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GCN : August 2015
sary preliminary data, and workers and companies were unaware of the penalties associated with coverage fraud. The solution was GDAC. The Web- based system, which went live in April 2014, enables and encourages agencies to share valuable data in order to tackle statewide problems like the ones related to workers' compensation. The Industrial Commission refers to its GDAC-based solution as the Non- compliant Employer Tracking System (NETS). The secure Web-based application was built using an SAS Fraud Framework. Authorized users can access data collected from multiple state sources to support the generation of leads for investigation. Strickland said some 600 employers who lacked workers' compensation cov- erage before the system was imple- mented now have that coverage, and the commission has collected nearly $1 million in civil penalties from 101 misdemeanor charges. Because of GDAC, the commission can use data from the Division of Employment Security, for example, to determine how many employees a company has. Data from the North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) is sent directly into the commission's network and then to SAS for analysis. SAS sends that analyzed data to the com- mission to show whether or not those employees have coverage. For example, if an employer is shown to have three employees but NCRB information does not indicate that the company has workers' com- pensation coverage for them, the sys- tem generates an alert for possible noncompliance. The commission can also tap into the North Carolina secretary of state's information. Because companies are required to submit annual reports to the secretary of state, that office has the most up-to-date information on those companies. However, officials had some secu- rity concerns about NCRB data. For instance, if insurance companies could see what rates their competitors were offering, they might try to steal clients by underbidding. Given the sensitive information in- volved, the state chose to keep GDAC on a private network, Strickland said. The system is accessible only by autho- rized government personnel. Cleaner data also plays a major role in fraud detection. Although some companies might have the required insurance, for example, their carriers might have poorly updated systems. That causes the commission to waste valuable time and money sending let- ters of violation to companies that do indeed have coverage. The Industrial Commission now takes that information to NCRB per- sonnel, who contact carriers to enforce and stress the importance of updated information. Although the core NETS and GDAC databases are accessible only by au- thorized government personnel, some information is made public on the Industrial Commission's website. So homeowners, for example, can con- firm that their roofing contractor has appropriate insurance coverage. "Before we even started this system, who knows how reliable that data even was?" Strickland said. "The data that the Rate Bureau is putting out and that the public has access to is ac- tually better data now." Sharing data likewise opened doors for the contributing agencies. The in- formation the Industrial Commission retrieves from NCRB is also made available to the Division of Employ- ment Security, which allows officials to identify companies that have work- ers' compensation coverage but are not paying any un- employment ben- efits, for example. The agency can then contact the employer to resolve the issue. Furthermore, it is against the law to willfully fail to carry worker's com- pensation insur- ance. Certain law enforcement officers who use GDAC can sort data geo- graphically by industry-heavy areas and proactively conduct sweeps and enforcement operations. That approach has increased aware- ness and led to the number of criminal charges jumping from 18 last year to 101 for the year ending June 30, ac- cording to Strickland. Before the NETS system, the com- mission generally closed about 400 cases a year. Since GCAC launched in April 2014, the agency has closed more than 2,300 cases, Strickland said. The Industrial Commission is now looking into misclassification of em- ployee data to determine whether some employees are actually indepen- dent contractors. The agency is also working with the Department of In- surance to incorporate data into NETS and hopes to bring the Department of Revenue into the GDAC system soon. • "We've never really been proactive about going out and trying to make sure folks have coverage before an employee gets injured." -- BRYAN STRICKLAND, INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION GCN AUGUST 2015 • GCN.COM 27