Life Insurance Policy Locator finds over $3.5 Million for Users

Over $1 million claimed by Delaware residents in 2019, More than $400,000 in early 2020

The Delaware Department of Insurance has released new data about local use of the Life Insurance Policy Locator, a free tool offered in conjunction with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In total, 1,116 requests have been submitted, and 387 matches have been reported since the tool’s implementation – a match rate of nearly 35%. Throughout Delaware’s use of the tool, a total of $3,504,850 has been claimed by beneficiaries through located policies, and $1,071,516 during 2019 alone. In the first five months of 2020, residents were able to access $402,574 as a result of successful searches.

“The Life Insurance Policy Locator is a great tool for Delawareans to be aware of. When a loved one passes, there isn’t always a will or a detailed plan for the family’s future financially. Using the Policy Locator, it is easy to find out if a life insurance policy or annuity contract existed, and simple to claim the policy if there was one in place,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “This is just one of the many ways our department is offering a consumer-friendly insurance experience.”

Simplifying what can often be a long and frustrating process, only a nominal amount of information is needed to begin a search in the Life Insurance Policy Locator. After a request is submitted by a beneficiary, executor, or legal representative, dedicated NAIC liaisons take on the task of asking participating companies to search their records to identify any policies or annuity contracts in the name of the deceased. Then, if a participating company does have policy information on file, they will respond to the requester if they are authorized to receive information or are the designated beneficiary. Data is typically made available within 90 business days.

Delaware implemented the Life Insurance Policy Locator in November of 2016. Requestor preference and beneficiary specification may result in more matches than claimed policies.

Visit insurance.delaware.gov/services/missingpolicy to access the tool.


Commissioner Navarro Opposes Delaware Compensation Commission Pay Raise Recommendations

DOVER, DE—In response to the Delaware Compensation Commission’s recommendation for pay raises for top state officials, Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro issued the following statement:

“I am opposed to these pay raises. Our State is experiencing considerable budgetary and financial issues, including a potential $350 million shortfall. As such, it is not appropriate to consider such a measure. Moreover, it is unfair to the countless hardworking and dedicated state employees who have gone years without significant pay increases. I stand with Governor-elect Carney in pledging not to accept any pay raise if it is offered.”

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Contact:  Vince Ryan

(302) 674-7303


Trinidad Navarro Sworn in as Delaware’s 26th Insurance Commissioner

Dover, DE—Former New Castle County Sheriff Trinidad Navarro was sworn in as Delaware’s 26th Insurance Commissioner by Senior Judge Rosalie Rutkowski in a ceremony at the Department of Insurance’s Dover offices on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. That swearing in was followed by Commissioner Navarro’s swearing in Mitch Crane, Esquire, of Lewes, as the Deputy Insurance Commissioner.

The ceremony was followed by an employee luncheon where Commissioner Navarro introduced his executive team and addressed the Department’s employees:

“I am honored to serve as Delaware’s Insurance Commissioner. There is much we need to accomplish for the consumer. I look forward to working with the staff, legislature, governor and industry to refocus the Department of Insurance’s priorities on the insurance consumer. We will work hard in the coming months and years to ensure a fair and affordable marketplace by ending discriminatory practices used in setting rates and holding the line on excessive costs that affect consumers and businesses.”

To learn more about Commissioner Navarro and the Delaware Department of Insurance, consumers are encouraged to visit the Department’s updated homepage at the new website URL insurance.delaware.gov.

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Contact: Vince Ryan

(302) 674-7303

 


Commissioner Stewart Offers Tax Solution for Captive Insurers

DOVER, DE — Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart has issued a bulletin which provides guidance to make it easier for captive insurers to comply with the new requirements within the federal Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act.  Captive Insurance Bulletin No. 6 establishes procedures so that owners of captive insurance companies may satisfy the PATH Act’s new mandates for owning captives.

For tax years after December 31, 2016, the PATH Act will increase the annual premium to $2.2 million that an insurer making the Internal Revenue Code section 831(b) election may receive.  The PATH Act also creates two new provisions affecting these insurers.  The first is how much premium an insurer may derive from a single person and the second is new ownership requirements for these insurers.  Bulletin No. 6 establishes two cost efficient procedures that captive insurance company owners may follow that either change the ownership of an existing captive, or allow for the creation of a new captive.

“I am very proud that my captive insurance staff has established guidance that responds to a change in federal tax laws,” said Stewart. “Delaware’s captive insurance program is known throughout the world as an advocate for the captive insurance industry.  Bulletin No. 6 once again affirms Delaware’s position by offering a timely and efficient regulatory option for captive insurance companies.”

The full text of Captive Insurance Bulletin No. 6 can be found at http://www.delawareinsurance.gov/departments/documents/bulletins/CaptiveInsuranceBulletinNo6.pdf.

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Commissioner Stewart Provides Storm Preparedness Tips

Paths of Hurricanes are Hard to Predict: Prepare Now for Severe Weather

Dover, DE – Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart is encouraging Delaware residents to take action now to prepare for potential damages and interruptions from Hurricane Matthew. Although it is too early to predict the long-term track of the storm, residents are encouraged to review or develop an emergency plan, create or update a home inventory, and take action to make their homes as safe as possible to prevent any damage from occurring. The Atlantic Hurricane season officially ends on November 30. Even if this current storm bypasses our region there’s still plenty of time for other strong storms to form which could eventually threaten Delaware.

The Department of Insurance has a Storm Preparedness webpage filled with resources and information about what to do before, during and after a major storm.  There’s an abundance of information about protecting your home or business from damage, and tips for preparing for meeting with an adjuster if your property sustains damages. Visit the Storm Preparedness webpage here: http://delawareinsurance.gov/departments/consumer/StormPrepare.shtml

Now is an ideal time to update your personal property inventory for your home, or create one if you’ve never done it before. With today’s technology this process is easier than ever with the help of the free app for your smartphone called MyHome Scr.APP.book, created by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The Department of Insurance also has a home inventory PDF that can be printed. For links to all of these resources visit the Storm Preparedness webpage. Having an up-to-date home inventory will help make the insurance claims process much easier should your home be damaged by a natural disaster.

Below is a brief list of items the Delaware Department of Insurance suggests that you review now, before a disaster strikes. For a complete list of items, visit the Storm Preparedness webpage, mentioned above in this article.

  • Make sure that you understand the deductible provision of your policy.
  • Keep all of your insurance policies in an easily accessible location.
  • If forced to evacuate, keep your insurance records with you at all times, including the name and telephone number of your insurer or insurance agent.
  • Be certain you understand the claim procedures of your insurance company.
  • Make sure you have insurance up to at least 80% of the value on your home to avoid penalties under any co-insurance provision of your policy.
  • Keep all necessary information regarding your health coverage, including prescription information, with your insurance records in the event of an evacuation.

For the best protection take pictures of your important documents with your smartphone, or scan these important documents and save them in your personal e-mail or online storage account. That way, if documents are lost in a disaster you can still access them from anywhere. Be prepared, you’ll thank yourself later!

The Delaware Department of Insurance also recommends that residents have evacuation plans and prepare an emergency supply kit. It is recommended that a supply kit should contain: plenty of bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies, and cash or traveler’s checks. Additionally, if you need to evacuate your home, turn off all utilities to reduce the chance of additional damage and electrical shock when utilities are restored. For more information on building an emergency kit and preparing an evacuation plan, visit www.ready.gov. You can also learn more about preparing for hurricanes, specifically, at https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

The Department of Insurance encourages residents to monitor the storm in the coming days. If the storm tracks toward Delaware, consider taking the following precautions at your home:

  • Clear your gutters of leaves and trim branches that are hanging over your roof.
  • Close and lock all doors and windows to prevent them from blowing open and allowing rain in.
  • Move any items from your yard that could become projectiles and cause damage such as potted plants, grills, toys, garbage cans, lawn furniture, etc.

A note about flood insurance: Your traditional homeowners insurance will not cover your losses due to flooding and storm surges. Only flood insurance will protect your home and property from damage due to flood waters. There is typically a 30-day waiting period from the time your purchase the policy until it goes in to effect. To learn about your home’s specific risk for flooding as determined by FEMA flood maps visit https://msc.fema.gov/portal.

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