A collaborative approach to workers' comp in Aspen


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    City of Aspen Municipality
    Aspen, CO

“Customers that connect with our safety team can expect lower premiums, increased production, and happy employees."

Tammy Minter, Pinnacol Senior Safety Consultant

Aspen is not just a chic mountain destination but also a complex municipality with unique challenges, especially in managing workers' compensation. Courtney DeVito, the Human Resources Director at the City of Aspen, sheds light on how Pinnacol has been instrumental in navigating these challenges.

Understanding Aspen's unique landscape

Aspen's small size and diverse municipal departments, including police, recreation facilities, and public utilities, create a distinctive set of hazards. 

"We have a lot of unique risks and challenges here in Aspen, DeVito notes. “We're a very small area, so our whole city is about four square miles and we have about 350 people working here"​​. 

The limited geographical area and the variety of services offered make the management of workers' compensation a complex task.

The risks of seasonal and diverse workforces

Aspen's workforce dynamics add another layer of complexity. The city sees a seasonal influx of employees, particularly in the Parks Department, who require quick training and are often engaged in physically demanding tasks. 

"People come to work with us who have very little time to be trained and are operating equipment, planting flowers, doing things that are a little more ergonomic, heavy, that create even further risk," DeVito explains​​

The role of Pinnacol in mitigating risks

Pinnacol's customized approach to managing these risks has been a a powerful tool for Aspen. The insurer’s personal touch, onsite training, and individualized safety programs have been crucial. 

DeVito appreciates Pinnacol's understanding of Aspen's unique municipal status, noting, "They understand who we are as a municipality and the challenges of living and working in a mountain area"​.

Focused safety training and claims management

Pinnacol's targeted safety training and efficient claims management have significantly benefited Aspen. The integration of in-house training with Pinnacol Senior Safety Consultant Tammy Minter has been particularly effective. 

Minter has met in person with specific departments, like Public Works and the Parks Department, to discuss how they handle safety in high risk situations.

“Customers that connect with our safety team can expect lower premiums, increased production, and happy employees," Minter notes​​

Enhanced return to work program

Aspen's return to work program, in collaboration with Pinnacol, has seen marked improvements. Much of the city’s workforce leans towards labor-intensive roles, which produce a higher frequency of claims. Pinnacol's dedicated return to work specialist has played a vital role in facilitating effective and safe returns for employees. 

"We've seen a great return on investment there. So we're very glad to have that support," DeVito acknowledges​​

Accessibility and understanding of local context

Pinnacol's Colorado-based operations mean they are well-versed with the local context and are readily accessible. 

DeVito values this proximity, stating, "They understand their clients, they understand the area, they understand the challenges, and they are available"​​. 

This local understanding is crucial in a unique environment like Aspen.

Language and cultural sensitivity

Pinnacol's ability to cater to a diverse workforce, including Spanish-speaking employees, highlights their commitment to inclusivity and effective communication. DeVito appreciates this aspect, emphasizing the importance of having claims representatives fluent in Spanish to ensure all employees feel heard and understand the care they receive​​.

The partnership between the City of Aspen and Pinnacol exemplifies how tailored workers' compensation management can effectively address the unique challenges of a diverse and dynamic municipal workforce.

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