Pinnacol Makes Case to NFIB Members for Separating from State

Date: March 10, 2021

CEO Phil Kalin calls it a matter of adapting to new realities if the company is to survive

Right now, things are going well for Pinnacol Assurance and its policyholders. But how much longer can it continue?

“Pinnacol has had many good years,” said CEO Phil Kalin in an exclusive conference call with NFIB Colorado members. “We’re paying dividends, we’re lowering rates, we’re a strong company. But, we’ve seen, to spite all the positives, a slightly shrinking market share.”

The plight of Pinnacol and its future well-being is no small matter for small business. More than 80% of NFIB Colorado members have their workers’ compensation insurance policies with Pinnacol, which is also the workers’ compensation insurer of last resort in the state.

Two things need to change, however, said Kalin, if Pinnacol is to continue to serve its customers well: It needs to sell other lines of insurance, and it needs to sell its product out of state as well. In order to do that, Pinnacol would like to remove itself as a political subdivision of the state of Colorado and turn itself into a private mutual assurance company.

“To be only able to do one thing in one place is not a good business model,” said Kalin. “The world is changing way too fast to be in a situation where you don’t have the kind of flexibility to meet the customers where they are.”

Pinnacol, according to Kalin, needs not only to sell workers’ compensation, but also other lines of insurance, to meet the demands of a growing workforce of gig employees and independent contractors, and to meet the desire of employers wanting to buy all their lines of insurance from one company. If Pinnacol is prohibited from adapting, it could see its current 56% market share in workers’ compensation insurance shrink to 25% by 2030, with commensurate rate increases and less coverage.

The current legislative proposal for giving Pinnacol Assurance its divesture from the state is House Bill 21-1213.

For the first 25 minutes of the 52-minute video below, Kalin explains in detail what Pinnacol is seeking, what will change and not change, and answers some of the concerns expressed over the separation from the state. For the remainder of the video, he and his associates answer questions.

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