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Pinnacol Assurance delays restructuring pending further review


DENVER—A plan to privatize Pinnacol Assurance has stalled following questions about the proposal from the insurer's stakeholders, including employers.

The plan, submitted by Denver-based Pinnacol in November, would restructure Colorado's workers compensation insurer of last resort into a mutual insurer. The company currently is classified as a state "political subdivision."

In a letter to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday, Pinnacol executives said the insurer is considering issues raised by stakeholders about the privatization, adding that it does not "want to rush the process."

"Many of the company's stakeholders have posed important questions about the impact of restructuring, and we want to work with them to answer those questions before proceeding," said John Plotkin, vice chairman of Pinnacol, in the letter. "We believe this course of action is in everyone's best interests and agree that no legislation should be introduced during the current legislative session."

During a meeting this week, a task force appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper offered feedback on Pinnacol’s plan. The group—which includes policyholders, labor representatives, agents and public interest groups—was expected to hold an advisory vote on the privatization proposal but did not do so.

Task force members who spoke with Business Insurance said the group voiced various concerns and questions about Pinnacol’s plan, such as whether Pinnacol's board of directors should include governor-appointed members after the proposed privatization.

In a statement Thursday, Gov. Hickenlooper said he supported Pinnacol’s decision to review its plan.

“We agree with Pinnacol that additional time is needed to fully explore the proposal,” said Gov. Hickenlooper, who supported the proposal. “Clearly, there is more work to do. We look forward to continuing the conversations about restructuring in the coming weeks and months. Our priority remains doing what’s best for injured workers, policyholders and the people of Colorado.”