How to find relief for your WC eligibility headaches

By Sharon Carney September 30, 2013

Take two aspirin and call me in the morning...

Sharon Carney How often have you heard that advice when troubled by an ache or pain?

While aspirin might work for the headache that hits when you’re researching the answer to a complicated workers' compensation question, I have to tell it to you straight — all the aspirin in the world can’t cure the underlying issues.

Every premium auditor knows that workers' compensation eligibility presents a multitude of challenges. The answers to most WC questions can be extraordinarily complex and tangled.

For example, WC eligibility for owners and partners varies from state to state. We all know that classifying across state lines is a problem. How do you make a WC coverage decision for a business that operates in more than one state when each state has different rules?

Here are two questions that might make you feel a twinge:

1. True or False:
Volunteer workers' are included in workers' compensation audits in all jurisdictions. 

2. True or False:
When covered, owners and partners are treated the same as executive officers.

There are also questions surrounding WC eligibility for nonsalaried relatives and volunteers. In those cases, the right answer will vary by state, classification, and particular situation. 

Do you feel a headache coming on?

I believe that at least part of the answer — part of the cure, if you will, for this particular ailment — is offering your staff innovative, high-quality training. Online training is a must for today’s workforce. The flexibility of 24/7 on-demand training allows auditors to fit courses into their workdays as their schedules and workloads permit. And as we all know, the best type of training gives real-world examples — examples you can learn from and apply to your workload daily.

What training topics would you offer your staff members?

Customers are already taking advantage of a series of comprehensive and practical WC and GL courses through PAAS Connect, our interactive, on-demand training tool.

We’re also developing our Technical Corner courses on critical topics, including:

  • Green Technologies: Issues and Answers — Examine classification procedures as they relate to green technologies, including green roofing, wind turbines, solar energy, and alternative fuels production.
  • Payroll Recipe: The Hidden Ingredients — Learn about the different “ingredients” to include and exclude in the payroll you use for premium determination, including expense reimbursements, per diems, overtime, and tips and gratuities.
  • Understanding Legal Entities — Analyze various legal entities, such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and LLCs, among others, and the effect they have on premium audit.
  • Writing the Description of Operations — Review the elements necessary to write a top-shelf description of operations, including interviewing techniques and documentation and observation methods.
  • Building the Intelligent House — Examine the assignment of the proper classification for the manufacture and installation of climate control technology, home entertainment systems, and renewable energy sources.

As we build our e-library of courses, we’d like your input. Contribute to the dialogue by leaving your suggestions below!

And if you’re interested in the answers to the questions in this blog, you can get them in our video preview of a new PAAS Connect course called Workers' Compensation – Partners and Others.


Sharon Carney

Sharon L. Carney is assistant vice president of the Premium Audit Advisory Service (PAAS), a unit of ISO, and has more than 30 years of insurance industry experience.