Blog Feed from IAASE Conferences

2019 IAASE Annual Conference

Theme: Lunch and Learn

October 06, 2019 – October 08, 2019
Charlotte, NC

This year we were lucky enough to have 58 registered attendees and 9 terrific speakers. Our board members have prepared summaries of a number of the presentations and several of the presenters have graciously agreed to share their presentations with us in print format.

North Carolina Rating Bureau and Their Role in the Industry

Speakers: Natasha Sumter, Worker’s Compensation Regulatory Manager and Jarred Chappell, Director of Workers’ Compensation Operations

Summary prepared by: Keith West, Wilkinson Insurance Services, President IAASE

It was great to have both Natasha Sumter and Jarred Chappell from NCRB as speakers at the IAASE conference.  They introduced us to the role of NCRB in the industry.  There are three (3) separate organizations under one umbrella, as discussed below.

North Carolina Reinsurance Facility (NCRF) is a reinsurance pool for risks that have difficulty obtaining coverage elsewhere.  Premiums, losses and expenses shared by member companies in proportion to their NC auto liability writings.

North Carolina Insurance Guaranty Association (NCIGA) was established to facilitate payment of claims from insolvent carriers to avoid financial loss to claimants and Policyholders, using funds from assessments of solvent members and special deposits on file with the NC Department of Insurance.  The NCIGA covers auto, workers compensation and other P & C coverage. 

North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) is an independent bureau in partnership with all insurance companies doing business in North Carolina.  They align closely with NCCI on most of the rules and classifications.  For classification purposes, they use the NCRB Manual, NCCI Scopes Manual, NCCI Basic Manual, classification surveys, and physical inspections.  It was noted that there were 93 disputes filed in 2018 and only 57 disputes as of 8/31/19.  The majority of disputes revolve around classification, premium audit and experience mods. 

NCRB is responsible for over $14 billion market premiums in NC.  There are 783 member companies and 550 WC members.  For WC purposes, NCRB is collecting policy and statistical data, handling experience rating mods, handling risk classification, doing physical inspections, handling disputes, preparing loss cost filings, compiling assigned risk filings, handling forms and endorsements, etc. 

Managing Remote Employees

Speaker: Shawn Powers, Wilkinson Insurance Services

Summary prepared by: Keith West, Wilkinson Insurance Services, President IAASE

Shawn is an Area VP and has been with WIS for more than 13 years.  His session focused on hiring, developing, and managing a remote workforce.  From the hiring process, he touched on the benefits of having remote employees, evaluating resumes, and interviewing candidates.  Under the development of remote employees, he spoke about office training, initial and follow up field training.  He focuses on never looking away, as his success depended on it!   Key factors include making sure everyone is on the same page, keeping the lines of communication open, tracking production weekly, understanding that everyone is different and management style need to be fluid to accommodate each individual, seeing warning signs, etc. 

Key Take-Aways:

  • Communication
  • Lead by example
  • Be firm but fair
  • Seeing things from the remote worker’s perspective
  • Continuously seek improvement

Premium Audit Considerations of a New Insurance Company

Speaker: Paul Halter, Cimarron Insurance

Summary prepared by: Ashika Weekes, Travelers Insurance, Secretary, IAASE

Origins of the New Insurance Company – Cimarron Insurance

  • Formed in 1947 in Cimarron, Kansas for crop coverage.  Sat dormant until November 30, 2017 until purchased by Paul Halter. 
  • Originally idea was for a specialty lines carrier which was not immediately successful as the Department of Insurance has to approve any new product line which takes months (up to a year). Cimarron continued to work their new product lines with the DOI and began writing small/medium business.
  • Cimarron’s business model is to maintain in house underwriting operations and outsource the remaining services.

A New Insurance Carrier Views on Premium Audit

  • Immediate bottom line cost to insurance company is the cost of getting a premium audit department. After factoring people and systems this could be very expensive. So the idea of outsourcing the functions of audit are more cost effective.
  • The outsourced team would be responsible for advising which accounts needed to be audited and what type audits should be performed.
  • The outsourced team of premium audit would be a representative of Cimarron; charged with fully represent Cimarron to the insured and present a valued audit to all stakeholders involved.

How does your audit affect a new company like Cimarron?

  • The audit is the first in depth look at the combination of the payroll, the operations and the financials so the auditor is a key factor in deciding if this new company has charged the correct premium for this account and it’s subsequent success. So a complete accurate audit that paints a full picture.
  • Since the auditor is the first representative of Cimarron the insured may in meet in person they are expected to not only supply a good audit product but deliver great customer service. The audit product is the eyes and ears for the underwriting team to alert them of incorrect payroll operations.  The audit is the documentation to the claims team to advise if the persons on the loss runs were actual employees at the time of the incident and any notations from the insured about the loss runs. The audit is the proof to the accounting team the insureds financials seem to be in good order.  Lastly the audit/auditor is the line of communication from the insured to the insurance carrier to affirm that the insureds needs are being met by Cimarron.

As a new small insurance carrier Cimarron is adamant about charging the correct premiums based on the exposures and paying claims for any injured workers immediately. A partnership with a great premium audit company and their team is the way that a new insurance company confirms this happens. The audit company keeps the Cimarron abreast of new situations as they arise and helps the company maintain the accuracy of premiums.

Premium Fraud: Tools to help in the fight

Speaker: Eric Jones, Summit Holdings

Summary prepared by: Dean Hare, Summit Holdings, Treasurer IAASE

Eric Jones, AVP of Premium Audit at Summit Consulting Inc., presented “Tools to Help in the Fight” at the IAASE Charlotte, NC conference. The presentation discussed ways that companies and employees could help to prevent, detect and verify premium fraud. The presentation examined the required elements that constitute fraud, opportunities were premium fraud could be committed, new ways companies can hide premium (example cash apps) and red flags for auditors to look for that could help to detect premium fraud. The presentation also looked at some best practices carriers could implement internally and externally to help detect and prevent premium fraud. In conclusion, the presentation, reiterated ways to help train staff to detect fraud, building internal and external relationships and sharing information could help in preventing future premium fraud.

Making QuickBooks Work for You

Speaker: Lisa Mäki, Elite Premium Auditor, EXL Services, Past President IAASE and Newsletter Editor Columns and Rows

Summary prepared by: Phillip Nance, Board member IAASE

Lisa Mäki, gave a presentation on various QuickBooks tips and helpful reports. The presentation was designed to helpr the premium auditor assist the insured in making our jobs easier to facilitate the audit process. She covered how to run and compare payroll summaries, earnings records and workers’ comp reports, that could assist in determining employee wages, including all pieces (overtime, severance, Sec 125, etc.).   She also discussed general ledger, trial balance, profit & loss and other accounting reports that are helpful with locating subcontracted labor and revenue totals in various formats.

Lisa also explained different file formats, such as .csv, .pdf, .xls and .qbw files that could be sent to auditors and how to convert files to excel workbooks to allow the creation of pivot tables.  The data can then be sorted and totaled faster than standard paper reports. She also touched on how to use the Audit Trail report.

Lisa had a question and answer session in which she covered tips and tricks to assist with setting up memorized reports to help ensure the next audit will be easier for the insured to prepare for. These tips and report information will help audits go much faster and more accurately for the auditor; while also being easier to prepare for and less daunting for the insured.

What’s New at NCCI?

Speaker: Dennis Kokulak, Director of State Filings and Chairman of the Underwriting Committee, National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI)

Summary prepared by: Lisa Mäki, EXL Services, Board Member IAASE

As NCCI’s Director of State Filings, Dennis Kokulak oversees the development of more than 300 national and state specific filings made each year with state insurance departments. These filings propose changes to the workers compensation rules, classifications, rating programs and policy forms.

The Compensation Categories Under Review:

  • Deferred Compensation: 401(k) programs, pensions, profit sharing
  • Incentive Compensation: Stock options, restricted stock units, phantom stock
  • Employee Benefit Plans: Cafeteria plans, Davis Bacon wage agreements
  • Additional Compensation Items: Retroactive pay, severance pay, tips and service charges
  • Expenses and Allowances: Housing/lodging, meals, travel wages
  • Miscellaneous: Guaranteed wage, idle time pay, hazard pay

Per Diem Exception to Payroll Inclusion Rule:

When it can be verified that the employee was away from home overnight on the business of the employer, but the employer did not maintain verifiable receipts for incurred expenses, a reasonable expense allowance is permitted to be excluded. The allowance is limited to a maximum of $75 per day. The remaining non-verifiable expenses are included as payroll.

Remaining Planned 2019 National Classification Filing Topics:

  • Social Services Organizations
  • Oil and Gas Operations
  • Building Materials Dealers
  • Construction Sales and On-Site Estimators
  • Low Credibility Codes

Current Research Topics – 2019

Classification Research:

  • Museums
  • Hazardous Materials Remediation
  • Day Spa Operations
  • Veterinary Operations- Clerical Employees
  • Cell Towers
  • Wholesale/Retail Operations

Professional Sports Teams- “Bonus” Payments

Construction Challenges

Speaker: Sally Nesmith, Technical Manager of Education, PAAS

Brief Summary prepared by: Lisa Mäki, EXL Services, Board Member IAASE

Sally dug deep into the assignment of construction related classifications for both workers compensation and general liability. The group explored the differences between the classification assignment requirements for both lines of coverage. There was some lively discussion regarding differing points of view between PAAS and NCRB, which was also a presenter.

Because of all the nuances in construction classifications, the group participated in a through FAQ session that is related exclusively to construction and construction related classifications. Those who brought their “A” game to compete with others on their knowledge of construction, won candy prizes.

For those of you who were unable to attend the conference, we missed you!

Please make an effort to try to attend next year.

Stay tuned for information on the location and dates of the 2020 conference coming soon.

2018 IAASE Annual Conference & Career Expo

October 07, 2018 – October 09, 2018
Columbia, SC

Please be patient, older articles are still a work in progress!

If you have inquires about previous conferences, please contact the Columns and Rows Editor using the link at bottom of this page or the Home page.

Excel Tips

Speaker: Keith West, Senior VP of Operations, Wilkinson Insurance Services, President IAASE

Summary prepared by: Dan King, Senior Premium Audit Field Manager, Summit Holdings, Regional SE VP NSIPA

In Oct 2018, the IAASE conference attendees received some great Excel tips at the annual conference in in Columbia, SC. Don’t worry, if you were not able to attend this on-site training, our IAASE members only website section has 29 pages of detailed examples of some of the most common application that we use in our premium audit profession.

Keith West, Senior VP of Operations of Wilkinson Insurance Services, Inc. was the facilitator of this year’s Excel training session and covered eleven of the most applicable Excel functions for the premium auditor. Below is a snapshot of the items covered and what can be found in detail at the IAASE website.

Thank you Keith for compiling this valuable Excel information and also serving as the 18-19 president of the Insurance Auditors Association of the Southeast!

SORT – this function is used to sort data within a given range.

SUM – this function is used to obtain numeric totals for data within a given range.

FLASH FILL – this function is used to change the paste result of a list to fit the results unique to a related cell (or cells) located adjacent the data being filled.

FILL SERIES – this function is used to change a copy result to a specific “series” of data as chosen.

PROPER – this function is used to change the case of an alpha field from all uppercase to sentence case, for purposes such as the name field.

CONCATENATE – this function is used to combine two or more cells of data into one.

FILTERS – this function is used to filter specific data from a worksheet.

TRANSPOSE – this function is used to flip specific data from a worksheet between Rows and Columns.

TEXT TO COLUMNS – this function is used to extract multiple sets of data from a single cell into multiple cells.

PIVOT TABLES – this function is used to easily extra specific data and summarize using various parameters.

VLOOKUP – this function is used to find common data between two different worksheets and return results from that common data.


  • Shift + Space (highlights entire row)
  • Ctrl + Space (highlights entire column)
  • END + “directional arrows” (moves cursor along the entire string of data to the end)
  • Shift + END + “directional arrows” (highlights the entire string of data to the end)
  • Ctrl C (copy)
  • Ctrl V (paste)
  • Ctrl Z (undo)
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