Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Testimony on Pinnacol at State Level
As this article from the Denver Post notes there has been testimony from injured workers on their treatment by Pinnacol Assurance, the state's largest workers compensation insurance carrier. Not all is negative but the key point could be that over the past several years Pinnacol had amassed quite a financial surplus. One view is that it did so by denials and reductions of benefits to those injured on the job. Of course another factor is the law changes that took place over the years. Many law changes tightened up on providing benefits. For example, despite the many denials of Social Security disability claims it can accept that you are totally disabled if based on your age, education, work experience/skills and restrictions you are not employable in a substantial gainful way. In Colorado it is tougher to establish permanent total disability. So law changes have played a role in reducing benefits over the past few years. Certainly this rewards all insurers not just Pinnacol. However Pinnacol is the largest so you can expect further proceedings on all this. The fact is insurers have many legal ways to keep benefits low for injured workers. Injured workers with hand, arm or leg injuries are often poorly paid permanent benefits, especially if they lose their trade/occupation. I can provide numerous examples of legal ways that are used to deny, delay and reduce benefits so hopefully all this will be reviewed as well.