As I have often written in the past, it's a rare day at my office that we don't get a phone call or email about a Workers Comp "Shock Audit" from some employer, somewhere in the U.S. Today I got two.
The first one, this morning, was from a small biz in New York. This gentleman operates an import/export type logistics business. He insured his business through the New York State Insurance Fund, and bought a policy for only a few hundred dollars, as he was the only worker at his company. Or so he thought.
He called me because he now has a "Shock Audit" from SIF for $50,000. He's not absolutely sure how SIF managed this bit of legerdemain but it appears to involve him being charged for when he hired independent trucking companies to move some goods and he didn't get Certificates of Insurance from them.
I think we can likely help him straighten this out, once we get all the documents and paperwork from him regarding this Shock Audit. Most of these trucking companies didn't even operate in New York State, so it does make one wonder how an insurer that only insures an employer's New York liabilities is charging premium for those trucking companies. My initial impression is that there is a very good chance we can help reduce this audit bill substantially.
The second call I got today, though, is even more extreme. The call was from a non-profit agency in Georgia, an agency that helps Hispanic businesses. The Shock Audit involves a small roofer who bought a policy for around $1,000 and now has an audit bill of $600,000.00.
Yeah, that's not a typo. The non-profit is going to serve as a translator tomorrow, as the small business owner isn't fluent in English. Interestingly, the non-profit person who called me said this is far from the only such case they've seen like this. It appears these Shock Audits have been clobbering an awful lot of small businesses.
As Harry Bosch put it, you have to follow the facts. So I can't yet say what the odds are of helping this second Shock Audit. But based on other, similar cases I've seen in recent years, I have some expectations of what might have happened. We'll find out tomorrow if my theories hold water or if the insurer found some new and innovative ways to turn a $1,000 policy into a $600,000 audit bill.
I only know this. If there are errors in these audits, we will find and reverse them. Because that's what we do.