Gov. to consider Pinnacol restructuring

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A task force will examine the options to restructure Pinnacol Assurance, the state’s workers’ compensation insurance provider.

Gov. John Hickenlooper asked the agency to provide options for the future, and the company suggested becoming a private company.

Under current law, it is a quasi-public organization with oversight by the legislature.

“One of our chief concerns is making sure injured workers are protected,” Hickenlooper said. “It’s also important the policy holders and the state of Colorado benefit from any changes.”

A stakeholder group of 19 people will examine the plan and decide if the proposal affects Pinnacol’s policy holders, employees and workers; the business plan going forward and what the company is offering to compensate the public for prior support. The group will also consider a model for providing compensation in the form of a public-purpose fund that follows a precedent established in 1998 when the Blue Cross Blue Shield system was sold to Anthem and portion of the proceeds were used to fund the Caring for Colorado Foundation.

The key points of Pinnacol’s proposal:

Pinnacol will transition to a mutual insurance holding company, clearly defining policyholder ownership interest.

Pinnacol will continue to serve as the State’s insurer of last resort.

Pinnacol will continue to focus on providing workers’ compensation insurance so its expertise would not be diluted.

Pinnacol will become a member of the Colorado Guaranty Insurance Association providing additional assurance that injured workers and their families receive their benefits in the event Pinnacol is unable to pay benefits.

Subject to the approval of policyholders, Pinnacol will consider supporting certain limited changes to the Colorado workers’ compensation system that would be applicable to all insurance carriers.

Pinnacol will become a tax-paying entity similar to other insurance companies operating in Colorado.

Pinnacol will still be headquartered in Colorado, resulting in job growth as Pinnacol expands its scope of operations and provides workers’ compensation insurance on a regional basis.

Pinnacol will issue convertible preferred stock to the yet-to-be established heritage funds with a fixed annual cumulative dividend creating economic development and educational opportunities for the people of Colorado.