Pay-As-You-Go Work Comp

Payroll and Workers’ Compensation Integration

Pay-As-You-Go work comp integrates work comp premium payment with a companies payroll. For companies with limited HR and employee benefits needs, an integrated payroll and work comp solution can be a simple, cost effective solution. With a pay-as-you-go payroll service, your company is billed for workers compensation insurance premium that is calculated on each payroll cycle. While that has long been a standard practice (and advantage) of using a PEO, using a PEO has traditionally required the client to use the workers compensation policy of the PEO. What if you want to use your own workers’ comp policy but still for work comp with each payroll period? That is where a pay-as-you-go payroll solution may be a better option.

Paying for Work Comp and Payroll Together – Why it makes sense

The Old Way to Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In the days before PEOs, obtaining a workers’ compensation insurance policy required the business owner to:

  • Make a substantial financial down payment
  • Correctly anticipate the number of employees for the coming year and
  • Correctly anticipate the types of work to be performed and estimate the amount of work to be performed in work comp code (type of work) and then estimate the amount of payroll dollars to be spent on each type of work.
  • Make quarterly premium payments

Once these estimates were made, the policy would be written and the premiums payments would based on these assumptions. At the end of the year (or end of the policy term) an audit would be conducted to determine if the estimates were accurate. Adjustments would be made and the client would be either billed for additional premium or refunded overpaid premium.

For businesses that are relatively static in terms of growth, this model was adequate although inefficient. However for other businesses this method created several problems:

  • Businesses that were downsizing, this method often resulted in overpayment during the policy period.
  • Businesses that were growing would be underpaid and an end of year audit would result in an unexpected additional premium payment, sometimes a substantial amount.
  • Business that were adding new types of work (different work comp codes) found that they needed to constantly go to the carrier to ensure that the type of work being added was allowable under their policy.

The New Way to Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance

The Pay-As-You-Go work comp model assigns workers comp codes (work risk type) for each worker and automatically bills your company for only the coverage your company needs - during the time you need it. No more, no less. Premium amounts are precisely calculated on each payroll for the exact amount owed. No more down payments to get a policy in place. No more estimates of payroll and no more end-of-year audits and associated surprise expenses. Payroll cash flow consistency is maintained.

Insurance Carriers like it too

Many of the nations’ top workers’ compensation insurance carriers are moving aggressively to partner with payroll service providers and ASO companies. In order to keep their clients they are offering Pay-As-You-Go work comp coverage that duplicates the way PEOs have done it for years. The Pay-As-You-Go model eliminates the overhead associated with end of year audits and inhering inaccuracy of estimating premiums. In addition, carriers have realized that work comp fraud is a significant problem and cost to their bottom line. Pay-As-You-Go ensures the carrier that they cannot hit for medical expenses for anyone who was not on the payroll. Someone who got hurt last month, cannot make a work comp claim if they were just hired last week. Carriers also like the fact that this makes it difficult for insured clients to intentionally misclassify the work comp codes (risk type) of the jobs being performed.

Is Pay-As-You-Go Work Comp More Expensive?

Work Comp Rates for pay-as-you-go coverage are in general the same price as a standard policy. As with a standard policy, the risk types covered are defined up front and an agreed upon rate is established for each type of work. Types of work performed that are not defined on the policy will not be covered unless the carrier has agreed. While a PEO may offer lower rates for certain types of business, it is anticipated that the increased efficiencies for the carrier of pay-as-you-go policies may translate into lower costs that get shared with their client companies.

How is Pay-As-You-Go Work Comp different that using a PEO

Using a PEO Using Pay-As-You-Go Work Comp
Work Comp Policy
Held by PEO in the PEOs name. For contractors, certifications are issued by the PEO in the clients name.
Client has their own work comp policy.
Tax withholding and remittance
Done by PEO under their FEIN
Clients responsibility under their FEIN
Employment related Regulatory compliance (I9s, etc)
Done by PEO
Done by Client

Using a Pay-As-You-Go payroll work comp solution only provides a portion of the advantages of using a PEO and leaves the client company with significant administrative tasks and employment related risks. However, for some companies in high risk businesses like cell phone tower construction or roofing, there may be limited PEO options available and there may be a standard market work comp carrier who would write the policy, In those cases Pay-As-You-Go work comp coverage may be a be an option. In other cases, a company may have internal staff to handle the administrative tasks typically performed by a PEO and be looking for a less expensive alternative to hiring a PEO.

Things to Consider

Most companies doing their payroll “in house” are reluctant to change software since there is always a learning curve with something new. BUT the good news is that many of the most widely used payroll software packages in use today, have built an interface to the major insurance carriers and can transit payroll data used for work comp premium billing directly to the carrier or agency. Once established, it’s automatic.

Finding a Pay-As-You-Go workers' compensation insurance solution for your company

If your company is using a national service like ADP, and you like the ADP payroll service, contact them and ask about what insurance carriers they offer in a Pay-As-You-Go model. If you believe there may be better or more cost effective work comp coverage available that is not supported by them, contact StaffMarket. We can help you review all the options for finding a payroll service that offers pay-as-you-go work comp programs that will be a good fit your company. In addition, if your current insurance agent has not offered a pay-as-you-go option, contact StaffMarket. Our database of solution providers can help you target integrated payroll software and insurance solutions that make life easier and more cost effective!

Pay as you go workers' compensation insurance makes sense. Get quotes now.