Lawmakers Eye $698M Pinnacol Surplus

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Denver (AP) The state-created workers' compensation insurer, Pinnacol Assurance, has built up a surplus of $698 million - about six times more than regulators require. And lawmakers see its extra money as a way to save Colorado's budget from deep cuts.

But Pinnacol, business groups and lawmakers are at odds over who that money belongs to and whether taking it would hurt companies insured by Pinnacol.

Pinnacol is a hybrid public-private entity set up by the legislature in 2002 to be the workers' compensation insurer of last resort. By law, it can't turn down any company that needs coverage. It doesn't pay state or federal taxes, and its board is appointed by the Governor.

However, the statute that created it says it's not a state agency.

Senate Majority Leader Brandon Shaffer says taking money from the company is a tough choice but the recession leaves the government few options.

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce opposes the move. Spokeswoman Kate Horle says the state shouldn't take money from Pinnacol when the state hasn't laid off or furloughed any workers like the private sector has.

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