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Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s largest workers compensation insurer, announced that it will return $70 million in general dividends to its customers.

State statute requires that Pinnacol operate as a mutual insurance company owned by policyholders. Checks averaging $1,319 will go out to approximately 50,000 covered employers beginning on March 24.

“At this time when Colorado businesses and their employees are facing significant financial hardships, we’re glad to be in a position to return some money to our policyholders,” president and CEO Phil Kalin said.

Denver businesses will receive the largest portion of the dividend, amounting to nearly $9.2 million. El Paso County policyholders will see $5.9 million and Pueblo County will receive nearly $1.9 million.

Not all policyholders will receive part of the general dividend; only employers who do not exceed a certain threshold for insurance payouts and who are in good standing are eligible. Pinnacol explained that dividends are based on a customer’s past experience with claims, while the decision of whether to lower rates for customers is based on future projections.

Separately, Pinnacol announced to policyholders that an employee who contracted coronavirus could claim workers compensation insurance if the exposure happened in the workplace and there was a connection to the employee's duties. There would have to be proof through a "preponderance of the evidence that the infection arose out of and in the course of employment," the company advised.

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