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Colorado Senate Panel Advances 5 Pinnacol Bills; Surveillance Measure Stalls

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A quintet of bills aimed at making Colorado workers’-compensation insurer Pinnacol Assurance more accountable to the state and the public rolled on in the Legislature late Wednesday, though a particularly divisive bill on surveillance of supposedly injured workers stalled temporarily while its sponsor cleans up some issues with its language, The Denver Business Journal reports. The Senate Judiciary Committee, at the end of a seven-hour hearing, approved five of the seven bills suggested this summer by an interim committee studying Pinnacol, sending them to the Senate floor.

In other coverage:

The Denver Post (editorial): In the end, Pinnacol Assurance never proved that the deal being brokered with the governor’s office was anything more than a cash for autonomy exchange. As tempting as the big-money offer from Pinnacol was in these tough economic times, Colorado lawmakers were right to take a pass on it this legislative session. Would the $330 million deal create a better environment for Pinnacol’s thousands of policyholders? Would it benefit future businesses that sought Pinnacol’s help? No one could say for sure.

Associated Press: Colorado lawmakers have begun debate on a package of tough reforms for Colorado’s workers compensation program after injured workers told lawmakers they were spied upon and had benefits denied. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved several bills, including a measure that would change the makeup of the board of directors of Pinnacol Assurance, the state-chartered insurance company. Lawmakers added a doctor and an injured worker to the nine-member board to prevent abuses.

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