Colorado’s Pinnacol Assurance Issues Refund

April 21, 2005

Pinnacol Assurance, the state’s top provider of workers’ compensation insurance, plans to refund $55 million to employers across Colorado.

The refunds reflect better safety, higher investment returns and more efficient operations, said Gary Pon, chief executive of the quasi-governmental agency.

“We are working hard to operate our business efficiently and to do everything we can to help our customers maintain a safe workplace,” he said April 18. “The dividend means that things are going well.”

Of Pinnacol’s 58,000 policyholders, 55,000 will receive a check. The last time Pinnacol provided a dividend was in 1982, Pon said.

Workers’ comp plans usually provide payments for medical treatment, temporary and permanent incapacity, and retraining and rehabilitation. A decade ago, Pinnacol was struggling with a $500 million deficit.

“In the 1980s, they were an awful company,” said Rick Jenkins, an agent with Flood & Peterson Insurance Inc. “Today, they are a very, very good insurance company.”

Pinnacol has built up a $300 million reserve.

Sunny Side Inc./Temp Side in Denver expects to collect a $2,000 refund after experiencing a decline in claims. “We will invest it back into the business,” said Bob Grabowski, vice president of finance and administration for the employment firm.

Steve Adams, president of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said the dividend suggests it’s time for a change. Colorado has some of the lowest compensation premiums in the country, and the time has come to increase benefits capped in 1989, Adams said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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