’s assessment. He adds that the talent pipeline needs to be filled at a much faster pace. “The good news is we have the capabilities here. The bad news is that we don’t have them in nearly enough volume,” he says. “The opportunities ahead for growth and reinvention for this region rely on our workers being able to rise to the challenge and be relevant in the new digital era.”

    And what steps are being taken to help ensure a healthy talent pipeline in the region? Our sources pointed to the following . . .


    Courtney DeOreo with the Regional Information Technology Engagement (RITE) Board says it’s been known for some time that the number of students matriculating through two- and four-year degree programs was not going to be sufficient to fill in the talent gap that exists in IT. This is part of the reason why the RITE Board has gotten involved with so-called “coding camps” that provide programming experience to participants and also puts the young coders in contact with local IT executives. She says the coding camps focus on children in the ninth through 12th grades and are held at seven host institutions around the area.

    “When you peel back the onion, you see that not only is there a supply gap, but a skills gap as well,” she says. “There was an absence of soft skills and of the leadership skills needed for today’s IT roles.”

    In addition to the camps referenced by DeOreo, OEC and other organizations are supporting a number of initiatives to help promote the local tech industry and add to the available pool of workers, Money says. These efforts include:

    • A Tech Roundtable sponsored in August (in conjunction with Crain’s Cleveland Business) to discuss how to promote Northeast Ohio as a tech hub and attract tech workers.
    • OEC’s sponsorship of ProductCamp NEO later this year, which is bringing together product managers from tech companies who can share best practices.
    • The promotion of women and minorities in tech through various events and causes, including a partnership with TechCorp to sponsor its first women-only high school summer coding camp. (For more on women in the tech industry, turn to Page 18 of this issue.)
    • Numerous local and regional tech events, which OEC again takes sponsorship of, such as being the Presenting Sponsor of OHTec’s Tech Week, CodeMash, TechPint, RITE Board’s Get IT Here Summit, Goodyear STEM, the Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing, and more.

    “A vibrant tech industry is a valuable aspect of a region’s business ecosystem,” says Brad Nellis, director of market strategy at Expedient, which delivers technology infrastructure as a service solutions. “Salaries are typically higher, national and global sales models import dollars and tech is cool so it adds to the cachet of the region.”

    Expedient, which delivers technology infrastructure as a service solutions, has also been an active supporter of these and other efforts, including:

    • Sponsorship of events during OHTec’s Tech week.
    • Serving as a participant in an IT career exploration event at Kent State University.
    • Encouragement of their own employees to enhance their career paths via its certification and tuition reimbursement program.


    Education is just one piece of the puzzle. The region has also put together a broad infrastructure, both physical and support-related, for the tech industry that will help accommodate growth. This includes:

    Incubators such as StartMart; guidance for start-ups, such as JumpStart, think[box] and LaunchNET; and venture capital availability from firms such as JumpStart Ventures.

    One clear example of the physical infrastructure that has been laid can be found in the high-speed broadband fiber optic network built by OneCommunity along Cleveland’s Health-Tech Corridor (Euclid Avenue from Playhouse Square to University Circle) that allows any tech company in the area to access high-speed, broadband Internet at a rate of 100 gigabits per second, which would be approximately two and a half times the fastest speed that had been available previously. The million-dollar project includes an investment from the City of Cleveland as well as a grant from the Economic Development Administration.

    “Success breeds success,” Money says. “The more tech companies and tech workers that are here, the more likely it is that some will be successful; as with anything, people like a winner and want to be close to it and emulate it, so the more successful companies we develop, the more we are likely to develop. More successful companies mean a greater need for tech workers. It feeds on itself.”

    The efforts made to focus on the tech industry’s employment needs here are beginning to show tangible results, Nellis says. He points to the awarding of Akron as a White House TechHire City in 2015 as one such result. The designation helps secure grant funding of up to $6 million for training, career guidance and more to train IT workers.


    Still, work remains to be done. One area multiple sources identified is working with potential tech workers who are older than the high schoolers enrolled in the coding camps mentioned earlier. Boosting IT enrollment at local colleges and universities is critical to overturning the shortage, Nellis says.

    Jodi Tims, who chairs the department of mathematics and computer science at Baldwin Wallace University, says she is getting an increasing number of requests to consider tech programming for adult workers. She says there is a big opportunity for universities such as BW to create such programming. Regardless of the form it ends up taking, investment needs to be made at the higher education level, she adds.

    “We’ve made huge strides in the last five to seven years for our kids that want to prepare for a career in this area,” she says. “We can’t drop the ball and say we won’t throw extra resources at this because then the kids will stop coming. That’s exactly the wrong approach.”

    One way this could be done, Money says, is by enacting partnerships between local and state governments and education providers to help close the gap between how schools are preparing students and where the job needs are.

    While there is work still to be done, Money says he is optimistic that Northeast Ohio will get past its tech talent crunch.

    “The last decade has been outstanding for Cleveland and Akron in terms of developing the infrastructure that can sustain the tech industry,” he says. “We’ve laid the groundwork that has enabled a strong tech community from all aspects; an excellent start-up community at one end, excellent growth tech companies in the middle, and a large stable of tech companies at the other end.”

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  • Next up: How Taking Your Team to the Beach Can Drive Your Bottom Line
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  • How Taking Your Team to the Beach Can Drive Your Bottom Line

    Travel opportunities can be a very effective way to incentivize and reward your team. Mind Your Business recently sat down with Karen Puzder of Kinetico Incorporated and Linda Lawson of Achieve Incentives & Meetings (pictured below in Punta Cana) to learn more about the power of travel incentives.

    Profit growth doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a focused, energized and motivated team committed to reaching its targets year after year. High performing companies have been increasingly offering travel incentives to motivate and reward their teams, and they’re seeing dramatic results because of it.     

    In fact, 40 percent of companies have implemented travel incentive programs to meet their goals. Kinetico Incorporated, a water treatment systems manufacturer headquartered here in Northeastern Ohio, is among those companies. Kinetico introduced its program 28 years ago, and has partnered with Achieve Incentives & Meetings to coordinate its trips since its inception. Mind Your Business recently sat down with Karen Puzder of Kinetico Incorporated and Linda Lawson of Achieve Incentives & Meetings to learn more about the power of travel incentives.

    Here is a short excerpt from the interview:

    How do travel incentives work?

    Linda and Karen

    Travel incentive programs are a type of recognition system that reward top performers with a trip-of-a-lifetime. Travel has proven to be one of the most impactful ways to drive profits and performance because people are shown to be more motivated by experiences than any other reward.

    “For a program to be successful, companies must first identify what changes will help their business improve or grow,” shared Lawson. She then went on to say “the next step is to determine the audiences that will be responsible for leading that change, and to structure the trip qualification criteria to motivate the behaviors that will best benefit the bottom line.”

    Hitting a revenue goal is an obvious metric, but these programs don’t have to be limited to just the sales staff. Perhaps improving your front-line teams’ approach to customer service could help you secure new business. Or more efficiently managing your product inventory could save you money. Lawson emphasized that no matter your pain points, an incentive program can be structured to positively impact behaviors that can strengthen your company and improve your profitability.

    Are travel incentives worth the cost?

    The short answer is yes, and then a lot more. Research across the last 20 years shows that travel incentive programs can produce an ROI of 112% [Incentive Research Foundation]. Puzder explains that a well-planned program can pay for itself with increased profits. “At Kinetico, we know that our dealers and their sales teams are reaching for higher targets year after year because of the trip, and this helps to drive our bottom line,” says Puzder. She admits that the company invests in many sales and marketing programs throughout the year, but the incentive program gets a strong return on their dollar.

    What other benefits come with travel incentive programs?

    Another positive result of rewarding your top performers with a trip is that it brings people together in a unique setting. Puzder explained that Kinetico’s trips have paved the way for corporate employees to build meaningful relationships with peers and top executives of the company as well as the trip winners. She highlighted how great it is when their dealers connect on the trips - oftentimes chatting poolside about their best practices in selling Kinetico products. “This kind of informal networking and learning has helped our dealers implement new ways of doing business, which has driven further performance following the trip.”

    For nearly three decades, Puzder and Lawson have traversed the globe together. They have planned trips from Maui, Punta Cana and New Orleans to St. Thomas, Riviera Maya and the Bahamas. They’ve created unforgettable experiences for thousands of Kinetico’s leading dealers and sales and service professionals.  And in turn, those trip winners have become Kinetico’s most loyal, trusted and successful advocates.

    How Can Small Businesses Take Advantage of Travel Incentives?

    Travel incentive programs are very popular among large market companies. However, small companies have historically been unlikely to implement such programs as they have much smaller audiences to motivate, and tighter budgets to allocate. We at COSE have always prioritized our members’ success and want to help our members drive top line growth.

    As such, we are in the beginning stages of considering the potential for a travel rewards program to support you in motivating your teams to achieve their greatest goals.

    We see this as more than just a travel experience. We see this as an opportunity to network and travel with influential leaders from Northeast Ohio small businesses and to foster and build collaborative relationships among your top talent. By pulling our member base together, it is possible that we will be able to access travel incentives at a price not available to smaller companies.

    Is this something you would be interested in learning more about? Send us your thoughts. Based on your feedback, we may invite you to join a discussion about how you can be part of our future COSE Leaders trip.

    About Kinetico Incorporated 

    Founded in 1970, Kinetico Incorporated is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of water treatment systems for the residential, commercial and OEM markets. Recognized for its reliable, economical and sustainable approach to water treatment, Kinetico products are used and recommended by millions of consumers and businesses all over the world.  Kinetico’s passion is to improve lives through better water. Further information is available at

    About Achieve Incentives & Meetings

    Founded in 1952, Achieve Incentives & Meetings is a boutique travel incentive firm headquartered in Westlake, Ohio. Their team of travel specialists, event planners, and motivation experts works alongside companies to create once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.  These trips aim to motivate, reward and celebrate excellence among top performers and valued customers. To learn more about travel incentives and how they drive profits and performance, visit

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  • Next up: How TMS Can Help Your Small Business
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  • How TMS Can Help Your Small Business

    The age of having an affordable transportation management system is upon us. When transportation management systems (TMS) were first introduced to shippers, they were expensive, had to be installed locally on your servers and were challenging to learn. Now, with cloud-based software and customizable offerings, any business can get a TMS that is suitable for them. TMS are no longer just for tier 1 shippers.

    The age of having an affordable transportation management system is upon us.

    When transportation management systems (TMS) were first introduced to shippers, they were expensive, had to be installed locally on your servers and were challenging to learn. Now, with cloud-based software and customizable offerings, any business can get a TMS that is suitable for them. TMS are no longer just for tier 1 shippers.


    The capabilities of a good TMS are vast and can be valuable to a SMB. Just like any technology, the software is always evolving, but behind all of the bells and whistles, the basic functions are the same:

    • Route planning and optimization—You can choose the most efficient modes and routes for your shipments. A TMS can help you find opportunities to streamline your shipping strategies such as using load consolidation. After the shipments go out, you can have up-to-date visibility of your shipments through transit and delivery. Knowing where your freight is can open the lines of communication between you and your customer, creating transparency and reliability.
    • Exchanging information with carriers and generating shipping documents—Most small businesses don’t have a dedicated shipping department, having automated software can be great to keep up with your shipping and freight like a pro. You can easily decrease inflated shipping costs from incorrect commodity freight classification.
    • Freight bill pay auditing and settlement—Cutting down on manual data entry for accounting and expenses by using a TMS can result in a decline of errors. “A shipper can go from paying $11 per freight invoice, all the way down to only 5 to 10% of the $11,” according to Inbound Logistics Magazine.  
    • Analyzing carrier performance and costs—By using an integrated TMS, you can see and understand the effect of your choices by analyzing carrier performance and transportation costs. This information can turn into cost savings and growth for your small business.


    There are a wide variety of transportation management systems in the market to fit every business’ needs. Most companies can cater their software to fit your processes and budget, driving the value up for you. To get started, you can compare companies and software offerings but looking up reviews online

    Many small businesses choose to partner with a 3PL, such as GTS, to handle their shipping and freight needs. Not only do you gain access to their TMS and logistics system, but you also get a team of logistics experts for personalized service and solutions. In addition, you can get access to an assortment of other services to take control of your shipping, including: support to handle pick-up scheduling, tracking, proof of deliveries, claim processing, bills of lading, auditing of freight bills and daily reporting on pricing.

    Are you looking to optimize your supply chain? Visit for an online quote or let GTS build you a custom solution.

    This blog was originally posted at Visit to learn more about how shipping and logistics impact your business.

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