Department of Insurance Announces 2020 Year-End Data

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro highlights successes, resilience

The Delaware Department of Insurance published today a series of statistics outlining performance and productivity during 2020. These metrics show successes notwithstanding the pandemic and operational changes such as working remotely. These data have been shared visually in the Department of Insurance 2020 Year in Review infographic.

“Despite facing challenges including COVID-19 and natural disasters, our team showed resolve and resilience in serving residents over the past year. From conducting our first ever Mental Health Parity examinations, to returning $21.5 million in health premiums to residents and small businesses, to responding to thousands of consumer inquiries and complaints, the challenges of 2020 did not slow us down,” said Commissioner Navarro. “I couldn’t be prouder to lead a department that makes a difference every day.”

As COVID-19 arrived in Delaware, the department acted swiftly to ensure cost did not hinder residents seeking testing or care and prepared for the eventual vaccine. Over several months, the department kept in frequent contact with both insurers and healthcare providers, supporting the Governor and General Assembly in efforts to increase access to telemedicine and working with the Governor’s office on a temporary moratorium on policy cancellations as the economy adjusted. With the pandemic came increased scam attempts, and as chair of the National Anti-Fraud Task Force, Commissioner Navarro helped identify national trends in these efforts, while also serving on the Coronavirus Anti-Fraud Coalition locally. Throughout the year, the department’s fraud unit took on 545 cases, and joined the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership.

Voices for change sang loud throughout 2020, and the department joined them, participating in the NAIC Special Session on Race and Diversity in the Insurance Sector, and the Special Executive Committee on Race and Insurance. In this group, regulators from across the nation are examining diversity and inclusion within the industry, engaging with stakeholders on these issues and how they impact access to the industry and insurance products, and analyzing the sector to find and correct processes that would disadvantage people of color either directly or by proxy.

In August, Delaware experienced multiple catastrophic storms. Tornadoes ravaged communities and homes, and the department arrived in those neighborhoods shortly after to talk to residents and assure them that assistance would be provided. 7,125 total claims were filed as a result of the estimated $10 million in damages caused by these events.

Throughout the year, the department’s Consumer Services Division managed 3,630 complaints, recovering $941,104 for residents. When the department could not solve claim complaints through contact with insurers, the arbitration team helped residents earn fairer settlements without having to go to court. 302 settlements put a total of $702,000 in the pockets of policyholders.

The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau (DMAB), which provides Medicare beneficiaries counseling and assistance with plan selection, enrollment, and any Medicare issues, quickly implemented virtual meeting options and held 24 total outreach education events. DMAB provided 5,118 one-on-one counseling sessions to residents, an increase over 2019 despite the lack of in-person events and meetings. The work of this team in assisting with the selection of plans saved beneficiaries $286,956 in premium costs.

While DMAB worked with Medicare beneficiaries, the department worked to decrease the cost of care for all residents while increasing accessibility, including through long-term efforts like regulating Pharmacy Benefit Managers and standing up the Office of Value-Based Care. Partly as a result of successes in creating affordability, $21.5 million was returned to health insurance marketplace policyholders and participating small businesses, as the insurer’s Medical Loss Ratio calculation showed they were spending less on health claims. For the second straight year, the department approved a decrease to Health Insurance Marketplace rates, and ultimately saw a 5% increase in 2021 plan enrollment.

In 2020, the department completed the state’s first Mental Health Parity exams. Thousands of violations were uncovered, resulting in $597,000 in fines as insurers worked to correct issues and create a less discriminatory environment in the future. In total, the Market Conduct Division completed 12 exams and one multi-state exam. Insurers were fined a total of $1.1 million, the most in recent years.

Commissioner Navarro’s approval of a rate decrease in Workers’ Compensation saved Delaware employers $4 million throughout the year. This fall, he confirmed the fourth consecutive decrease in rates, which will be an 11.56% decrease in 2021 loss costs and an 8.8% decrease in the residual market. Increasing safety in the workplace decreases accidents and helps these costs stay low, and the Workplace Safety Program engaged 1,083 participating companies, earning a total safety credit of $7 million on their combined total premium of nearly $66 million.

After being named a finalist for the International Captive Insurance Domicile of the Year, the Captive Division licensed 70 new captives in 2020, including 67 conditional licenses. To date, no other state has released data to indicate they licensed more captives than Delaware last year. The work of the captive division reduced taxpayer burden by contributing $1 million to the City of Wilmington and $2.9 million to the State of Delaware General Fund in Fiscal Year 2020.

The department licensed a total of 220,977 professionals, 37,885 whose licenses were processed by the department over the last year. The rates and forms team reviewed a total of 1,251 rates, forms, and advertisements related to life and health insurance, and 27,258 property and casualty submissions. Through the department’s participation in the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s Life Policy Locator, $1.45 million was found and returned to beneficiaries.

The department’s milestone year began with an in-depth, months-long process of accreditation with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) inside the Bureau of Examination, Rehabilitation and Guaranty (BERG) and the department as a whole. While undergoing the arduous accreditation process, BERG also conducted 55 financial examinations of companies in 2020, with 56 exams currently in progress.

“Each year, people ask me what my priority will be,” said Commissioner Navarro. “But my answer is always the same: the residents of Delaware. We will continue to prioritize consumers each and every day, and we are proud to show such strong results after a challenging year.”

Department of Insurance 2020 Year in Review infographic


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.


Delaware Department of Insurance and NAIC Offer Nationwide Life Insurance Policy Locator Tool

Locator helps consumers find lost life insurance policies, annuities 

DOVER DE — The Delaware Department of Insurance and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) announced a national service that provides consumers with search capabilities to help find a deceased person’s lost life insurance policies and annuities.

The NAIC’s Life Insurance Policy Locator provides nationwide access for assistance with finding life insurance policies and annuities. An estimated $1 billion in benefits from life insurance policies are unclaimed, according to Consumer Reports. The new tool builds on the life insurance policy locator programs developed separately in a number of states before this launch.

“Earlier this year, in response to consumer inquiries about finding lost life insurance policies and annuities, the Department started its own search service,” said Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart. “Now I am happy to announce that the NAIC’s new locater service gives Delawareans an additional tool to track down those lost policies.”

The NAIC life insurance policy locator streamlines and simplifies the process for consumers and insurance companies. Consumer requests are encrypted and secured to maintain confidentiality. Participating insurers will compare submitted requests with available policyholder information and report all matches to state insurance departments through the locator. Companies will then contact beneficiaries or their authorized representatives.

More information on the NAIC locater service can be found at

https://eapps.naic.org/life-policy-locator/#/welcome.

Delaware’s locater service may be found at

http://www.delawareinsurance.gov/services/missingpolicy.shtml.

In 2015, life insurers paid more than $74 billion in insurance policy benefits to consumers nationwide. Since 2010, state insurance regulators have investigated unclaimed life insurance benefits. To date, nearly 23 regulatory actions have resulted in returning more than $6.75 billion life insurance proceeds to U.S. consumers.

For more information, call the Department of Insurance’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-282-8611.

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Department of Insurance Recovers Nearly $3 Million for Delaware Consumers through September

Businesses Also Saved $12.1 Million in Workers Comp Premiums 

DOVER, DE – Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart and the Delaware Department of Insurance announced today that its Consumer Services Division recovered $2,959,783.45 for consumers during the first nine months of 2016. Delaware employers also saved $12,126,418.00 in workers compensation premiums during the same period through the Department’s Workplace Safety Program.

The Consumer Services Division received 3,482 formal insurance coverage complaints and inquiries regarding automobile, homeowners, life and health policies between January 1 and September 30, and directly recovered $2,361,693.88 from insurers for Delaware policyholders. The Division also conducted arbitration hearings on behalf of policyholders, which netted consumers $598,089.57 in awards during the same period.

“I want to thank the staff for their vigorous advocacy on behalf of consumers,” said Commissioner Stewart. “Every day they help consumers clear up problems with health insurance companies, agents and providers. And I’m glad the Workplace Safety Program continues to benefit employers and employees.”

The Workplace Safety Program incentivizes employers to establish and maintain safe workplaces. The program provides businesses with the opportunity to earn discounts of up to 19 percent on their workers’ compensation insurance premiums by meeting certain safety requirements and agreeing to undergo periodic inspections. The $12,126,418.00 savings figure, from the Delaware Compensation Ratings Bureau, is approximate because businesses may pay their workers compensation insurance premium annually, quarterly, or by some other schedule.

For help with general insurance matters, call the Department at (302) 674-7300. Call (800) 282-8611 for Consumer Services. For more information on the Workplace Safety Program call (302) 674-7377.Go to our website at www.delawareinsurance.gov, and visit our Facebook page,  www.facebook.com/DelawareInsurance. Follow us on Twitter @Delaware_DOI.

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Insurance Department Will Help Find Delawareans’ Missing Life Insurance Policies

Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart Announces New Search Service

Dover, DE – Do you believe your deceased loved one has a life insurance policy that you cannot find? The Delaware Department of Insurance can help you try to locate it.

Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart today announced that the Department now provides Delaware residents and their families with a free search service that can help locate missing life insurance policies or annuity contracts left behind by loved ones who have passed away.

“I’m happy that the Department has set up this new service to help Delawareans locate lost insurance policies that were purchased in our state,’ said Commissioner Stewart. “Our search will enable eligible persons to contact every life and annuity insurer licensed in Delaware in order to look for a lost policy or contract. I’m always fighting for consumers and this new service should help many of them find the benefits to which they are entitled.”

The service works like this: An executor, beneficiary or legal representative of a deceased resident or former resident of Delaware may file a search request with the Department of Insurance. To submit a request, print out the Missing Life Insurance/Annuity Search Request Form on the DOI website at

http://www.delawareinsurance.gov/services/missingpolicy.shtml.

The form should be filled out, then signed before a Notary Public. Be sure to attach a copy of the decedent’s certified death certificate. Then place the documents in an envelope marked “Confidential” and mail it to the address printed on the form.

Please note that the Department of Insurance does not guarantee that every requested policy will be found. Upon receipt of the request form, the Department will send the search request and any attachments to all Delaware-licensed life insurance companies for review. An insurance company must process a policy and/or contract if they have information about a life insurance policy or annuity contract on the deceased person’s life. The insurance company will contact the requestor directly if money is to be paid to them.

Call the Consumers Division at 1-800-282-8611 if you need additional information.

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