A handy resource that brokers and advisers can use to guide their employer clients through the process of a Department of Labor audit includes critical new information they may find valuable.

United Benefit Advisors has revised “Don’t Roll the Dice on Department of Labor Audits” to help producers prepare for the process. Additions focus on acclimating staff, providing regulators with what they need and recognizing the most important elements of complying with requests. In addition, a section on avoiding seven common mistakes that could trigger an audit in the first place is being touted as particularly significant.

“UBA’s original white paper was written specifically as a starting point to help employers prepare for a DOL audit,” according to Les McPhearson, CEO of UBA. “These revisions have further enhanced the value of this document and made it as up-to-date as possible. DOL audits should not be taken lightly, but with proper planning and preparation they can be manageable.”

Top priority
A DOL audit is so significant, he says, that once a company is embroiled in the process it should be their top priority. “It’s important for brokers to communicate that message to the company, and help them balance their obligation to be fair and transparent with protection against being wrongfully flagged,” he observes.

From what he’s seeing in the market, McPhearson says it’s not a matter of if an audit will occur, but when. Jeff Hadden of UBA partner LHD Benefit Advisors, reports that a dozen of his clients received DOL audits of their group health plans in the past 20 years. Of those audits, nine endured the process in just the past two years.

“That’s a significant increase and an indication that more audits are likely to come from the DOL,” believes McPhearson, who notes that the new information was formulated with the help of audit patterns being examined across partner firms

The resource could be revised again if warranted, he says. “We’ll be watching a few other key areas that pertain to audits, specifically due diligence with ‘wrap documents’ as well as overall ERISA compliance,” according to McPhearson.

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