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Delaware Insurance Commish candidates differ on qualifications

Republican Jeff Cragg (left) and Democrat Trinidad Navarro are vying to be Delaware's next Insurance Commissioner.

Republican Jeff Cragg (left) and Democrat Trinidad Navarro are vying to be Delaware's next Insurance Commissioner.

Republican Jeff Cragg and Democrat Trinidad Navarro have very different ideas about what it takes to be Delaware’s next Insurance Commissioner.

Two years ago, Republican Ken Simpler was elected State Treasurer, breaking through the Democratic strong-hold on state-wide offices, Simpler a former CFO, ran for treasurer as “a finance-guy for a finance job.” He joined State Auditor Tom Wagner as the only Republicans elected to state-wide office.

Republicans are hoping history repeats itself in the Insurance Commissioner’s race, where Jeff Cragg is running as an “insurance-guy for an insurance job.” Cragg has worked as an insurance agent and an insurance company executive.

“It’s about electing an insurance guy who has extensive background in underwriting, actuarial services, IT, claims paying, has run an insurance company,” Cragg said. “It’s about saying, look, let’s put an insurance regulator in an insurance job, and maybe we’ll get a better outcome.”

His Democratic opponent, New Castle County Sheriff Trinidad Navarro disagrees with that idea.

“I think Delaware needs an insurance outsider,” Navarro said. “Someone who has a proven track record of standing up to the big banks, someone who has protected people his entire adult life, and someone who really has a history of righting the wrongs, of standing up and helping people.”

Navarro defeated incumbent Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart in the Democratic primary by nine percentage points. Cragg narrowly won his Republican primary by less than 1,000 votes.

Both candidates disagree with how Weldin Stewart ran the office.

“I think the office could have been more visible and much more aggressive,” Cragg said. “One of the issues was the ever increasing insurance costs and the effect it has on Delawareans and family budgets.”

Navarro agreed: “I wouldn’t be running for this office if I thought that it was managed properly, if I thought that Delaware was getting a fair shake. If I thought that the insurance industry was being at least fair to Delawareans, and the reality is that it hasn’t been.”

Navarro was elected New Castle County Sheriff in 2010 after serving as a member of the County Police, including 12 years as the department’s spokesman. He was reelected in 2014.

Cragg was the Republican nominee for governor in 2012. He was defeated in 2012 as Governor Jack Markell was elected to a second term. Markell beat Cragg by more than 160,000 votes, a difference of 41 percentage points.

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