Colorado’s Pinnacol Weighed Purchase of Other Insurers

Documents show a state-chartered workers compensation insurer in Colorado once planned to seek permission to buy other insurance companies but later backed off.

The Denver Post reported Wednesday that Pinnacol Assurance dropped the plan after business groups recommended no changes in laws governing the company.

The Post used open-records laws to obtain a copy of Pinnacol’s planned public announcement of the proposed changes.

In the announcement, Pinnacol recommended “taking out the language (in law) that Pinnacol shall not acquire or control any other insurer.”

The announcement said Pinnacol would continue to be the workers compensation insurer of last resort in Colorado, providing coverage to the hard-to-insure.

Under the proposal, the governor would appoint a majority of Pinnacol’s board, instead of all nine members as he does now.

Pinnacol came under the scrutiny of lawmakers this year because of its multimillion-dollar surplus. During hearings, some workers claimed they were unfairly denied payment for medical care.

The company has denied wrongdoing.

Lawmakers have proposed bills to revamp Pinnacol’s board, ban employee bonuses for denying claims and impose penalties for improperly denying or delaying medical treatment.

Other lawmakers have proposed fully privatizing Pinnacol.