Monday, June 13, 2005


New BWC magazine - Real or satire?

What if the Onion did a special issue about BWC?

It might start off with fascinating column by (former) BWC administrator Jim Conrad telling readers that the agency's "investment portfolio is not only profitable, but cutting edge."
After receiving proposals from managers, BWC uses a combination of appropriate internal staff and external consultants to make preliminary selections. Before BWC can do business with any investment manager, the firm must be approved by the independent Workers' Compensation Oversight Commission.

The investment manager selection is purposely arduous and goes well beyond what's required by law; in fact, BWC could privately invite managers in and provide funding without publicizing the opportunity. Instead, such an exhaustive process provides transparency and allows the Ohio State Insurance Fund to be comprised of innovative and diverse managers.
The Onion staff might also include a fancy center-spread story allowing BWC flack Jeremy Jackson to further strut the agency's stuff:
Because of BWC's cutting-edge techniques and calculated risk-taking, Ohio has become a national leader in workers' compensation.

[. . .]

Because the law did not require a public, formal selection process, conventional wisdom suggested that most [state investment funds] would work privately with potential managers behind close doors.

Yet BWC chose to do otherwise.

[. . .]

This pioneering approach led to the creation of arguably one of the most meticulous, thorough investment manager selection processes of any institutional fund. Instead of privately awarding contracts, BWC chose to:
  • Publish a request-for-proposal and advertise it in major industry publications;

  • Install specific components for successfully completing a proposal, which includes disclosure of investment performance and manager expertise among other elements (all of which are public record);

  • Use a combination of internal staff and a nationally recognized external consultant to determine which managers best mirror BWC's investment objectives;

  • Focus on finding and funding Ohio-qualified emerging, and minority-based managers and brokers by establishing guidelines in its investment policy outlining goals for doing business with these groups.
Additionally, with the reform of BWC's operations in the mid-1990s, came an independent Workers' Compensation Oversight Commission. Comprised of five voting members from business and labor, including the president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, it's task was [sic] to oversee BWC's financial and investment policies. This includes approval of all investment managers, which means BWC could not give one dollar to an investment firm until approved by the oversight commission.

[. . .]

All of BWC's successes, including its investments, are the results of original, inventive decisions that have modernized the bureau's operation.
And, if we are really lucky, the Onion staff might throw in a few knowlegeable observations from Ohio's crackerjack business leaders:
"BWC's investment Strategy coupled with astute professional management has been an asset to Ohio's business community." - Andy Doehrel, president of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce

"Because of their investment performance, BWC has cemented its reputation as a national leader in workers' compensation." - Eric Burkland, president of the Ohio Manufacturer's Association.
But, hey, who needs the Onion when BWC can put such barbed humor together themselves.

(Thanks go to friends who sent us these articles from the Summer 2005 edition of BWC's slick magazine, the Workers' Comp Quarterly. My how these fucking blowhards must wish that rag never went to press.)

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