This past week several events focused on Delaware’s fastest growing financial services industry- captive insurance. On Monday, November 9th, Governor Jack Markell issued a proclamation honoring the growth of Delaware’s captive industry. Under Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart’s leadership, the number of Delaware active licensed captive companies has grown from 38 in 2009 to over 1,000 today. Delaware presently is the third largest captive domicile in the United States and also ranks as the sixth largest domicile in the world.
On November 11th and 12th, the Delaware Captive Insurance Association held their annual forum. The DCIA, a private industry group, is comprised of service providers (attorneys, accountants, and captive managers) for our captive industry. The forum held at the Chase Center, drew approximately one hundred fifty attendees.
As part of the forum, Commissioner Stewart recognized Delaware’s 1,000th active licensed captive – AWI, Inc. Its’ parent company- American Water is a publicly traded company (NYSE: AWK) founded in 1886. American Water is the largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company in the United States, employing almost 7,000 professionals, serving the needs of 15 million customers in 47 states and Canada.
In her remarks, Commissioner Stewart noted that American Water- already incorporated in Delaware- chose to form its captive insurance company here due to the professionalism and accessibility of the Insurance Department’s Captive Bureau staff and Delaware’s reputation as a business – friendly jurisdiction. Deb Degillio, President of AWI, Inc. proudly accepted the honor of being Delaware’s 1,000th captive insurance company.
The Insurance Commissioner’s decision for 2016 Workers Compensation rates is disappointing, but certainly better than those proposed by the Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau. The position of the members of the Workers Compensation Oversight Panel, which is chaired by myself, is that rates should be in the range proposed by the Panel’s independent actuary, which recommended a 2-3% increase.
The State Chamber along with the other members of the Oversight Panel will continue to look for ways to lower Delaware’s workers compensation rates.
The statement is below:
Insurance Department Announces Workers’ Compensation Rates for 2016
DOVER, DE (November 17, 2015) – Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart today approved the Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau (DCRB)’s workers’ compensation amended rate filing, resulting in an overall average increase of 7.09% in residual market rates and 7.20% in voluntary market loss costs.
The DCRB originally proposed overall increases of 14.92% for the residual market plan and 15.03% for the voluntary market loss costs. The Commissioner’s independent actuaries and the state’s Ratepayer Advocate each examined DCRB’s filing and recommended increases lower than the ones requested by DCRB. Following extensive discussions, the three parties proposed the amended rates which the Commissioner approved today.
Quite simply, we focus our core initiatives to address the concerns of the entire business community.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce is the preeminent statewide business organization promoting a strong business climate in Delaware. We strive to create a statewide economic climate that enables all businesses to become more competitive. Our team consistently meets with Delaware’s Congressional delegation and plays a leading role on issues before the General Assembly. Our Board of Directors, Board of Governors and committee engagement assist in promulgating rules and regulations stemming from the various federal, state and local agencies that oversee business activity.
We are proud to be leaders on the policy front. Recent achievements include:
The DSCC is a nonprofit organization. We depend on the support of our members to accomplish our mission. We partner with other advocacy groups and serve as the leading voice of the business community. Our leadership helps create jobs, promote business and improve the quality of life for all Delawareans.
Your membership dollars and your support through programs like the Annual Dinner, Superstars in Education, Superstars in Business and our Legislative Brunches allow the State Chamber to be your dedicated voice in Dover.
We are proud to advocate on your behalf addressing the challenges of today and exploring the opportunities of tomorrow.
AND THE GILMAN BOWL GOES TO… RICHARD G. “DICK” HATFIELD, FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN OF COLONIAL PARKING, INC.
This year’s winner of the Marvin S. Gilman Bowl has never been one to pursue public recognition. Rather, Richard “Dick” Hatfield is a quiet, tireless, hardworking embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit. Starting his first business at the age of 18, he has built a real legacy for all his endeavors both in business and in the community.
After serving his country in the US Army, he was right back to work developing opportunities to grow his skills and his business. The business that is his life’s passion was started in 1956, Colonial Parking, Inc.
From a single location, our recipient grew his company over the nearly 60-years to a regional organization recognized for integrity, professionalism and service excellence. It employs over 230 people to manage over 100 locations serving in excess of 45,000 customers every day.
But first, we need to back up to recognize all the lives he’s touched along the 60-year journey.
After several years in business, Mr. Hatfield became active in the National Parking Association where he ultimately served as President from 1975-1976 and continues to serve on the NPA’s National Leadership Advisory Council. Relationships developed there led to the expansion of his business bringing him and his family to Delaware in 1965. The partnership developed from that continues to this day, 50-years later.
It is his long-term focus and desire to develop lifelong relationships that may lead to other opportunities that has crafted this business style. The sum of his win-win and long-term philosophies has also led him to be one of the strongest advocates for the City of Wilmington. For the Dick Hatfield, it’s all about what’s good for the city, knowing that what’s good for the city will ultimately be good for everyone in the city.
He is a deeply committed not only to his families, both at home and at work, but also to the greater community. This commitment has been demonstrated by volunteering for a number of community organizations throughout his career:
Needless to say, there is no one more deserving of recognition for his hard work and dedication to the community. The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Alliance congratulate Mr. Hatfield on this prestigious honor.
The Marvin S. Gilman Bowl was established by the Small Business Alliance of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce in 2008 to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions to small business and nonprofit organizations of Delaware. The Bowl is awarded annually in the memory of Marvin S. Gilman. This recipient is held in confidence until the Superstars in Business awards luncheon, which took place on Tuesday, November 10, 2015.
In stark contrast to the News Journal’s “Save our City” editorial that ran on Nov. 11th lamenting the bleak state of the City of Wilmington on Nov. 10th, in a sold out event featuring over 300 attendees at the Hotel DuPont, the State Chamber awarded four Superstars in Business Awards to companies voted outstanding by a selection committee comprised of their peers. SoDel Concepts, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc., Bernardon, and the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay took home awards in categories based on employee number, and in the case of the Girl Scouts, they won for best nonprofit organization.
A separate award, the Marvin S. Gilman bowl, was awarded to Colonial Parking founder Dick Hatfield for his dedication and service to his employees, the city of Wilmington and to the business community at large. Surrounded by his family, Mr. Hatfield expressed his love for his work, for his family and for those employees who have helped make him successful.
The event also featured a keynote address by World Cafe Live founder Hal Real, who gave a history of how his career evolved, the forces behind starting WCL in Philadelphia, and most importantly, what drove his decision to expand to Wilmington and how successful this venture has been.
The stories shared by the Superstars winners and by Mr. Real show there is already a dedicated segment of Delawareans committed to making sure the city of Wilmington returns to its heyday as a bustling metropolis where people want to live and work, and where businesses can flourish. Success is happening, and momentum is growing, despite what stories grab headlines. It is important to remember that we all collectively have a vested interest in seeing our city thrive, and it is incumbent upon the business community to lead the charge of developing and investing in businesses that will help reach that goal. The Superstars in Business Awards are a prime example of that initiative, and should be a model for others to follow.
The Vision Coalition of Delaware would like to extend a sincere thanks to all who attended the Eighth Annual Conference on Education last week at Clayton Hall at the University of Delaware.
More than 300 policymakers, parents, educators, and community members stopped by to follow-up and discuss Student Success 2025, a 10-year plan for Delaware education released by the coalition last month.
Local and national-level experts, alongside hundreds of Delawareans, took part in six unique action groups, which corresponded to the six core areas of Student Success 2025. Participants from each action group worked to develop strategies to implement the recommendations found in the plan.
Every voice mattered, and will continue to matter as Delaware pushes on with this work. These conversations were just the beginning, and we need your help to move this vision forward.
At a recent State Chamber networking event at Christiana Mall, attendees heard from general manager Steve Chambliss and Delaware Department of Labor secretary John McMahon about the difficulties retailers are having filling the upwards of 700 seasonal jobs currently available at the Mall.
These difficulties stem in large part from an unqualified labor pool struggling to find employment and lacking both the necessary hard and soft skills. The Department of Labor has instituted a program to train candidates not only in how to write a resume and interview for a job, but also goes so far as to donate appropriate clothing to wear at an interview.
At locations around the state, The Division of Employment and Training (DET) provides services enabling employers and job seekers to make informed employment and training choices leading to employment. Through a one stop website, https://joblink.delaware.gov, employers can list jobs, candidates can build a resume and also peruse career lattices in six industries to research what skills and education are required to be successful in those industries. The industries in the lattice include information technology, finance, manufacturing, restaurant hospitality, gateway and wholesale/retail and within each lattice there are several paths or “tracks” that can be explored allowing candidates to find more information about an occupation, how to “climb the ladder” within an industry as well as average pay scale.
The Department of Labor reports that annually over 50,000 job seekers and career changes post their resume and search for opportunities in Delaware JobLink. For more information, visit https://joblink.delaware.gov.
A gifted musician, Hal is active in other arts, educational and community organizations. He formed Real Entertainment Group, Inc. in order to “radically change the landscape for contemporary music audiences and artists.” In October 2004, Hal delivered the first installment of that promise by opening World Cafe Live, a nationally-acclaimed live music venue, restaurant and events complex in Philadelphia.
In 2011, Hal and his World Café Live team opened World Cafe Live at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware.
He is a member of the board of overseers of the Delaware College of Art and Design, the immediate past chairman of the board of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, a member of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Board, a board member of The People’s Light & Theatre Company, a board member of the Light Up the Queen Foundation. Hal has been a guest speaker for various business and civic events, and often serves as a guest lecturer at Drexel, Wharton, Temple and other schools. He is a graduate of Kenyon College and Temple University School of Law.
Hal Real will be speaking at the 2015 Superstars in Business awards luncheon on Tuesday, November 10th at Hotel du Pont.
On Wednesday, over 125 educators, administrators, business and non-profit leaders participated in the Vision Coalition’s Eighth Annual Conference on Education at Clayton Hall at the University of Delaware. The conference focused on how to best implement the recommendations Vision Coalition of Delaware’s Student Success 2025 – a 10-year plan to advance Delaware’s schools and education outcomes. Student Success 2025 is a multi-tiered plan developed through public collaboration and extensive state-wide engagement of community, student, business, nonprofit, and government stakeholders. The Student Success 2025 approach focuses on exploring personalizing learning for more students and improving career prep.
The conference also concentrated on how to address Delaware’s decades-old education funding model to integrate funding for schools that have high concentrations of poverty and provide additional resources for school districts at the state level for English Language Learners.
In addition to looking at funding, the conference looked at how to coordinate programs like the Success Pathways and Roads to Careers (SPaRC) initiative (a program spearheaded by United Way and the Delaware Business Roundtable’s Education Committee) with other school to career programs. Integrating programs like SPaRC into the Delaware education system will bring valuable workplace experiences to students in an effort to keep them engaged and to fully prepare them for work at Delaware businesses.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.