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Monday, April 19, 2010

Alumni Spotlight: Joan Bruxvoort

Doretha Jones, our intrepid HR reporter, had a chance recently to catch up with one of our Alumni, Joan Bruxvoort. Joan started with Pinnacol Assurance in 1995 as a claims representative reporting to Debra Sue Scott and then she worked for Amy Newton. She remained in the claims role until she retired in 2005. Prior to joining Pinnacol, Joan worked for Waste Management. She enjoyed learning about workers’ compensation and claims’ processing at Pinnacol since this was a new experience for her. Joan has thoroughly enjoyed working with the different teams and the opportunity to meet new business directors and co-workers. A few of the teams that she has helped as a returning alum include BMS, BLP, BLS, BMW, SSO, SAC, and the State team. Joan likes to help the teams whenever she is requested. Her knowledge of claims continues to expand through the various assignments. Joan was one of the top participants in the Alumni Program temporary pool and all the teams have greatly appreciated her assistance.

Joan and her husband Gregg purchased a new home in the Fall of 2009. She was excited to move closer into Conifer again. Initially when she retired, they moved to a smaller home in Bailey. They enjoy the mountains. She has been working on several projects around the house including expanding their master bedroom's closet, adding an office adjacent to the kitchen, staining the cabinets, and putting in a matching countertop and painting.

She has 2 children, Scott and Kallie, and 3 grandchildren. All live in Denver. Joan and Gregg have 2 dogs,  Annie and Cole, a black and a yellow Labrador.

A couple of times a year, Joan and her husband ride the jeep trails in Moab. In Joan’s spare time, she enjoys reading and she sells Mary Kay. On occasion, she helps a friend with administrative duties in her business. She looks forward to visiting her brother in Tucson the end of April where she plans to play golf and relax.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Should the next "Apprentice" be a two year old?

I have to admit that I am an occasional fan of "The Apprentice" on NBC. This year's group of celebrities includes the former Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, who recently was fired by Donald Trump after demonstrating an utter lack of technical (computer) skills. During one episode he struggled to figure out how to simply turn on a laptop, and on another it became apparent he really had no clue on using e-mail or text messaging. In contrast, I came across the following video on one of the business blogs I follow ( that showed a young child's first interaction with the new Apple I-Pad. Watching the video I could only wonder at what the capabilities of the newest generation will be when they enter the work force in about 18 years. This 2 1/2 year old takes to the I-Pad like the proverbial duck to water. Watching her made me realize the challenges facing those of us already in the work force in terms of keeping up with change, including constantly evolving technology.

I can remember working for Pinnacol when we first got internet and e-mail (I can hear the gasps from all of those who have grown up with these things), but that was only about 12 years ago! I still see candidates spanning the spectrum from this toddler to Mr. Blagojevich. We do typing tests for some types of positions and I can pretty much guage the applicant's computer skills by the way they simply interact with the keyboard. Some of us love the new technology, some of us tolerate it, but watching this 2 1/2 year old made it abundantly clear that none of us can any longer avoid it. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pinnacol In Action: Giving Back to Colorado

As an alumni you may recall that Pinnacol has a very active employee volunteer program called Pinnacol In Action, or PIA for short. PIA has grown through the years and in 2009 Pinnacol employees volunteered more than 5,000 hours in the community. We thought you might like to see a short video highlighting some of your former co-workers volunteer efforts. As Sherry Mars, one of our claims representatives, says: "I want to make a difference in life" and Pinnacol is pleased to give employees the opportunity to do that through PIA.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pinnacol in the News: Separation Efforts end for 2010

You may have seen a lot of recent publicity regarding the end to efforts to separate Pinnacol  from the state in 2010. The following is Ken's official statement:

March 30, 2010

STATEMENT from Ken Ross

President and CEO, Pinnacol Assurance

"Today we were advised that Pinnacol's proposed plan to separate from the State of Colorado will not be considered by the Colorado General Assembly during the 2010 session. We are disappointed that this proposal does not appear to be moving forward because we believe it would have benefited our policyholders, protected injured workers and brought stability to Colorado’s workers’ compensation market. Of course, we will remain open to further discussions with our elected officials to attain these goals.

While this is not the outcome Pinnacol was seeking, we remain committed to providing reasonable rates, issuing dividends, serving injured workers, offering superior customer service, and covering Colorado’s residual market.

This announcement does not change the ongoing concerns we have with certain bills that came from the Pinnacol Interim Committee that are now being considered by the legislature.

We are especially concerned about the impact of three bills:

House Bill 1009 would change the makeup of our board of directors, disrupting the management of Pinnacol at a time when it has been highly successful at lowering rates, issuing dividends and ensuring the delivery of excellent customer service.

House Bill 1356 would cap our surplus at an arbitrary rate, threatening our ability to remain solvent and provide protection to our policyholders and their injured workers.

 And House Bill 1012 would impede the ability of all insurance companies to conduct legitimate investigations and scrutinize fraudulent claims, benefitting those who engage in fraudulent activities while increasing the costs of workers’ compensation insurance for everyone.

If passed, these bills would be detrimental to Pinnacol's business operations and governance. They would also have a negative impact on Colorado’s business-friendly workers’ compensation market —– a market that has helped make the state a place where businesses want to relocate or expand their operations, creating jobs for our citizens.

We are calling upon the business community to join with us in telling their legislative representatives that these bills will harm Pinnacol's business operations and are not good for Colorado companies as they slowly emerge from the current economic downturn.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shauna Yearling returns to Pinnacol Assurance!

Pinnacol is pleased to welcome back Shauna Yearling, one of our most recent 'boomerangs' (an employee who left Pinnacol but then returns). Doretha Jones, our intrepid HR reporter,  recently had a chance to catch up with her to chat about her decision to rejoin the company.

Shauna first joined Pinnacol in 1993 as a Records Tech after being referred by Sheryl Lolmaugh. She enjoyed working for Pinnacol and held several positions including Administrative Support, Contract Coordinator, Medical Claims Adjuster, and Claims Rep. Shauna’s desire for change and to explore other employment experiences led to her decision to leave the company in 2003.

Shauna took 3 months off to spend time with family and friends and to work on some projects around her home. Then she accepted a position as a Risk Manager with the Gilpin Casino and Lodge Casinos in Black Hawk. The Gilpin and Lodge Casinos expanded her job responsibilities which would have included traveling to their other locations across the country. She worked for the Gilpin and Lodge Casinos for approximately 18 months. She enjoyed the job but not the commute, so she left in 2005.

Tired of a long commute, she accepted a job within walking distance of her home. She worked as a Paralegal for Cairns, Nemechek & MacGruder LLC for a little over a year. Then she was referred by a friend to Centrix Financial Services, a sub prime auto company, as an HR Generalist. After she was employed for 6 months, the company filed for bankruptcy. Shauna returned to the legal field in 2007, as a Litigation Paralegal with White & Steele. They are primarily involved with insurance defense. She remained with them until she returned to Pinnacol.

Shauna saw the Legal Secretary position posted on and decided to apply. She rejoined Pinnacol as a Legal Secretary in September 2009. She enjoys the job duties of a legal secretary and she is very excited to have returned to Pinnacol. Shauna likes that Pinnacol is a good company with good benefits and that it has a great  environment where people respect each other. She also appreciates the flexible schedules that are available to employees and in comparison to other companies she has seen thinks Pinnacol’s level of technology is superior. The company’s commitment to volunteerism through its Pinnacol in Action program was also important to her.

Shauna enjoys reading mysteries. Two of her favorite authors are James Patterson and Agatha Christie. She likes to visit the Art Museum, Colorado History Museum, Colorado Museum of Nature and Science. She likes to take walks with her 2 dogs, Sparkie, a Shih Tzu, and Red, a Chihuahua. She also likes to be around her family and friends.

Since Pinnacol has such a supportive environment for education, Shauna would like to return to school and continue to work on her educational goals and pursue some of the insurance certifications/designations.

Welcome back Shauna!

Pinnacol in the news

The Denver Post and other media this morning report that Pinnacol has increased its offer to the state to $330 million, up from the original $200 million. $230 million would be paid over two years in $115 million annual lump sums and the remaining $100 million paid over 30 years at 11 percent interest.
In February Pinnacol offered the state $200 million in exchange for nearly full autonomy, and, as under the original offer, the new deal would still allow Pinnacol to keep its federal tax-exempt status, but the new proposal would require the insurer to pay taxes on all its premiums.

Read more:

What are your thoughts regarding Pinnacol's efforts to distance itself from the state?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

9Health Fair Coming April 21

Pinnacol is pleased to again be one of the locations for this year's 9Health Fair.

Most of you are already familiar with the annual 9Health Fair but here's some information you may not have known:

In the late 1970's John F. Brensike, a physician conducting heart disease research at the National Institutes of Health in Washington , D.C. , became involved in cholesterol screenings. As he traveled the country, he observed a high level of interest from communities to provide screening services. However, he noted that few screenings were available and the quality varied. But more importantly, he noted that there was no mechanism to provide health education and medical follow-up to the community. From there, Dr. Brensike started the National Health Screening Council for Volunteer Organizations (NHSCVO) as a means of promoting preventative health maintenance. Through this organization, the health fair concept was born. The idea was presented by NHSCVO to interested communities across the country. In Colorado , NHSCVO approached Al Flanagan, then president of KBTV Channel 9 in Denver , now 9NEWS. The television station recognized this effort's value to the community and agreed to provide both financial and media support to help launch the first health fair.

In 1980, along with support from hundreds of medical and non-medical volunteers, the Lions Clubs of Colorado and the Colorado National Guard, the first 9Health Fair was staged. To this day, all three groups remain steadfast in their important roles with the 9Health Fair as important in-kind sponsors.

In 1987, 9Health Fair became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With the sole mission of promoting health awareness and encouraging individuals to assume responsibility for their own health, and because of the support of 19,000 statewide volunteers, 9Health Fair has helped save thousands of lives by providing free and low-cost health awareness and educational screenings. To date, 9Health Fair is the only program of its magnitude and that has become a community institution as a result of the NHSCVO initiative. Since inception, 9Health Fair has impacted over 1.7 million individuals.

The program's proven history and consistent quality has earned us unique endorsements from the Colorado Medical Society, Colorado Nurses Association and the Colorado Hospital Association.

Anyone 18 and older can participate in a 9Health Fair. With over 25 screenings available, your 9Health Fair results, along with an explanation on how to read your results, are delivered directly to you within three to six weeks of your visit. Our team of volunteer registered nurses and physicians will contact you within 72 hours of your 9Health Fair visit and, if necessary, provide you with local follow up resources if your results indicate that a critical or alert health situation is occurring.

Attending a 9Health Fair does not replace your regular check-ups with your physician, and you are encouraged to share your results with your primary care physician for further diagnosis and treatment.

If you can't attend the event held at Pinnacol's headquarters, there are plenty of other sites available. Here's the link to find a location near you: