Don’t privatize Pinnacol

News reports from Denver indicate Gov. Bill Ritter is discussing with an investment banking firm the possibility of selling the state’s workers’ compensation insurer, Pinnacol Assurance, to help with the state budget. This, even though a bipartisan legislative committee recommended against the sale.

Pinnacol has $2 billion in assets. But selling it would amount to a one-time budget fix that could hurt Colorado businesses and their employees for many years to come.

The predecessor to Pinnacol was chartered by the state more than 90 years ago to ensure that businesses could obtain workers’ compensation insurance for employees injured on the job. It is still the insurer of last resort for many businesses — especially small businesses — around the state.

If Pinnacol were made private, it is uncertain that the state could guarantee it would always be there for small businesses, even if such a clause was written into the sales contract. Some future board of directors of the company might decide that serving Colorado small businesses was no longer in Pinnacol’s interest.

Gov. Ritter should drop the privatization discussions before they go further.


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