Colorado Lawmakers Hold Pinnacol Hearing

September 1, 2009

Colorado lawmakers heard from injured workers about their experiences with workers’ compensation on Monday.

They gave testimony that the Denver Daily News called “horror” stories and “heart-wrenching testimony.”

Monday’s session is part of a series of meetings by an interim committee of the Legislature to look into Pinnacol Assurance, a state-chartered workers compensation insurer.

Lawmakers say they want to make sure employers are paying the lowest premiums practical.

Lawmakers say they also want to make sure injured workers are getting the care and benefits they need to get back to work, and that Pinnacol is stable and solvent.

Pinnacol is the state’s workers’ compensation insurer of last resort. It came under scrutiny this year because of its huge reserves, which now stand at $580 million.

In May, Pinnacol issued dividend checks totaling about $120 million to policyholders.

Also, earlier in the year Colorado lawmakers attempted to take $500 million from quasi-governmental agency to close a state budget shortfall. The current hearings are the result of a bill passed when that plan was abandoned.

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