Date: 09/04/2009

Public Testimony


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

04:57 PM -- Public Testimony

Mike Pierce testified about his 25 years as an independent agent in northern Colorado and as an independent agency owner. He spoke about Pinnacol Assurance and its predecessor CCIA and how dysfunctional the workers compensation system was 20 years ago. Mr. Pierce talked about CCIA's shift into Pinnacol Assurance. He discussed how Pinnacol Assurance has taught businesses about cost savings they can achieve as a result of having a safe workplace. Mr. Pierce expressed concern about the committee's proceedings and urged the committee not to change what is working.

Senator Carroll asked about the injured worker testimony and Mr. Pierce noted that there are extenuating circumstances in any case. She asked him about privatization to which Mr. Pierce said he is happy with how Pinnacol Assurance works now. Representative Gerou noted that CCIA was poorly run and asked if people who were not paid enough by CCIA should be paid from the state General Fund. Representative Ryden asked about Pinnacol Assurance continuing to do well without current management. Mr. Pierce stated he would be concerned if the vision were not continued by a future CEO. Mr. Johnson discussed the selection process when the board hired Mr. Ross.

05:16 PM

Mr. Ross stated that a number of people share Mr. Pierce's opinion and that Pinnacol Assurance works with employers to prevent accidents and with injured workers to get them back to work. He added that agents do a lot of work with the employees of Pinnacol Assurance.

05:18 PM

Robin Wise, President and CEO of Junior Achievement, testified about her organization and its mission for financial literacy for kids. She talked about how Pinnacol Assurance is active in volunteering for Junior Achievement and donating money to the organization. She mentioned that Pinnacol Assurance is also involved with other nonprofits and the Aurora Chamber. Ms. Wise thanked the Pinnacol Assurance employees who have volunteered. Senator Mitchell thanked her for coming.

05:23 PM

Frank Cavanaugh, a witness who represents respondents and used to do work for Pinnacol Assurance 10 years ago, testified in front of the committee. He said he has seen Pinnacol Assurance go from a dysfunctional entity to better overall claim handling. He explained that ten years ago he saw unreasonable denials from Pinnacol Assurance. Mr. Cavanaugh has worked for insurance companies who try to recruit staff from Pinnacol Assurance and are unable to do so. He disagrees that Pinnacol Assurance is underpaying claims and mentioned that large competitors do not have the same customer service as Pinnacol Assurance.

Representative Ryden asked if they have the optimum business model. Mr. Cavanaugh testified that he would be concerned about privatization. Representative Gerou asked if the state owes the claimants who were not taken care of by CCIA. Mr. Cavanaugh said we have to live in the now because things have improved. Mr. Cavanaugh noted that people need to be educated about the system.

05:37 PM

The committee adjourned.