Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s workers’ compensation insurer of last resort, is again under fire for what many consider unethical practices. Last year, we reported how the company was under fire for how it set its rates.
The quasi-governmental entity settled its differences with the Colorado workers’ compensation agency before any hearing took place. Earlier in the year, state auditors found records that led many to claim luxury trips for executives at Pinnacol “border on abuse.”
But a new spate of allegations involving the insurer – specifically how it paid well over $300,000 for a golf junket at a luxury resort in California – is drawing fire from lawmakers at the capitol.
Many of the charges made seem quite excessive to many lawmakers and observers. Receipts obtained after a six-month court battle show Pinnacol employees, relatives and independent agents spent over $53,000 in golf and spa charges, over $21,000 in liquor and around $5000 for a photographer for example.
Besides these charges, investigative reporters from Channel 7 in Denver discovered Pinnacol spent anywhere from $725 to $1400 a night for 27 rooms along with $82,000 for catering. There were also over $8000 in charges for tours not to mention a nearly $20,000 dinner bill for dinner last May 15th.
In light of these allegations, Senate President Brandan Schaffer is calling for the resignation of Pinnacol CEO Ken Ross as well as 3 board members who participated in the trips. Schaffer says these individuals can no longer provide proper oversight of the insurer.
“I think the right thing here is for the business community needs to gather round Ken Ross and get him to gracefully step aside,” Shaffer said. “If that doesn’t happen we will see what the next step may be.”
Governor Ritter, who appoints Pinnacol’s board, issued a statement last Thursday saying the trip showed poor judgment.
Pinnacol has also been criticized in the past for denying claims and spying on claimants.
While this situation shouldn’t affect any workers’ comp claims directly, we like to keep on top of what’s going on with the Colorado’s largest workers’ compensation insurer.