Audit Magnifying Glass

Conducting A Premium Audit On Your Business

The Premium Audit Process: What to Expect and How to Prepare

For many business owners, an audit ranks in the same category as a root canal. However, in the world of workers’ compensation, premium audits are routine, and relatively quick and painless.

Your workers’ compensation policy premium is based on estimates you provided at the time of application. At the end of your annual policy period, a final premium audit is conducted to determine that you paid the appropriate amount for your workers’ compensation insurance.

Final premium audit is based on actual payroll, operations and job classifications. Your insurance carrier will determine the best method to conduct your final premium audit based on the size and complexity of your business. Depending on your particular circumstances, there are a handful of ways a premium audit may be conducted:

  • Online Premium Audit — EMPLOYERS offers its policyholders the convenient option of completing their workers' compensation premium audit online
  • Remote Physicial Audit — Business owners complete a form with the necessary information and return it to their insurance carrier.
  • Phone – Business owners complete a form with the necessary information and return it to their insurance carrier. An auditor will then conduct a brief telephone interview to complete the process.
  • Remote physical — An auditor will request business documents and then conduct a telephone interview to complete the audit.
  • On-site physical — An auditor will make an appointment for an on-site visit to conduct the audit at your business. She may also observe your business operations to better confirm classification for each job function.

Below are four common questions business owners ask about the premium audit process.

    1. How do I prepare for my audit? The most important step is to have the appropriate records organized and available for your auditor. Your advance preparation will help the auditor quickly find what he needs, which means less time and questions for you.  
    2. What information is requested in the audit? Premium audits seek to confirm that both the business and its employees are correctly classified. For example, if you own a restaurant, there are business classification differences based on whether you have wait service, fast food or delivery. The same is true for employees. Different job functions have different classification codes that affect the amount you pay to insure them. Some common records you will need to provide during your audit are:  
      • Payroll journals/ registers
      • Employers Quarterly Federal Tax Return Form 941 or 943 reports
      • State Employer’s Quarterly Unemployment Insurance Tax Reports
      • Federal 1099, W2, and W3 transmittals
      • Overtime wages summarized by classification
      • List of clerical employees and duties
      • Contractor/ subcontractor records

If you have subcontractors working for you, always ask them to provide a current Certificate of Insurance. Keep this on file and provide it to your auditor as it could help avoid possible additional premium charges.

  1. What are the penalties for noncompliance? As part of the insuring agreement between you and your insurance carrier, you agree to participate in a final premium audit. Many states permit or require surcharges for non-compliance. Failure to cooperate in an audit may also result in the cancellation of your workers’ compensation insurance policy.
  2. How long does the audit process take? Your insurance company will begin the audit process upon policy expiration. Most audits are completed within 90 days of your policy expiration. Promptly providing the requested supporting documents to your insurer may expedite the process. Your insurer will provide an explanation of your audit results.

Your business staffing and payroll can fluctuate for many reasons. An annual premium audit is the best way to make sure you are paying the correct amount for your insurance coverage. For more information on premium audits, check out our premium audit infographic, contact your agent or email us at And we promise, you can forego the anesthesia.


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