Kathy Kranz

Vice president and CFO
Pinnacol Assurance

Location: Denver, CO
Founded: 1915
Industry: Insurance

Kathy Kranz was pretty certain she didn’t want to follow her mother’s footsteps as a teacher, thinking she wouldn’t enjoy that type of work. But in her role as vice president and chief financial officer, Kranz serves as a mentor, guiding employees on their development and accomplishing great things. And now she sees the parallel between the work she does and the work her mothers did as a teacher.

It’s one of several leadership lessons Kranz points to in her career at Pinnacol Assurance.

“One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is not everyone thinks the same way I do or responds as I would in a given situation,” Kranz said. “You need a larger toolbox as a leader and have to be willing to try a lot of different techniques, rather than just getting really good at doing things one way because you can’t reach everybody with just one approach.These are not revolutionary ideas, but it took me a while to realize what works for one person may not work for another.”

Pinnacol Assurance has been at the forefront of protecting, understanding and caring for Colorado workers for more than 100 years. It is Colorado’s largest workers’ compensation insurance carrier. It aims to lead a revolution in caring for people, businesses and community, to provide caring protection for Colorado employers and their employees, the company said.

During the pandemic, when people needed it most, Pinnacol paid $50 million in dividends to policyholders in 2021 and $70 million in dividends in 2020 while also reducing rates. Pinnacol has reduced rates for six consecutive years and paid a combined $320 million in dividends during the same period.

In 2021, Pinnacol provided nearly $1.5 million in community and safety grants, scholarships to children of workers injured or killed on the job, sponsorships, and donations to support the community. The company made contributions to the Food Bank of the Rockies, the Marshall Fire Fund, and to a fund for victims of a mass shooting in Boulder, as well as safety equipment for Colorado restaurants.

Last year, Pinnacol was designated the top large employer in Colorado by the Denver Post, making it the fifth consecutive year the company earned a spot on the list of Colorado’s Top Workplaces. The ranking, based on employee feedback in an anonymous survey, is considered a vote of confidence by employees.

Kranz joined Pinnacol in 2008 as an analyst, then held roles as controller, associate vice president of finance and interim CFO before being named vice president and chief financial officer in 2014. In 2012, she led senior leadership in developing a five-year plan to restore the company’s profitability and ensure its financial strength going forward. Pinnacol has outperformed expectations so dramatically during Kranz’s tenure as CFO that the company has earned a spot on the Ward’s 50 list of best-performing property and casualty insurance companies among industry giants for four consecutive years.

Kranz is the executive sponsor of Pinnacol’s Black Empowerment, Leadership and Opportunities Network Group (BELONG). The employee group promotes the growth, success and retention of Pinnacol’s Black employees, serves as leaders in the organization and contributes to the company’s success through recruitment, advocacy and career development.

Kranz has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Regis University. She is an active Certified Public Accountant in Colorado. Kathy was named 2018 Woman to Watch by Business Insurance and was a finalist for Denver Business Journal Top Financial Executive in 2017.

She is a graduate of Leadership Denver, Denver Metro Chamber’s leadership program and a board member of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) since 2013. She serves as treasurer and board member of the Pinnacol Foundation, which provides scholarships to children of people seriously injured or killed on the job. Since 2000, the foundation has awarded $6 million in scholarships to nearly 650 students across Colorado.

“It’s all about learning new things and taking on new challenges, which keep me motivated,” Kranz said.

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"You need a larger toolbox as a leader and have to be willing to try a lot of different techniques."

Kathy says: