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Monday, January 25, 2016

Sometimes you just gotta believe

Sometimes you just gotta believe. Some people would claim yesterday's win by the Denver Broncos as miraculous. As the underdogs in everyone's minds except for those that mattered - the players - few really expected the Broncos to beat the favored Mr. Brady and Patriots. Of course, all the hype was about the Manning/Brady showdown but yesterday's game and yesterday's win was so not about the two quarterbacks. With apologies to the pundits, I'm sure Peyton would give 100% credit to the rest of the team and actually believe what he was saying.

Doretha, who I work with in HR, and who is far wiser than I, always proclaims that the Broncos simply need to score 1 more point than whichever team they are facing. And yesterday proved her right once again. Though the final score reflects a two point difference, the game was truly determined by one point - a missed point after attempt in the first half. The rest of the game would revolve around the Patriots trying to recover from that one botched play.

After the game was over and the final agonizing seconds had ticked off the clock a reporter asked one of the Broncos players in the locker room if a week ago he had believed that they would be where they were now - Champions of the AFC and headed for Superbowl 50. Though the reporter clearly expected a different response the player without the least hesitation said that yes, absolutely, without any doubt, he believed they would win the game. And it wasn't just some canned response, some sports metaphor being spouted. It was clear that he, and the rest of the team, truly believed in themselves and in each other and that they could win. And that's the real story about yesterday's game that celebrates a team that never gave up. As another Broncos player put it, every play in a game matters, and you gotta believe that every member of the Patriots organization has now learned that lesson the hard way.

I'm pretty sure the Broncos will again be rated as underdogs going into the big game two weeks from now. And that's probably as it should be. But in the end it doesn't matter. Let the players fight it out on the field  and until proven otherwise, you gotta believe in orange and blue. Congratulations to the 2015 AFC Champion Denver Broncos.

As I get older and realize more and more how little I really know it surprises me the lessons I still need to learn. As simple as it is, sometimes you just gotta believe.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The morning after...

Oh well. I noticed some very droopy faces this morning. They like me had to come to grips with the very sad reality that none of us had picked the winning combination of numbers for last night's record Powerball jackpot of $1,600,000,000. I don't often buy a lottery or Powerball ticket but how can you resist any jackpot with that many zeros in it? So, like you, I arose this morning and dutifully came in to work. Going into the drawing I was feeling cautiously optimistic - my odds were as good as anyone's and at 1 in 292,000,000 how could I lose? Heck, I almost went out ahead of the drawing to Expedia to book my one-way ticket to Bora Bora.

The good news of course is for you and I the world hasn't dramatically changed. Unlike the winners in California, Florida and Tennessee we don't have to deal with the hassle of lining up attorneys, accountants, and bodyguards let alone the headache of having to decide what to do with all those pesky millions.

Opportunities will continue to come our way and we have openings in a number of different areas from medical case management to safety services and information technology. Just yesterday I blogged about our newest opportunity for a Continuous Improvement Coach.

If you know of someone who would be a good fit for any of our positions  please let them know about our openings. And in the spirit of continuous improvement here's hoping that everyone out there continues to hone their number picking techniques ahead of the next record-breaking jackpot!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Continuous Improvement Coach opportunity

Pinnacol uses LEAN methodologies to help continually improve our processes. We are looking for a LEAN professional to join our LEAN team in the role of Continuous Improvement Coach. This role will provide operational and consultative support to improve business performance through process optimization. Will apply LEAN methods and tools to promote continuous improvement, increase operating model consistency, and engage and empower employees with LEAN methods to enhance the value of service provided to customers. This position will also develop metrics to assess lean programs maturity level to ensure progression and will lead problem solving activities to define problems, assess current state root causes, design and test solutions, and implement solutions to ensure desired outcomes. 

A Bachelor’s Degree is strongly preferred although relevant work experience (similar kind of work at a similar level of work as described in the essential duties) may be substituted for the bachelor's degree. Advanced degree preferred. Candidates should bring five years’ relevant technical experience to include process improvement, preferably in an insurance or financial services environment and must have strong research, problem solving, analytic and project management skills along with strong communication and presentation skills.

If this sounds of interest we would love to hear from you! Please express your interest via our company website.

For those of you who may not be familiar with LEAN, which was originally developed by Toyota, the following video gives some sense of what it's all about...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Everyday Wellness program continues to flourish

Barbara and Logan cut the ribbon
on the new Pinnacol Walking Route
This week at Pinnacol saw some exciting additions to our Everyday Wellness program. A new wellness portal called Virgin Pulse was rolled out to all employees and this morning saw the official ribbon cutting on our half mile walking route inside our building. Good timing for all of this because the recent weather hasn't been conducive to much beyond skiing, snowboarding, and shoveling snow.

I jumped the gun and did the walk first thing this morning. With a step counter tracking my every move I actually clocked six tenths of a mile but that's because I got lost (I forgot the map) and also stopped to talk to folks along the way. Our building has four floors and though I think I'm in fairly decent shape the walk still got my attention so it actually will be some real exercise for folks who normally walk only as far as the coffee or copy machine. It's a real challenge for office-bound folks to get the exercise they need during the day and the new offerings from our Everyday Wellness program should help. A special thanks to Barbara, Logan, and the Everyday Wellness team for keeping us motivated and excited. In the meantime, I've got to go as I still have another 8,000 steps to accumulate today...

Friday, January 8, 2016

What better way to start the New Year...

Than with jobs, jobs, jobs. On this not so beautiful, but oh so snowy, Denver morning the Chinese stock market is down but Pinnacol hiring is up. Here are some of the positions we are currently looking to fill in early 2016 (the Year of the Monkey according to the Chinese calendar):

  • Medical Case Managers - we are looking for several Registered Nurses who will work with claims staff and other internal/external stakeholders to bring medical and claims issues of injured workers to an expedient and cost-effective resolution and to provide our Company and our stakeholders with best in class medical case management. A current Colorado nursing license is required and candidates must be willing to attain and maintain case manager certification (CCM) within 3 years of hire. Five years’ experience in nursing strongly preferred.
  • Healthcare Contract Manager - our Medical Operations and Provider Relations team is growing and one of the current opportunities is for an experienced Healthcare professional who will be responsible for contracting, implementation, administration and monitoring of new large system and high volume contracts. This position is accountable for providing a full range of operational support around existing large system contracts with additional focus on re-contracting and collaborative opportunities for lowering claims costs, improving levels of service and the quality of care. Bachelor’s Degree in health care administration, business, or related field strongly preferred although relevant work experience may be substituted for the bachelor's degree.  Minimum of 5-years’ experience in progressive network management including contracting and network administration is required along with proven experience negotiating workers’ compensation or commercial reimbursement contracts with complex hospital systems and large physician groups.
  • Medical Operations Quality Manager - we are looking for an experienced Healthcare or Insurance Manager who will provide direct management of one of our high-performance teams responsible for the overall quality of medical payment services functions. A Bachelor’s Degree in business, healthcare or related field strongly preferred. As mentioned in the position above relevant work experience can be substituted for the bachelor’s degree. A minimum of 8 years’ experience in healthcare, insurance or workers’ compensation is required. Exceptional written, verbal and presentation skills are also required as are exceptional analytical and decision-making skills. A minimum of 2 years formal leadership experience is strongly preferred.
  • Business Assistant Medical Operations & Healthcare Strategy - this is a pretty cool opportunity and new to our organization. The Business Assistant will assist both our Associate Vice President of Medical Operations and our Senior Medical Director in performance of their executive duties, including providing administrative support, project management, marketing/customer issues, internal and external communications to our stakeholders, office management as well as assisting other Medical Operations staff. A minimum of a High School Diploma or GED required and we are looking for folks with at least 3 years of related executive administrative work experience in a high volume environment required. Health care or insurance industry strongly preferred. Advanced PowerPoint and Excel experience is also required.
  • Software Developers - we can't forget our IT shop as we'd be lost without their efforts. We have several opportunities in this area: first we are looking for Oracle Forms\Reports Developers to develop and maintain our internal applications. You’ll collaborate on assignments with a Product Team while working under the guidance of the Application Resource Manager to meet Customer/End User needs. Ideal candidates will have extensive SQL and PL\SQL experience, familiarity with Oracle Forms, Service Oriented Architecture concepts and their implementation, the ability to work within an agile framework, understanding of Insurance or Healthcare systems a plus, the ability to elicit requirements and work with customers, and be able to manage priorities between project work and maintenance. We are also looking for full stack Developers to develop multi-tier application programs that combine web browser, application server, and database functionality, using front-end technologies such as HTML5, XML, Javascript, CSS, and Angular with a Ruby (Rails/API) back-end on Linux-style operating systems. You’ll collaborate on assignments with a Product Team while working under the guidance of the Application Resource Manager to meet Customer/End User needs. Our technical must haves: Extensive SASS/LESS experience, familiarity with CoffeeScript, extensive Ruby experience, comfortable with online testing frameworks, possess an understanding of source control systems (Git), be able to work within an agile framework. Nice to have skills include: experience using RESTful API services.
If some of these positions are of interest to you we would love to hear from you! Please let us know of your interest through

Hopefully the Year of the Monkey (which in the Chinese Calendar actually begins February 8th) will be auspicious for all of us. And if you were born in a Year of the Monkey (1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004) here are some things you might want to be aware of...

Lucky numbers: 4 and 9
Lucky days: the 14th and 28th of any Chinese lunar calendar month
Lucky colors: white, blue, gold
Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, crape-myrtle
Lucky directions: north, northwest, west
Lucky months: Chinese lunar months 8 and 12

Unlucky colors: red, pink
Unlucky numbers: 2 and 7
Unlucky directions: south, southeast
Unlucky months: Chinese lunar months 7 and 11

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pinnacol Earns A- Rating from A.M. Best

Pinnacol Assurance has received an A- (Excellent) rating with a stable outlook from the global credit rating agency A.M. Best. This is the first time Pinnacol has been rated by A.M. Best. Pinnacol received the rating as a result of its appropriate surplus level, substantially improved underwriting and operating performance, and leading position in the Colorado workers’ compensation market. A.M. Best also recognized Pinnacol’s effective claims management and loss control services, and its local expertise.

“This rating is a testament to our financial strength and the diligence of our employees,” said Phil Kalin, Pinnacol’s president and CEO. “It’s a statement to our policyholders and injured workers that we are positioned to fulfill our commitments to them for the long haul.”

Friday, December 18, 2015

Tis The Season To Be Jolly!

Every year we are lucky to have extra jolly employees to spread the holiday cheer at a nearby
Pinnacol carolers ready to sing!
assisted living facility. Our group of Pinnacol carolers entertained the residents at Village at Lowry last week with traditional holiday songs such as "Jingle Bells", "Let it Snow", and "Deck the Halls". The event has been held many years now through our employee run volunteer program called Pinnacol in Action and has become a Pinnacol tradition that many employees look forward to each year. The residents were thrilled to have the seasonal visitors back and participated in the fun by singing along. Their gratitude was felt at the end of the event when many of the residents warmly thanked each singer. On a cold dreary day the warmth and holiday spirit could certainly be felt by both our carolers and the residents.