Colo.-owned insurer cuts ties with state amid tiff

DENVER (AP) ? Colorado has been forced to hire a contractor after its state-owned workers’ compensation insurer withdrew its services, months after lawmakers criticized the company over spending that included a five-day golf trip costing more than $318,000.

Pinnacol spokeswoman Suzi Stolte said Friday that the decision had nothing to do with the criticism. She says its state work was a small part of its business.

Lawmakers say the change affects about 42,000 state employees, including about 1,000 who have claims pending. The company insures about 55,000 policy holders with more than a million clients.

Pinnacol was criticized after the trip to Pebble Beach in 2010. In response, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill limiting travel expenditures by state employees and state-chartered entities.

The story was first reported by the Pueblo Chieftain (