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Colorado governor calls for privatization of state workers comp insurer Pinnacol


DENVER—Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called for the privatization of Pinnacol Assurance during his State of the State address Thursday, saying the proposed move could support state businesses and schools.

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

Pinnacol's separation plan would create two public-purpose heritage funds for economic development and education in Colorado, which were referenced by Gov. Hickenlooper in Thursday's address.

"As many of you know, we have been thoughtfully exploring the potential benefit to businesses, injured workers and the state of Colorado from the separation of Pinnacol Assurance from the state. Done properly, and with the support of policyholders, a restructuring of Pinnacol could provide Colorado with a security interest that has the potential of funding economic development and higher education scholarships," Gov. Hickenlooper said, according to a transcript of the speech.

A task force was appointed by the governor in November to consider whether Pinnacol's state ties should be severed. The task force consists of 19 members, including policyholders, labor representatives, agents and public interest groups.

"We look forward to sharing our recommendation with you before we move forward with a specific legislative request," the governor said of the task force in Thursday's speech.