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Workers Comp Call or Email – #1 for 2017 Is No Surprise


Most Popular Workers Comp Call or Email We Received in 2017

The Workers Comp call or email we received most in 2017 actually came from Risk Managers or business owners.

old dyna workers comp call phone
Wikimedia Public License – Redrum0486

The company had a premium audit coming up in the next few weeks or days.  Some of the calls or emails came in when the premium auditor was onsite for the yearly premium audit.

The employer works with subcontractors and was concerned that the IRS Form 1099 subcontractors were going to be counted as workers..  The premium auditor had often informed the Risk Manager or business owner that even though the subcontractor had their own policy, they were still going to count them as employees.  (Wow, what?)

The employer had provided Certificates of Insurance (certs) for all subcontractors to the premium auditor.  Why would the subcontractors then be counted as employees?   One of the red flags in this situation is if the premium auditor says all subcontractors are to be counted as employees, not just certain ones.

Why would the premium auditor do this if they have a cert if front of them?  The answer is Ghost Policies.   A ghost policy comes from a business owner that buys a policy for just themselves and then excepts (removes themselves) as the business owner from the policy.  Some states have ruled these policies are fine.  Most do not allow them.

We receive at least one call per week or more from a small contractor looking for a ghost policy.   We are not agents so we tell them to check with their local agent that has procured policies for them in the past.   Experienced workers comp premium auditors can see ghost policies from a mile away.

We recently (since July) had received a number of calls where the premium auditor would not accept any certs.  That is not necessarily correct unless all the certs you have are ghost polices.   The now-defunct Jim Walter Homes had a way to take care of certs that were unique and were a win-win-win for the insurance carrier, employer, and subcontractor.

An additional recommendation comes from dealing with expired or questionable certs.   The article in this link contains a method to combat having expired certs that takes just a few minutes of an employer’s time.

If you want to know who is a subcontractor and who is an employee, the article at this link covers it very well.

My final recommendation is to be aware of the Ladder of Insurance where you may be insuring workers that your company may not even be aware they are your employees.

One wonders what will be the most popular subject for the 2018 Workers Comp call or email.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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