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Oregon workers comp insurer to pay $120 million in dividends

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More than 47,000 Oregon employers will receive a total dividend of $120 million in October from the state's nonprofit workers compensation insurer.

The board of directors of SAIF Corp. approved the dividend based on the organization's overall financial results, including investment returns and favorable trends in claim costs, the state-chartered workers comp insurer said Wednesday in a statement.

The dividend equals a return of about 23% to 27% of premium that the roughly 47,400 eligible policyholders paid in 2014.

Policyholders in the assigned risk plan, which covers employers unable to secure coverage in the voluntary market because of high claim frequency or severity, credit difficulties, hazardous exposures and other reasons, are ineligible for the dividend. Those whose dividend would be less than $5 will not receive a dividend either, a SAIF spokesman said Thursday.

The largest single dividend SAIF has issued to its policyholders was $165 million in the fall of 2014, the spokesman stated in an email. In 2010, SAIF issued two separate dividends for a total of $200 million.

Since 2010, SAIF has returned $915 million in dividends to its policyholders, according to the spokesman.

“The most important dividend is the one received by workers who aren't suffering the pain and anguish of a workplace injury,” said SAIF President and CEO Kerry Barnett. “Our employers have earned this by making their workplaces safer and reducing the costs of on-the-job injuries.”

“Our goal is to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work, and this is another sign that we're headed in the right direction,” he said.