Commissioner Stewart Provides Summer Storm Preparedness Tips

Atlantic Hurricane Season Started June 1: Prepare Now for Severe Weather
Dover, DE–Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart wants Delaware residents to prepare for the potential damages and interruptions brought by strong summer storms and hurricanes; the Atlantic hurricane season started June 1. Doing the proper planning now can potentially help save time, money and frustration in the coming months should your home or personal property be negatively impacted by storms, floods or other natural disasters this summer or fall.

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:

Commissioner Stewart advises, “Now is a great 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, MyHome, for your smartphone.” 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,” notes Commissioner Stewart.

If you do not have flood insurance and live in a flood-prone area it is highly recommended that you consider purchasing flood insurance. Homes located at low elevations and near bodies of water, especially along the state’s eastern limits, are particularly susceptible to flooding during strong thunderstorms, tropical storms and hurricanes. Keep in mind that most flood policies require a 30-day waiting period before they become effective. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, just a single inch of floodwater can cause more than $10,000 in damage to a home. Floods and flash floods occur in all 50 states, and they cannot always be predicted or prepared for which is why purchasing a flood insurance policy as soon as possible is critical to ensuring your property is protected in the event of a 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 with you at all times your insurance records, 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 consider scanning all of these important documents and saving them in your personal e-mail or online storage account,” notes Commissioner Stewart. “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 a small amount of 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 these topics visit

The Delaware Department of Insurance invites you to find out about storm preparedness, and more, at From the homepage you can connect to our Facebook page and Twitter account where helpful information is posted on a regular basis. Consumers with questions about their insurance can always call the Consumer Services Division at 1-800-282-8611.

Delaware Department of Insurance: “Protecting Delawareans through regulation and education while providing oversight of the insurance industry to best serve the public.”

Commissioner Stewart Announces The Approval Of Frontline Homeowners Insurance To Sell Insurance In Delaware

Frontline Insurance, one of the leading insurers for coastal homeowners coverage, continues to expand with the announcement it is now licensed in Delaware.

“Coastal coverage for homeowners is a primary focus for us. Delaware has shown continued growth in its beach communities, making this area a natural fit for our business,” said Leman Porter, President. “With over 54% of America’s population living within 50 miles of a coast, and more moving closer every day, we’re optimistic about continued geographic expansion for Frontline Homeowners Insurance.”

Well known in Florida and South Carolina for their competitive rates and extensive coverage, and well regarded for their strong financial stability, Frontline Homeowners continues to be strong along the East Coast. The company recently announced a new comprehensive coverage program for Alabama residents, including wind and flood all in one package.

A particular highlight of Frontline Homeowners Insurance is their Contractors Assist Program. Unique in the industry, Contractors Assist manages the entire restoration of your property, from claim to completion.

Now that licensing in Delaware has been completed, Frontline Homeowners Insurance will begin the process of determining insurance coverage specifications and timing for program release, anticipating availability in late 2013.

Frontline Homeowners Insurance, based in Lake Mary, FL, is a group of independent insurance companies serving homeowners throughout the Southeast United States. Through their affiliated companies; Fidelity Fire & Casualty Company and First Protective Insurance Company, they offer homeowners a financially stable, proven company with a record of superior claims service. Frontline was established in 1998, offering home, property and liability coverage. Frontline brings the total number of carriers to 9 for the Delaware Coastal Area.

Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart Shares Helpful Tips In The Wake Of Recent Storms

In the past few weeks, Delaware has experienced severe weather occurrences resulting in extensive property damage. Today, Insurance Commissioner Stewart shares insurance tips to all Delawareans related to storm damage.

Commissioner Stewart stated that, “Following the disastrous weather systems that we have recently experienced throughout our state, I wanted to share important tips for Delawareans filing an insurance claim for damage caused by the storm. This process can be challenging and the Department of Insurance is available to help.”

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has outlined the top five reminders that will assist consumers in the wake of a storm.

1. Key Coverage Information

Flood Insurance: Flooding—or an excess of water (or mud) on normally dry land—is not covered by a typical homeowners or renter’s insurance policy. Consumers who have purchased a flood policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) should contact the insurance agent or company that wrote their policy to begin the claims process.

Sewer Backup Coverage: Ask your insurance agent or carrier if an endorsement for sewer backup coverage was added to your homeowner’s policy. If so, your losses may be covered if the water damage was caused by sewer lines backing up through your home’s drain pipes.

Loss of Use Coverage: If your loss was caused by a covered peril and the home is not fit to live in, you may be entitled to additional living expenses to maintain your normal standard of living.

Debris Removal: Most policies do not cover damage to trees or landscaping, but many policies have debris clean-up allowances. Check your policy and talk with your agent to see if your policy has this coverage.

Coverage for Other Structures: Damage to structures other than your house may be covered if connected to your house by a fence or utility line and the loss was caused by a covered peril, such as wind.

Deductible: Your deductible is the amount of the damage that you are responsible to pay. This amount could be different following a hurricane than it would be following another covered loss. If the cause of the loss is a named storm, it is likely you will be responsible for a percentage of the loss, based on the replacement cost. This percentage should be stated on your homeowners or renter’s declarations page. State laws differ on what designations trigger a hurricane deductible. If you question the deductible amount your insurance company expects you to pay, contact the Delaware Department of Insurance.

Business Interruption Coverage: It could be days before businesses in the most heavily affected areas can open again. Business interruption insurance covers lost earnings due to circumstances stated in your policy—such as fire or hail—that shut down your business for an extended period. Business interruption/continuation insurance covers expenses associated with running your business, like your payroll and utility bills, based on your company’s financial records. Business interruption/continuation may also help pay for the extra expenses to keep your business in operation until you recover. This coverage generally includes a waiting period that serves as the deductible.

You may have several different policies that cover all of the damages from the storm (a flood policy, a homeowners policy, an auto policy that may cover damage to your car from flooding), and it is likely you will have to file separate claims for each loss.

2. Protecting Your Damaged Property

If your home has damage, once it is safe, it is your responsibility to make sure that the damage is not made worse because you did not take action. That means if you have a part of your roof missing, it is your responsibility to make the effort to cover the hole. As part of your claim, your insurance company will typically reimburse the expense of these temporary repairs—assuming the loss was caused by a covered peril—therefore, retain all of your receipts. Before making any repairs, take photos of the damage. If you remove personal property from the home, do not dispose of it until an adjuster from your insurance company has reviewed it for your claim. Many policies include reimbursement for storage costs.

3. Contacting Your Insurance Company or Agent

If your area has storm damage, it is likely your local agent is dealing with the same issues. You should have a copy of your policy or insurance card with your disaster preparation materials, but if you do not, an insurance company representative should be able to help you find this information. Often insurance companies will mobilize disaster response teams to come to you following large-scale disasters. A disaster response team that comes to your area can help you figure out what damages are covered, can start your insurance claim and will often cut you a check toward that claim to help you start the recovery process.

The Delaware Department of Insurance will also help you find contact information for your insurance company following a widespread disaster. We can also help answer questions about your coverage or assist if you are having problems with your claim.

4. Power Outage

There are a couple things to know if you lose power. First, if a fallen tree is to blame for the power outage, it is possible that the cost to clean up the tree may be covered by your homeowners insurance. Additionally, you may have heard that the stockpile of food going bad in your refrigerator or freezer is covered by your insurance. It is true that a homeowners or renter’s policy does often allow for compensation for food losses up to a certain amount. However, this is generally a fairly low dollar value like $500.00. If your deductible (the amount of the claim you are responsible to pay) is equal to or greater than this, unless you have other losses, you probably cannot claim just the loss of the food.

5. Home Inventory

When you file a claim you will be asked to make a list of everything damaged or destroyed. This process can be easier with a good home inventory. If you do not have a home inventory, sit down as a family and make the list room by room. If you forget something in your initial list, you can add to it at a later date.

As you purchase new belongings, either update your home inventory if you already have one, or start an inventory. You can download the myHOME app for iPhone® or Android smart phones to get you started. The app. can be found on the Delaware Department of Insurance website and the app guides you through capturing images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers, and storing them electronically for safekeeping. The app also creates a back-up file for e-mail sharing. If you would rather do it by hand, a paper version can be downloaded also on our website. Once you have completed the home inventory, talk with your agent to make sure your homeowners or renter’s policy is adequate to cover your new investments.

More Information

These tips, along with other helpful information can be found on the Delaware Department of Insurance website at: Please contact the Delaware Insurance Commissioner’s Office at 1-800-282-8611 with questions and inquiries about insurance. For more information about the National Flood Insurance Program, including guidance on filing a claim, go to

Commissioner Stewart would like everyone to be informed when it comes to insurance and the necessary steps to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster. Stewart shared that, “Delawareans reported over $7.4 million dollars in damages in 2012, as stated in a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study on hazardous weather, fatalities, injuries, and damage costs. We will likely experience similar weather-related disaster issues this year. Proper planning and consumer awareness can keep a natural disaster from becoming an insurance calamity.”

Consumer Alert: Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart Shares Useful Information in Preparation for an Active Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is less than a month away. According to Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart, now is the time to prepare. The Weather Channel released its first 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, calling for another active season. Last year, there were nineteen named storms, ten hurricanes and two major hurricanes, the most destructive of which was Super Storm Sandy which swept through the East Coast of the United States in late October. Many property owners do not know the basics about flooding or flood insurance. To make informed decisions, residents and business owners need a solid understanding of their flood risk and how flood insurance can help. The following are important facts and figures gathered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which may serve to be useful information to help reduce the financial impact of flooding:

  • Federal disaster assistance is usually provided in the form of a loan that must be paid back with interest along with any existing mortgage.
  • Flood losses in the United States averaged $2.9 billion per year for the last decade.
  • Nearly 75 percent of all federally declared disasters over the past five years involved flooding.
  • Floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States.
  • Everyone is at risk-even those that do not live close to rivers and lakes. Floods happen as a result of heavy rains, snow melt, overloaded drainage systems, land development runoff, and for many more reasons. Just an inch of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to your home and its contents.
  • Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
  • Over the life of a 30-year loan, your home, if located in a high-risk flood area, is more likely to be damaged by flood than by fire.
  • More than five million Americans are protected with flood insurance, but millions more are unaware of their personal risk for property damage-or options for reducing that risk.
  • Property owners, renters, and business owners can purchase flood insurance on their building and contents if their community is among the more than 21,800 communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • It typically takes 30 days after the purchase of flood insurance for the policy to take effect.
  • The average premium is around $640 a year; the average claim in the past five years was more than $35,000.
  • More than 20 percent of all flood claims come from areas mapped outside high-risk flood zones.
  • Qualifying properties in moderate- to low-risk areas are eligible for the low-cost Preferred Risk Policy with premiums as low as $129 a year for $20,000 in building and $8,000 in contents coverage.
  • Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart would like all Delawareans to be safe and be informed. Commissioner Stewart expressed that, “Being prepared in case of a natural disaster can save lives, property and a lot of heartache. The planning that homeowners and business owners do can keep a natural disaster from becoming an insurance disaster.” For more on flood insurance and flood risk information, visit Also, visit our website for information related to storm preparedness:

DNREC announces preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for portions of Kent County now available from FEMA

DOVER (April 12, 2013) – The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has announced that preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for portions of Kent County have been released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The preliminary maps are available online at  

DNREC’s Shoreline and Waterway Management Section worked with FEMA to produce the new preliminary flood risk maps for Kent County. FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted the modeling and mapping for the tidal portions of the Delaware Bay in Kent County. DNREC in cooperation with URS Corporation conducted the modeling and mapping of the non-tidal portions of Kent County in the Murderkill watershed.

The preliminary maps include proposed changes to the existing Flood Insurance Rate Maps in Kent County along the Delaware Bay shoreline and adjacent tidal floodplains and the non-tidal portions of the Murderkill watershed upstream to Harrington. The proposed changes include additions or modifications of base flood elevations, base flood depths, Special Flood Hazard Area boundaries, zone designations or regulatory floodways.

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program makes flood insurance available to local property owners. Mortgage lenders require borrowers whose properties are located in a designated special flood hazard area to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally backed mortgage loan in accordance with the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973. Over the past several years, DNREC has helped several Delaware communities join the national flood insurance program.

Standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage incurred by flooding, however, all property owners can purchase flood insurance. Homeowners interested in how the proposed changes could impact the cost of their flood insurance premium should contact their insurance agent.

The Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps and the Flood Insurance Study report for Kent County watersheds and communities are available for review online and can also be viewed at respective Community Map Repository address listed in the table below.

Community Community Map Repository Address
Kent County, Delaware, and

Incorporated Areas

Preliminary Maps Available for Inspection Online at:
City of Dover City Hall, Planning Department and Inspection, 15 Loockerman Plaza, Dover, DE 19901.
City of Harrington City Hall, 106 Dorman, Harrington, DE 19952.
Town of Bowers Bowers Town Hall, 3308 Main Street, Frederica, DE 19946.
Town of Camden Town Hall, 1783 Friends Way, Camden, DE 19934.
Town of Felton Town Hall, 24 East Sewell Street, Felton, DE 19943.
Town of Frederica Town Hall, 2 East David Street, Frederica, DE 19946.
Town of Leipsic Town Hall, 207 Main Street, Leipsic, DE 19901.
Town of Little Creek Little Creek Fire Hall, 311 Main Street, Little Creek, DE 19961.
Town of Smyrna Town Hall, 27 South Market Street, Smyrna, DE 19977.
Town of Wyoming Municipal Building, 1 North Railroad Avenue, Wyoming, DE 19934.
Unincorporated Areas of Kent County Kent County Administrative Complex, Department of Planning Services, 555 Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901

The effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps, which indicate the current floodplain boundaries and areas of greatest flood risk, can be found at

Public comments on the proposed Flood Insurance Rate Maps, identified by Docket No. FEMA-B-1301, can be submitted in writing to Luis Rodriguez, Chief, Engineering Management Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-4064, or by email The federal register notice can be viewed at

For additional information on the preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps, contact Greg Williams or Michael Powell, DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship at (302) 739-9921. For information on the DNREC’s flood mitigation program, visit DNREC’s website at

Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 43, No 143