Update: Sixth Consecutive Workers’ Comp Rate Decrease Announced

Double-digit drop will be effective December 1

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced today that workers’ compensation insurance rates will decrease for the sixth year in a row, effective December 1, 2022. Both the voluntary market and the residual market will see rate decreases in the double digits.

“Lowering worker’s compensations costs time and time again helps our local businesses, who have faced several years of uncertainty and economic difficulty due to the pandemic,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “It also helps us to attract new companies and jobs to our state. While costs continue to decrease, companies are keeping their eye on the ball by reducing risk through programs like our Workplace Safety initiative.”

This year’s decrease in worker’s compensation insurance rates is expected to be coupled with the reversal of voluntary and residual market trends – the residual market is expected to see a greater rate decrease. Residual insurers provide ‘last resort’ coverage for companies unable to obtain or afford coverage in the traditional market. Generally, rates in the residual market do not decrease more than the voluntary market, as the clientele tends to be businesses with higher risk or claims history. The reduction seen in the residual market is an indicator that these policies are being used less frequently, as companies can better afford the traditional, voluntary market.

Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage when an employee is hurt on the job and can provide medical coverage as well as payments for lost wages if a person is unable to work due to their injury. Lower premiums don’t change the amount of compensation an injured employee receives.

Final rates are expected to be announced in early November, following a review of the Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau (DCRB) filing by independent actuaries, and a public hearing with DCRB and the State’s Ratepayer Advocate. Actual savings will vary by policy.

These lower rates are just one component of several Department efforts to help businesses financially. More than 1,200 employers are saving even more money on their workers’ compensation premiums by participating in the department’s Workplace Safety Program, saving approximately $7.4 million last year. Eligible businesses can earn up to a 19% discount on their insurance by successfully undergoing annual safety inspections and complying with recommendations. Importantly, employees may also benefit directly from employer-based safety goals – for example, a workplace may offer bonuses if there are no injuries in a given timeframe and pass on the savings to workers.

Businesses eligible for the Workplace Safety Program are notified each year seven months prior to their renewal date. Organizations interested in participating can access questionnaires online and contact safety@delaware.gov to begin the process. For the first time in 20 years, the Department will update the Inspection Fee Schedule for program participants. Businesses will be notified accordingly. Only benefits can be gained by participating, failure to qualify cannot be the basis for premium increases or sanctions imposed by other safety officials.

Update as of November 2, 2022: Following a review of the Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau (DCRB) filing by independent actuaries and a public hearing with DCRB and the State’s Ratepayer Advocate, the final Workers’ Comp rates have been approved.
Residual Market: Average decrease of 19.72%
Voluntary Market: Average decrease of 14.76%

View the DCRB website


Department of Insurance 2021 Data Shows over $21M in Consumer Savings

Successes in serving residents continue

The Delaware Department of Insurance (DOI) today published performance and productivity data for 2021. While the pandemic necessitated continued operational adjustments, staff continued to focus efforts on consumer services and saw great success. The department also released an infographic of key statistics.

“Year after year, our DOI team delivers for Delaware. In the face of many changes and challenges due to COVID-19, we continued to prioritize consumer services, and never wavered from that commitment,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “This year in review provides just a glimpse into the incredibly vast and diverse array of work our team takes on, and I look forward to continuing to make a difference every day in 2022.”

Despite minimal in-person events, services directed to individual consumers and local businesses continued to thrive in 2021. The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau (DMAB) held more than 5,500 free one-on-one counseling sessions with residents, ultimately saving beneficiaries a combined $521,000 – an increase of more than $230,000 compared to 2020 savings. The Consumer Services Division managed over 3,000 complaints and inquiries, recovering nearly $700,000 for consumers. In the Legal Division, 274 settled arbitration cases resulted in awards totaling more than $640,000. These services, combined with $12.3 million in ACA plan refunds and $7.4 million in workplace safety savings, amount to over $21.5 million for Delaware’s insurance consumers in 2021.

A critical focus of the department during COVID-19 continues to be ensuring health insurer compliance with state and federal rules, coverage requirements, and initiatives to reduce burdens on hospitals and those seeking care. The Market Conduct team continued investigations into insurer’s Mental Health Parity compliance, resulting in $635,000 in fines. Throughout the ACA Special Enrollment Period, more than 21,000 residents took advantage of increased subsidies and savings from the American Rescue Plan, saving an average of 53% on their monthly premiums – a savings of $1.2 million in total. To protect consumers and create a nationwide network of strong regulation, Commissioner Navarro successfully worked to create the National Improper Marketing of Health Plans Working Group within the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Nationally, Commissioner Navarro and the department remain engaged in numerous industry organizations. The Commissioner was recently named Vice-Chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs (D) Committee, a prestigious honor, in addition to being elected to the Executive Committee of the Northeast Zone and continuing to serve as Chair of the National Anti-Fraud Task Force. Delaware continues to participate in the Special Committee on Race and Insurance, the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership, the National Insurance Crime Bureau Medical Task Force, the Delaware Valley Association of International Special Investigative Units, and other committees and groups.

In 2021, the General Assembly utilized virtual procedures for session. DOI pursued 14 pieces of legislation with our partners in Legislative Hall and engaged with more than 30 insurance-related bills, including legislation to regulate the multi-billion-dollar Pharmacy Benefit Manager industry, protecting consumers of auto and homeowner’s insurance, and making progress on issues like health care access and pharmaceutical costs. The DOI also continued to work on other legislative mandates, such as the Office of Value-Based Health Care Delivery.

In Market Conduct, 16 completed insurer examinations resulted in $1.2 million in fines, and several examinations are in progress. More than 50,000 licenses were issued, and licenses total more than 200,000. Across all lines of insurance, more than 30,000 rates and forms were processed and approved.

The Bureau of Examination, Rehabilitation and Guaranty oversees the financials of 136 domestic companies that manage $680.6 billion, and more than 2,000 other companies operating in the state. They completed 62 financial examinations, and have 49 exams in progress, in addition to completing nearly 3,500 other projects including Uniform Certificate of Authority Application amendments and Security Exchange Requests.

The Fraud Bureau worked to investigate many tips and reports, and 5 criminal cases of insurance fraud were indicted in addition to the collection of nearly $9,500 in civil penalties.

Going into 2022, businesses will see the fifth consecutive decrease in Workers’ Compensation premiums, an average reduction of more than 20%. The Workplace Safety team engaged more than 1,200 companies in earning additional savings in 2021.

The Captive Division, named a finalist for International Captive Domicile of the Year, received 70 new applications and has 759 licenses in effect.

View the 2021 Infographic


Workers’ Comp Rates to Decrease for Fifth Consecutive Year

Double-digit drop effective December 1

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced today that workers’ compensation insurance rates will decrease for the fifth year in a row, effective December 1, 2021. The voluntary market is seeing yet another double-digit decrease in voluntary market loss costs, with an average 21.02% reduction, and residual market rates will go down an average of 20.01%.

“We have worked hard to lower worker’s compensations costs year after year to help our local businesses and attract new ones to our state. I’m proud to say that companies are doing their part to reduce risks through programs like our Workplace Safety initiative as well,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro.

Workers’ compensation insurance is an employer cost that provides coverage when an employee is hurt on the job, it can provide medical coverage as well as payments for lost wages if a person is unable to come to work due to their injury. Lower premiums do not change the amount of compensation an injured employee receives.

The Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau (DCRB) agreed to the lower rates after discussion with the Department of Insurance and the State’s Ratepayer Advocate. The approval process included a review of the DCRB filing by actuaries for each party, and a public hearing. Actual savings vary by policy.

These lower rates are just one component of several efforts shepherded by the Department to help businesses financially. More than 1,100 employers are saving even more money on their workers’ compensation premiums by participating in the department’s Workplace Safety Program. Last year’s total savings was approximately $7 million. Eligible businesses can earn up to a 19% discount on their insurance by successfully undergoing annual safety inspections and complying with associated recommendations. These savings can help employers better weather the storm of the economic downturn due to COVID-19. Importantly, individual employees may also benefit directly from employer-based safety goals – for example, a workplace may offer bonuses if there are no injuries for a given timeframe and thus pass on the financial savings to their workers.

Businesses eligible for the Workplace Safety Program are notified about the program each year seven months prior to their renewal date, but late applications are being accepted as many businesses were closed when they were notified of their eligibility due to COVID-19. Organizations interested in participating can access questionnaires online and contact safety@delaware.gov to begin the process.

Interested employers are urged to note on their questionnaires their current hours and best point of contact if these have been adjusted due to COVID-19 so inspectors can plan site visits. A physical walkthrough is still required for employers to earn a safety discount. Only benefits can be gained by participating, failure to qualify cannot be the basis for premium increases or sanctions imposed by other safety enforcement officials.

View the DCRB website


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


Workers’ Comp. Insurance Rates Drop for Fourth Consecutive Year

Decrease and Workplace Safety Program save businesses money during unprecedented time

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced today that workers’ compensation insurance rates will decrease for the fourth year in a row, effective December 1, 2020. The voluntary market is seeing yet another double-digit decrease in loss costs, with an average 11.56% reduction, and residual market rates will go down an average of 8.8%.

“For four consecutive years we have been able to decrease workers’ compensation costs for businesses of all sizes. This year’s reduction will help decrease business expenses as we continue to experience the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner Navarro. “These lower costs can attract new companies to our state and increase employment opportunities as many organizations look to move out of major metropolitan areas.”

The Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau (DCRB) approved the lower rates after discussion with the Department of Insurance and the State’s Ratepayer Advocate. The approval process includes a review by actuaries for the parties, as well as a public hearing. It is important to note that actual savings may differ and will vary by policy. Last year’s decreases saved businesses more than $4 million in premiums.

These lower rates are just one component of several efforts shepherded by the Department to help businesses financially. More than 1,100 employers are saving even more money on their workers’ compensation premiums by participating in the department’s Workplace Safety Program. Last year’s savings was approximately $7.6 million. Eligible businesses can earn up to a 19% discount on their insurance by providing and maintaining a safe place to work.

“Now more than ever, increasing workplace safety and decreasing business overhead is so important,” said Commissioner Navarro. “Our inspectors are working extremely hard to negotiate challenges caused by COVID-19 and are doing an impressive job completing safety audits during these extraordinarily unusual circumstances. I want to commend them and our entire Workplace Safety team for their incredible work.”

Eligible businesses are notified about the program each year seven months prior to their renewal date, but late applications are being accepted as many businesses were closed when they were notified of their eligibility. Organizations interested in participating can access questionnaires online and contact safety@delaware.gov to begin the process.

Interested employers are urged to note on their questionnaires their current hours and best point of contact if these have been adjusted due to COVID-19 so inspectors can plan site visits. A physical walkthrough is still required for employers to earn a safety discount. Only benefits can be gained by participating, failure to qualify cannot be the basis for premium increases or sanctions imposed by other safety enforcement officials.

View the DCRB website