Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s largest workers’ compensation insurer, announced that its board of directors has named Kenneth J. Ross as Pinnacol’s new president and CEO. Ross will succeed Gary Pon, who recently announced his retirement after 20 years as Pinnacol’s chief executive. Ross will assume his new role in early September.
Ross comes from the New York State Insurance Fund – the largest workers’ comp insurance provider in New York. He spent 10 years in executive roles at NYSIF, the last five as the organization’s executive director and CEO. Ross joined NYSIF in 1995 as deputy executive director and chief operating officer. Like Pinnacol, NYSIF has undergone a significant a financial and customer-service turnaround in recent years.
Ross’s leadership capabilities were put to the test in the wake of Sept. 11, just three months after his appointment as NYSIF’s CEO. Located seven blocks from the World Trade Center, NYSIF’s Lower Manhattan headquarters were non-operational for three weeks after the terrorist attacks. Ross sent teams into the field to search for missing NYSIF employees and redeployed staff to offices around the state to avoid any disruption of service to policyholders or injured workers.
In 2003, the New York Claim Association honored Ross with its “Man of the Year” award for leadership following September 11 and for the humanitarian and professional standards he brings to the industry. The American Society of Workers’ Compensation Professionals presented Ross with its Legends Award in 2004, citing his wealth of knowledge and outstanding leadership skills. In 2006, Ross will become president of the American Association of State Compensation Insurance Funds, the primary trade association for state-affiliated workers’ comp insurers.
Before joining NYSIF, Ross spent nine years as a defense attorney, specializing in commercial insurance and real estate litigation. Before that, he was director of operations for New York City’s Criminal Justice Agency.
To ensure continuity and a smooth transition for employees and other stakeholders, Ross and outgoing CEO Gary Pon will work together closely for a brief period before Pon officially retires.
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