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Monday, August 24, 2015

Celebrating Colorado's Healthiest Places to Work!

It’s no secret that the best companies tend to attract the best employees and increasingly employees are expecting their employers to be health conscious and to offer amenities tied to a healthy lifestyle. Businesses too are realizing the benefits of being committed  to worksite wellness - studies show that employers who foster a culture of health and safety at work have healthier, happier employees—and healthier bottom lines, too. By creating a work environment that promotes safety, physical activity, healthy habits, and overall wellbeing, companies can benefit from higher employee satisfaction, increased loyalty, improved productivity, and lower health care costs.

Health Links, a nonprofit initiative spearheaded by health and safety experts at the Center for Health, Work and Environment within the Colorado School of Public Health has partnered with the Governor’s Council for Active and Healthy Lifestyles on two new awards in 2015: The Governor’s Award for School Health and Wellness and the Governor’s Award for Worksite Wellness. Health Links’ mission is to simplify how worksite health and safety get done. By doing so, they are helping build healthy, vibrant businesses and a stronger local economy. The Governor’s Council
for Active and Healthy Lifestyles, founded in 1975, is a bipartisan Council  made up of governor-appointed members and volunteers, who promote active and healthy lifestyles statewide. The Council is dedicated to making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.

Last week Pinnacol was recognized as the top employer Champion of Wellness. We were in good company – USAA and Skyridge Medical Center were among the other finalists and kudos to them for their remarkable efforts. Three of our staff happily accepted the award. For more information on what Pinnacol is doing regarding Health and Wellness please click here.
Lorie, Logan, and Paige accept the award on Pinnacol's behalf

If you work for a company that might be interested, Health Links offers a Healthy Business Certification. They also offer a host of free resources to employers looking to start or expand their Health & Wellness programs.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New positions - Utilization Review - now open with Pinnacol

Pinnacol has had Nurse Case Managers on staff for years to help manage the medical aspects of injured workers claims. Traditionally these position have required licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN). We have created some new Utilization Review positions that are open to other types of Nurses including Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Nurse Practitioners (NP). We are also open to considering paraprofessionals with direct experience in utilization review.

These Utilization Review positions will evaluate medical treatment requests received from treating medical providers and provide a timely decision to authorize or deny payment pursuant to Colorado workers’ compensation rules. Knowledge of the Colorado workers’ compensation system and knowledge of the Colorado medical community is needed for these positions. 

If you are interested in exploring these new Utilization Review opportunities we'd love to hear from you! Please express your interest by applying through our company website.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August is flying by...

We had celebrated our company centennial back in July but since August is flying by I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that it actually is in the month of August (August 1st to be precise) that our company first came into being as the State Compensation Insurance Fund when the Colorado Workmen's Compensation Act went into effect (It wasn't changed to Workers' from Workmen's until 1986!). An appropriation of $50,000 from the State allowed the new Fund to get up and running and it was mandated to charge 5% less than private companies offering workmen's compensation insurance and to return dividends to policyholders after 10% had been set aside to build up a reserve fund. The Fund would fall under the umbrella of the State Industrial Commission. The Fund's first manager was Winfield W. Greene who also sat on the Industrial Commission.

The new law provided that after August 1st, 1915 every employer with four or more employees was required to pay injured workers compensation unless they elected before that time not to do so. If they elected not to do so the old remedy of being sued in court would be in force. The Act provided 3 ways by which employers could pay compensation:
  1. Employers could insure their risk with the newly created State Fund
  2. Employers could insure their risk with a private insurance company
  3. If financially able, employers could carry their own risk and be self-insured
These three provisions remain today. 

At a meeting in Colorado Springs several of the largest mining employers in Colorado unanimously agreed to patronize the new State Fund. It was estimated that the metal mining industry alone would see the new Fund covering $5,000,000 in payrolls with the Fund receiving $125,000 in premiums. $5,000,000 in 1915 dollars would equate in today's dollars to approximately $506,000,000.

Not surprisingly, there had been opposition to the new Act and one of the most active opponents of the compensation law had been the Denver School Board, at least in terms of applying the law to school districts. On August 12, 1915 the Denver Times reported that the Denver School District and all other taxing units in the state would be required to comply with the provisions of the new law.

The law provided injured workers one half of their weekly wages up to a maximum of $8 per week with compensation beginning in the fourth week after the injury. Before that time there was coverage for medical care.

There were lofty expectations of the newly passed Colorado Workmen's Compensation Act:
  • It would be a boon to the working men of the State by relieving hundreds, if not thousands, of injury cases which had gone uncompensated
  • It would "bring about a spirit of harmony and cooperation" between employers and employees
  • It would relieve the over-burdened court system and relieve employers from the loss of time and expense of long and sometimes bitter trials
How the Act has lived up to those expectations remains a topic of conversation to this day. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

External Communications Specialist opportunity now open!

Kim, who heads up our Communications team, has let me know that they are looking to add an External Communications Specialist who will be responsible for the planning, development and implementation of strategic communications programs that support the acquisition and retention of policyholders. Activities and projects include developing and overseeing Pinnacol’s online presence, assisting with branding and marketing tactics, management of digital properties and online content development and collateral materials, press releases, social media and videos.

Kim is looking for candidates who bring knowledge of marketing, digital and communications practices including both planning and implementation along with the ability to provide communications counsel to management and employees and to manage customer expectations and negotiate as necessary. You'll also need to possess the ability and skill necessary to persuade, influence, and/or convey a viewpoint. Candidates should have superior writing skills (we will likely ask to see samples) and experience with a wide range of communications vehicles, e.g. websites, social media, print. You’ll need to be able to track and manage multiple projects simultaneously, effectively manage the workload and meet deadlines, have the proven ability to research answers, and have strong computer skills (word processing, spreadsheets, graphic design, presentation software) and knowledge of printing processes, audio, and video productions.

A Bachelor's degree in Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Journalism or related field 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.  Completion of a degree is encouraged and supported and you should have approximately five to seven years of related experience.

If interested, please apply on-line via our company website!

Best Kept Secrets...

This may be the one of the shortest blogs I ever write...

  • Pinnacol Assurance is a workers' compensation insurance company (not auto, health, unemployment or any other type of insurance)
  • Workers' compensation insurance takes care of workers who are injured on the job. It provides coverage for medical expenses and some level of lost time wage compensation
Why is this blog titled "Best Kept Secrets"? To  this day many, if not most, candidates I meet with really know nothing about our company. If I am lucky they know we are an insurance company and they earn extra points if they know it's workers' compensation insurance. And if they know what workers' compensation insurance actually does I feel like I've won the lottery. This is not to lay blame on candidates at all, but it constantly drives home to me that Pinnacol remains one of the best kept secrets in Colorado! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

My First Year with Pinnacol...

Let me introduce myself. My name is Megan and I am a Human Resources Generalist for Pinnacol. I help with the recruiting process and with onboarding our new employees. If you have read previous entries of this blog you may have seen my name or even been lucky enough to see me dressed as a grape on a bike. I have spent most of my career in retail but was fortunate to have joined Pinnacol in July 2014. It was an exciting yet nerve racking change but one decision I am so happy to have made.

During this first year, I have learned so much and have been given opportunities that have allowed me to grow. It all started with my training. I know many candidates and new employees wonder what the training process looks like when they enter a new position, or in my case, a whole new industry. The training gave me great building blocks to learn the company and core duties of my position. We have a great Learning and Organizational Development team who continue to help make the training structured and meaningful. As is the case with almost any job, there are things you also must learn along the way and in those situations my team has been amazing at answering questions and being available when different situations arise. This is also one of the pieces of feedback I always get from new employees: “Everyone is so friendly and helpful!” Pinnacol also gives the resources to continue your learning and development past the first year by providing onsite and offsite classes and seminars.

One question I receive often from candidates is, “What do you like most about Pinnacol?” I have learned this first year that there isn’t necessarily just one thing, but many things that have made this first year special. First, as I mentioned previously, the individuals I work with make coming to work fun. I learn from them every day. Whether it is discussing work-related processes or learning where the best campsites are in Colorado (Thanks David!) I work with some of the most knowledgeable and enjoyable individuals around. This not only goes for our Employee Services team, but I work with managers and team members around the building who continue to show me this is true for all areas of the company. 

I also enjoy the focus around community involvement. With our Pinnacol in Action program, we are given 16 hours to be able to volunteer in the community. This first year I have been able to participate in events such as a mock interview day with local high school students through Goodwill Industries and a Colorado Rockies ability clinic through the National Sports Center for the Disabled.  I also love that Pinnacol enjoys celebrating our accomplishments and having fun. I have attended an Around the World Food Festival, a picnic celebrating our 100 years, an all employee meeting with performers who sang and danced, and countless other events.

This first year has taught me a lot about Pinnacol as a company. It’s a company where you can continue to learn and grow and who not only takes care of its injured workers and policy holders but also its employees and the community which it serves. I am excited to be a part of the Pinnacol family and to see what Pinnacol has in store for me in the upcoming years! 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Risk Management and Insurance Program at CU Denver

We recently met with Barbara from the CU Denver Risk Management and Insurance Program. CU's business school is one of the top ranked business schools and the Risk Management and Insurance Program is one of only a handful of programs dedicated to preparing those interested in risk management and insurance for their careers and I believe it is the only program in Colorado offering the range of options to students that it does. There are undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs offered and we have several Pinnacol employees enrolled.

I often meet with recent graduates and sometimes ask them about what their dream job was while going through college. Many times they tell me they really didn't know what they wanted to do while in school. They often default to majoring in business because they feel this will allow them the most options. I'd encourage anyone in school to check out whether their institution offers risk management and insurance classes and if they do to take a class or two to see if it intrigues them.

When fifth grade teachers ask their students what they want to be when they grow up no one answers "I want to work in insurance!". At that age it's all about being astronauts, rock or sports stars, and the like. The CU Denver RMI website points out that there are more jobs in risk management than qualified people to fill them. Insurance employees in the U.S. are retiring at the rate of about 3,500 annually, while there are just 1,000 annual graduates with risk management degrees from U.S. universities. I think that's simply because people don't think about insurance careers and its sometimes difficult to get meaningful information about what working in this field is like.

Programs like CU's are great ways for students to explore our industry and more often than not they will be amazed at the range of career options working in insurance can offer. Pinnacol is a medium sized company but we offer career paths in everything from Information Technology to Finance, Legal to Marketing and Communications, Nursing to Underwriting and Claims.

Barbara did a nice job presenting the programs offered and if I was back in school I'd definitely be motivated to explore their offerings further! The CU RMI website lists the following ways to contact them for additional details: