Date: 08/14/2009

Policyholder Perspectives


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

03:47 PM -- Policyholder Perspectives

Mr. John Berry, representing the Workers Compensation Coalition, testified along with 2 members of the board of the coalition. He noted the effect of worker safety programs on the frequency of injuries. Sonia Gunther described her role as an insurance agent in the workers compensation system. She also discussed the effort that goes into getting injured workers back to work. Chad Mathis, board member and technical advisor, spoke to the committee about Pinnacol's coverage for small and medium businesses, and the fact that Pinnacol offers training for workplace safety to these employers. (Attachment J)

Attachment J.pdf

04:04 PM

Mr. Simon asked about employers that don't know they have any other option besides Pinnacol. He also asked whether SB 91-218 reduced benefits to injured workers. Mr. Berry replied that he did not believe SB 218 reduced benefits. Rep. Gerou asked about specific training activities by Pinnacol related to workplace safety. Sen. Carroll asked about the range of commissions paid to agents. Ms. Gunther responded that she thought commissions generally ranged between 8 - 15%. She also noted that the level of commissions differed by product and type of risk, and whether the business was new or old. Mr. Berry closed with a request that the committee recommend no changes to Pinnacol.

04:17 PM --
Tony Gagliardi, representing the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), spoke on behalf of NFIB's 7,500 members, 70% of which are Pinnacol policyholders. He noted the 42% decrease in premiums over the last 5 years and the recent dividends paid to policyholders. He read comments that were submitted to him from member businesses. Rep. Pace asked whether NFIB would support Pinnacol holding a smaller surplus if it meant lower premiums for members. Mr. Gagliardi responded that he would support lower premiums, as long as it did not affect Pinnacol's solvency.

04:25 PM --
Rick Reubelt, Director of Safety for Haselden Construction, LLC, spoke to the committee about his company's projects and the importance of having a large local company like Pinnacol handling their workers compensation insurance. He responded to questions from the committee about Pinnacol training programs, trends in worker safety, and the value of dividends.

04:40 PM --
Gail Lindley, representing Denver Book Binding, testified on the extent to which her company had paid into either the state fund or Pinnacol. She stated her opposition to the state attempting to take money that was paid by policyholders. She talked about safety meetings, which are usually held after an accident has happened, and the proactive efforts by Pinnacol to improve worker safety. Mr. Simon asked whether workers compensation costs were passed along to consumers. Ms. Lindley responded that competition prevented companies from passing all such costs along to consumers.

04:46 PM --
Pam King, representing the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Northern Colorado and Wyoming, testified on her partnership with Pinnacol to offer workplace safety training to BBB members. Participants include 350 employers paying $7M in premiums for workers compensation. Dr. Parry asked about the process for handling complaints from business partners. Ms. King replied that complaints are a large component of all that the BBB does.

04:56 PM --
Bruce Immele, a safety coordinator representing Leanin Tree in Boulder, testified on the benefits his company has experienced with Pinnacol. Senator Mitchell asked about Mr. Immele's biggest complaint. Mr. Immele replied that Pinnacol's problems are in the past, and included both the level of service and the price paid for that service.

05:02 PM --
Dede de Percin, Executive Director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, testified to difficulties she and her employees have experienced with Pinnacol.

05:08 PM --
Lonzo Vann, representing himself, testified on injuries he sustained at work and his view that workplace safety efforts were severely lacking. (Attachment K)

Attachment K.pdf

05:19 PM --
Joan Zivick, representing AAA of Colorado, testified to the positive experience with Pinnacol of her organization and her employees who have been claimants in workers compensation interactions. (Attachment L)

Attachment L.pdf

05:22 PM --
Jack Davis testified on the challenges in insuring a small business in a field that has inherent dangers in the workplace. In his case, the workplace dangers related to the use of chemicals.

05:26 PM --
Judy Nalou, representing Medved Autoplex, testified on her positive experiences with Pinnacol, especially the level of service, the dividends, and the longevity of Pinnacol employees.

05:28 PM

The committee adjourned.