Pinnacol Board to Oppose Colorado Bills

November 13, 2009

The board of directors of Colorado’s Pinnacol Assurance voted Thursday to oppose many of the bills proposed by a legislative committee last month.

The proposed bills, which have not yet been introduced into the state legislature, are designed to reform Pinnacol and came after hearings on the function and practices of Pinnacol.

The board voted to opposed five of the proposed bills. But it also voted to support two bills. Those bills relate to informing injured workers and making workers’ compensation insurers more accountable to state insurance officials.

The bills opposed include one that would limit Pinnacol’s reserves, one that would double penalties for wrongful denial of claims, and one that would prohibit insurers from giving bonuses to employees for denying claims.

In a statement, board chair Gary Johnson said Pinnacol was against the bills on substantive grounds and because they impinged on the entire industry, which was beyond the authority of the committee.

“These bills have the potential to drive up workers’ compensation costs in Colorado and others are redundant, as well as an inappropriate intrusion of the legislature into the operations of a company that, by statute, is directed to operate as a mutual insurance company,” he said.

He also called a bill that would require that the executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment a “back door attempt to make Pinnacol a state agency by imposing a public testimony provision.”

He said public stakeholders already have access to Pinnacol board members and that Pinnacol’s board is subject to open meeting laws.

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