TITLE 18

Insurance Code

Insurance

CHAPTER 66. LINE-OF-DUTY DEATH BENEFITS


As used in this chapter:

(1) "Covered person" is defined as a member of 1 of the following:

a. Enrolled firefighters, auxiliary and volunteer ambulance and rescue company members in good standing, either according to the rules of their Delaware volunteer company, or through their assignment to a municipal fire company;

b. National guardmembers on state duty pursuant to subchapter V of Chapter 1 of Title 20, and National Guard members activated for federal service under Title 10 of the United States Code;

c. Police officers of any jurisdiction of this State or its subdivisions;

d. Correctional officers and probation and parole officers employed by the Department of Correction;

e. State merit system employees who qualify for hazard pay under the state merit system regulations Nos. 5.1041 and 5.1042;

f. Drivers and attendants of ambulances owned or operated by the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars for the benefit of the public; provided, however, that such ambulance drivers and attendants have been certified by the State;

g. The Fire Marshal, the Deputy Fire Marshals, Fire Inspectors, Fire Safety Engineer, and the Director, Senior Instructors and Field Instructors of the Delaware State Fire School;

h. Ambulance drivers and State-certified emergency medical technicians (EMT's) of ambulances owned or operated by ambulance or fire departments, counties, or municipalities for the benefit of the public;

i. Law enforcement officers of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control;

j. Employees of the Department of Transportation routinely employed in job-related activities upon the state highway system, such as toll operators, construction inspectors, equipment operators, bridge inspectors and maintenance staff, and survey crews;

k. Agents of the State Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement;

l. Officers or agents of the State Police Drug Diversion Unit;

m. Officers or agents of the State Police Sex Offender Apprehension and Registration Unit (SOAR);

n. State forest officers and Special Forest Fire Wardens employed by the Department of Agriculture;

o. Paramedics of any jurisdiction of this State or its subdivisions;

p. Justices of the peace constables;

q. Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs;

r. Security officers, bailiffs and legal assistants performing services as bailiffs in the Supreme Court, Superior Court, Court of Chancery, Court of Common Pleas, Family Court and the Justice of the Peace Courts;

s. Employees of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control while serving aboard watercraft and nonscheduled aircraft;

t. Employees of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency while traveling to, returning from or while performing official duties associated with natural, human error or technological emergencies, including all normal and special assignments;

u. Employees of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Environmental Response Team while traveling to, returning from, or while performing official duties associated with natural, human error, technological or other emergencies, including all normal and special assignments;

v. Agents employed by a state, county or municipal law-enforcement agency engaged in monitoring sex offenders; or

w. Constables commissioned pursuant to § 2701 et seq. of Title 10.

(2) "Death in the line of duty" shall mean any death of a covered person under this chapter, arising out of and in the course of that person's assigned duty, including all normal and special assignments as ordered by his or her superiors or assignments undertaken while acting as a law-enforcement officer under rules, directions or regulations promulgated by the appropriate employing authority, within or outside of normal duty hours; provided, however, that death of a covered person occurring while that person is on active duty shall create a rebuttable presumption that such death was a death in the line of duty and that the burden of proof shall be on the employer to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that such death was not a death in the line of duty.

(3) "Death in the line of duty" with respect to enrolled firefighters, auxiliary members and volunteer ambulance and rescue company members as referred to in paragraph a. of subdivision (1) of this section shall include in addition to other provisions of this section any death occurring while performing assigned duties, or while traveling to or returning from a fire alarm, rescue operation or any other emergency volunteer fire company action; provided, however, that the phrases "traveling to" and "returning from" shall include the time encompassed by the firefighters', auxiliary members' or volunteer ambulance and rescue company members' entrance into their personal vehicle or company emergency vehicle in response to the alarm or emergency call until their first disembarkation from their personal vehicle at their home, place of employment or other location.

(4) Death in the line of duty shall not include:

a. Death from natural causes; or

b. Accidental death during travel to and from work, except in emergencies and in cases where a covered person is called upon to perform a duty in the course of such travel; or

c. Death as a result of disobedience to or exceeding of orders or instructions from superiors; or

d. Suicide.

(5) "Dependent children" shall include stepchildren, adopted children and children to whom the deceased stood in loco parentis, if members of the decedent's household at the time of death.

(6) "College or university" shall mean any nonprofit college in the State which is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting agency.

18 Del. C. 1953, § 6601; 58 Del. Laws, c. 504, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 135, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 132, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 389, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 595, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 71, §§ 1, 2; 63 Del. Laws, c. 453, §§ 1, 2; 65 Del. Laws, c. 2, § 3; 65 Del. Laws, c. 138, §§ 1, 2; 65 Del. Laws, c. 454, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 311, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 54, §§ 1, 2; 68 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 2; 69 Del. Laws, c. 143, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 105, § 17; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 250, § 2; 74 Del. Laws, c. 396, § 3; 75 Del. Laws, c. 28, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 8; 78 Del. Laws, c. 371, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 200, § 2; 79 Del. Laws, c. 386, § 1.;

Upon certification by the Insurance Commissioner that a claim under this chapter has been approved, the State Treasurer shall:

(1) For claims submitted prior to July 1, 1997, pay to the beneficiary or beneficiaries as designated or determined pursuant to § 6603(a) of this title of every covered person who dies in the line of duty an amount totalling $100,000, payable in annual installments with the maximum amount payable in any 1 calendar year being $20,000. For claims submitted on July 1, 1997, and thereafter, pay to the beneficiary or beneficiaries as designated or determined pursuant to § 6603(a) of this title of every covered person who dies in the line of duty an amount totaling $150,000, payable in annual installments with the maximum amount payable in any 1 calendar year being $30,000. Installments shall terminate with the expiration of the beneficiary's eligibility;

(2) Pay, for no more than 4 years, directly to the institution involved, the amount of the tuition of each dependent child of such covered person who dies in the line of duty so long as such child is enrolled in a degree or certificate program at a college or university. The term "tuition" means any amount required for enrollment or attendance of a student. Such term does not include any amount paid directly or indirectly for meals, lodging, transportation, extracurricular activities, supplies, equipment, clothing or personal or family expenses;

(3) Unless any payment has been made pursuant to subdivision (1) of this section, pay to the beneficiary or beneficiaries as designated or determined pursuant to § 6603(b) hereof of a covered person as defined in paragraph a., b. or f. of § 6601(1) of this title who dies in the line of duty an amount totalling $25,000 payable in annual installments with the maximum amount payable in any 1 calendar year being $5,000. Installments shall terminate with the death of the last surviving beneficiary as determined pursuant to § 6603(b);

(4) Pay, if neither subdivision (1) nor subdivision (3) of this section apply, to the estate of a covered person, as defined in paragraph a., b. or f. of § 6601(1) of this title, who dies in the line of duty an amount not to exceed $5,000 to be used solely for expenses related to burial of such covered person;

(5) Pay for health insurance for dependent children for covered persons who died in the line-of-duty after January 1, 2004, until said dependent children attain the age of 26 years. Should health insurance be provided by the federal government, Tricare or similar program, for any of these dependent children, the dependent children shall only be eligible for state group health coverage in the event of loss of coverage under the federal health insurance plan.

18 Del. C. 1953, § 6602; 58 Del. Laws, c. 504, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 71, § 3; 65 Del. Laws, c. 2, §§ 1, 2; 71 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 216, § 1.;

(a) Each covered person under this chapter shall submit to the person's employing state, county or municipal agency, volunteer fire department or ambulance operator, the name of the beneficiary or beneficiaries and alternate beneficiaries such covered persons wish to receive the payment provided for by § 6602(1) of this title. Beneficiary designation will be submitted to the Insurance Commissioner with the submission of any claim. The covered person may designate that any payment shall be divided among 2 or more beneficiaries as provided by this subsection in any proportion. Only the spouse, children or parents of a covered person shall be eligible beneficiaries to receive payment under § 6602(1) of this title. Should a designated beneficiary or beneficiaries be dead or ineligible, then eligible alternate beneficiaries shall take hereunder in the order indicated by the covered person. Should a covered person not designate a primary or alternate beneficiary or beneficiaries, the following in the order of position of eligibility shall receive the payment:

(1) Spouse, if alive, if not;

(2) Living children, the sum to be divided among the living children equally;

(3) Parents, each parent to take 50 percent if both are living.

(b) Each covered person, as defined in paragraph a., b. or f. of § 6601(1) of this title, shall, if § 6602(1) of this title and subsection (a) of this section do not apply, submit to such person's employing state, county or municipal agency, volunteer fire department or ambulance operator, the name of the beneficiary or beneficiaries such covered person wishes to receive the payment provided for by § 6602(3) of this title. Beneficiary designations will be submitted to the Insurance Commissioner with the submission of any claim. Only the living parents of such covered person shall be eligible beneficiaries to receive payment under § 6602(3) of this title. The covered person may designate that any payment shall be divided among 2 eligible beneficiaries in any proportion. Should a designated beneficiary be dead, then eligible alternate beneficiaries shall take hereunder as indicated by the covered person. Should the covered person not designate a primary or alternate eligible beneficiary or beneficiaries, the living parents, shall receive the payment, which shall be divided between the living parents equally.

(c) Payments under § 6602(1) of this title in accordance with subsection (a) of this section shall take priority. Any payments pursuant to § 6602(1) of this title and subsection (a) hereof shall preclude the applicability of § 6602(3) of this title and subsection (b) of this section.

18 Del. C. 1953, § 6603; 58 Del. Laws, c. 504, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 71, § 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 2.;

Every county and local police agency, volunteer and municipal fire department, the Department of Health and Social Services, the National Guard, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and every organization providing voluntary ambulance service for the public shall, by July 1, 1972, record the names of all members of their organizations who are currently eligible for coverage under this chapter. These organizations shall make appropriate changes to their records when any person not previously eligible becomes eligible, and when 1 previously eligible becomes ineligible. The records will be subject to audit by the Insurance Commissioner.

18 Del. C. 1953, § 6604; 58 Del. Laws, c. 504, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 138.;

(a) The Insurance Commissioner shall administer the Fund created under this chapter and shall receive claims against the Fund. The Commissioner shall determine the validity of all such claims and determine whether a death resulting in any such claim was in the line of duty under terms set forth in § 6601 of this title. In making such determinations, the Commissioner may seek the guidance of the Attorney General. The Commissioner shall hold a hearing on every claim, at which hearing the claimant may be represented by counsel. The Commissioner shall, at the hearing, receive evidence, make findings, and render a decision. The Commissioner shall have the power to subpoena witnesses and records and administer oaths and shall keep a written or taped record of all testimony given before him or her. The Commissioner shall state, in writing, his or her findings and the reasons for his or her decision.

(b) The Commissioner may issue regulations governing the submission, processing and adjudication of claims, including regulations governing hearings before him or her.

18 Del. C. 1953, § 6605; 58 Del. Laws, c. 504, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Any aggrieved claimant may appeal a decision of the Insurance Commissioner to Superior Court, which shall have final appellate jurisdiction under this chapter. Such appeal shall be an appeal on the record. Superior Court may, by rule, set forth the procedure for processing appeals under this chapter.

18 Del. C. 1953, § 6606; 58 Del. Laws, c. 504, § 1.;

Repealed by 65 Del. Laws, c. 273, § 1, eff. May 28, 1986.;

Payments made pursuant to this chapter shall be made from the State Self-Insurance Fund, as provided in Chapter 65 of this title. The General Assembly shall, when necessary, from time to time, provide for the adequate funding to the said Self-Insurance Fund to cover claims under this chapter.

18 Del. C. 1953, § 6608; 58 Del. Laws, c. 504, § 1.;

Payments made under this chapter to a beneficiary shall not be subject to Delaware income taxes or Delaware estate taxes.

18 Del. C. 1953, § 6609; 58 Del. Laws, c. 504, § 1.;