Workers' Compensation Earthquake Surety Bonds Explorer Auto
ICW Group provides Workers' Compensation, Earthquake, Surety, and Auto insurance.

Premium Audit FAQ's

Payroll, Wages & Classifications

Mail Audits

Physical (On-Site) Audits

Reports, Fees, Billing


What payroll is to be reported as Workers' Compensation Payroll?

The payroll included should be the Gross Payroll, adjusted using the inclusions and exclusions outlined on Reporting Guidelines & State Exceptions. Many states have exceptions to the rules.

How can an Audit save me money?

Here are just a few examples of how our services can help you save money:

Your premium was estimated based on the payroll figures and classifications supplied to our underwriting department when your policy was issued. In today's economy, your payroll may have fluctuated since that time and your premiums may be based on inaccurate data. An audit can get you back on track and potentially reduce your premium costs.

We can also assist you with record-keeping strategies to identify deductions such as (depending on your state law): itemizing overtime, dismissal and severance pay, unanticipated bonuses, etc.

We can help you determine the best payroll classification for your employees, as well as show you how to keep detailed records of their hours and wages to ensure accurate payroll is charged; which can amount to a significant savings.

What is excess or premium overtime?

It is the portion of the overtime pay that is over and above the employee's normal hourly wage. For example: If an employee works 10 hours of time-and-a-half overtime and his normal pay is $10.00/hr, then the 10 hours overtime he/she is paid would be paid at $15.00/hr. The premium or excess portion is the additional $5.00/hr the employee was paid, times the 10 hours.

A simple way to calculate the excess portion for time and a half overtime is to divide the gross overtime paid by 3. This rule does not apply in NV.

I have officers included on this policy; can I limit their payroll when reporting?

Yes, you can limit their payroll annually or monthly / quarterly / semi-annually. See Officers & Partners Annual Minimum / Maximum Payrolls.

How do I know if officers are included or excluded?

Your policy was written according to instructions we received through your agent. If officers are excluded from coverage, there will be an endorsement attached to the policy showing that they are excluded. If you are not sure, please call your insurance agent, or Contact us for assistance.

Can I deduct the employees' contribution to the cafeteria 125 plan?

This amount can be excluded for the state of California only. All other states should include this amount.

Can I divide an employee's payroll between different classifications?

If the employee can be classified under two or more class codes that allow for payroll division, the payroll can be divided. It is imperative that proper records are kept for this division to be allowed (for example: time cards, or a log that records an employees' hours for their various job duties).

Important Note: No payroll division is allowed for clerical and outside sales employees. Other class codes exist that do not allow for payroll division. Check with your insurance agent or Contact us for further clarification.

**If you are a Contractor in California, please reference the time card requirements explained in Notice to Dual Wage Contractors: California Time Record Requirements.

What if I want to add a new operation or need to add another class?

The class codes and locations appearing on your payroll report are the ones that your policy was issued with. If you have a new operation or a new class code, please be sure to contact your insurance agency with this information. Your agent / broker will notify our underwriting department regarding the change(s).

If you are unable to reach your agency before your payroll report is due, please add to the bottom of your report (under the current class codes). Make sure to include your phone number on the bottom of the report so that we can call you with any questions

These steps will ensure that the billing of premium is done timely and accurately.

What if I don’t have time card segregation at final audit for the auditor?

If you want an employee’s payroll divided between more than one classification, and you don’t have the proper time card information available for the auditor, all of that employee’s payroll will be put under the classification with the highest rate.

If you are a California Contractor with dual wage classifications on your policy, and you do not have the proper time card records available, the auditor will place all of the payroll into the lower wage/higher rated classification. Please reference Notice to Dual Wage Contractors: California Time Record Requirements.

What is a Mail Audit?

This means that that we'll mail the necessary forms to your company along with instructions on how to complete them. You'll supply information regarding your payroll, subcontractors, etc.

Why do I need a Mail Audit?

Your premiums are based on the payroll estimates and classifications you provided prior to the inception of your policy. At the end of the policy term (or at another specified time during the policy term), we're required to review your actual payroll / classifications and make adjustments. To do this, we mail you an audit form for you to complete. We use this information to determine your new premium.

What happens if I don’t send back the completed mail audit?

We will estimate your premiums, which could result in you paying much more than your original premium. Providing us a completed mail audit allows us to appropriately adjust your premiums, which can mean a substantial cost savings.

Where do I mail the completed audit form?

Once you've completed the report, please forward back to us via US Mail, email or FAX (see Contact us).

What is a Physical Audit?

A physical audit is an audit conducted on-site at your company. We will examine your records to determine the correct exposure, or risk. This may include: payroll records, journals, tax reports, individual earnings cards, cash disbursements, etc. The various operations of your company may be observed to help better categorized risk classes.

Why do I need a Physical Audit?

A physical audit may be conducted due to premium size or other special considerations, such as the amount of time since an on-site audit was conducted, cross classification job changes, etc.

What will I need to have available for my physical audit?

You'll need to have your payroll journal/records, summaries, 941s, or SUI's. In addition, someone that can assist the auditor in understanding your operations and the various departments within your operation should be available.

How do I know if payroll reports are required for my policy?

Payroll reporting is just one of the ways your policy could be set up. If you have questions regarding your policy, please contact your insurance agent, or Contact us.

Why do I have to fill out a payroll report if I am paying monthly installments?

The premium on your policy was estimated based on the payroll figures supplied to our underwriting department upon policy issuance. The report you are completing is called a "check audit". We are using it to ensure that your actual payroll figures are in line with your estimated payroll figures.

When is my payroll report due?

Payroll reports are due 15 days after the end of your audit period. For example: If your audit period is 7/1/06 to 7/31/06, your report is due to us by 8/15/06. If we do not receive your report by this date, we will forward you a second request, or overdue notice. Please Contact our office if you have any timing issues, as we may be able to assist you or extend your deadline.

Where do I send the completed report?

Once you've completed the report, please forward back to us via US Mail, email or FAX (see Contact us).

Can I report my payroll on line?

Currently you are not able to report on line; however, it is forthcoming. Your report can be returned to us via US Mail, fax or email ( Please use one of these forms:

See Contact us for our FAX number and contact information if you wish to discuss with one of our customer service representatives.

How will I be billed?

Once we've received your completed the report, we will calculate your premium and forward you an invoice. The bill will be mailed to you and/or your agent depending on your policy.

What if I made a mistake on a previous report?

Please send us (fax, mail, email) the revised payroll amounts. (See Contact us.) You may reuse your copy of the payroll report or use the billing invoice to make the changes. Please make sure you write the word "REVISED" on this document.

If you don't have these items available, feel free to submit your changes on your company letterhead or memo. Please sign and date your correspondence. Be sure to include your phone number as well; this will ensure that we can contact you if we have any questions.

Why don't your reports show the rates so that we can calculate our premium?

Our current reports do not include the rates. We take care of the calculations for you. We can provide you with all the rates/factors if you'd like. Please call our office if you have any concerns about this.

How do I report payroll for a Waiver of Subrogation?

If you have one or more waivers of subrogation issued on your policy, the payrolls earned on those jobs need to be reported separately. There is a line on our report form for you to record any payroll issued for your waiver(s). The payrolls earned for the waiver job(s) will be verified at final audit.

Why am I charged fees? What are they for?

The State of California enacted the following five programs to create a more effectual workers' compensation system:

  • CIGA California Insurance Guarantee Association (1969)
  • WCA Workers' Compensation Administration Revolving Fund (1989)
  • WCFA Workers' Compensation Fraud Assessment (1992)
  • UEBT Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (2003)
  • SIBT Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund (2003)

According to the law, all California insurance carriers must participate in these programs and are required to collect a statutory surcharge from their policyholders.

What is TRIA? Do I have to pay this fee?

TRIA, or the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, is a federal law created to provide reinsurance coverage to insurance companies following a declared event of terrorism. The act states that participation by property and casualty insurers is mandatory and it needs to be applied to all policies.

Who can I call or email if I still have questions?

Please see Contact us to call or email our Premium Audit Department, and we will be glad to answer all of your questions.

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