April 15 2009, 11:39 AM
Before considering a proposal to take hundreds of millions of dollars from a quasi-governmental fund that is meant to guarantee worker's compensation insurance in Colorado, state lawmakers "grilled" Pinnacol Assurance officials about six-figure compensation packages earned by nine top execs, according to The Denver Post. "It's almost like we've created an AIG, but there's no oversight in terms of shareholders," says Representative Jack Pommer, the Boulder Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, which approved Senate Bill 281 in a 9-3 vote. The measure clarifies that Pinnacol is part of the state government and should not operate as a private insurance company--a move seen as a precursor to a coming panel vote to take $500 million from Pinnacol in order to plug a big hole in the state budget. Governor Bill Ritter has taken no public position on the idea, but Mark Simon, who is disabled, has. He says it took two acts of legislation and a Supreme Court ruling before he received his first claim from Pinnacol, writes theÂ Denver Business Journal. Meanwhile, Pinnacol's chief executive, Ken Ross, tellsÂ News 13 in Colorado Springs that the company keeps large reserves in case of a tragic event, such as a tornado, which could result in mass numbers of worker's comp claims.