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RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has named Joseph F. Damico its chief administrative officer.

Damico joins the Commission on July 25, 2024. He recently served as the deputy director the Richmond Department of Public Works. Prior to that, Damico served in leadership roles for more than 21 years at the Virginia Department of General Services (DGS), including six years as the director. He has over 30 years of public service experience. 

As the SCC’s chief administrative officer, Damico will oversee administrative divisions responsible for the SCC’s budget, human resources, computer technology, data security, public relations, procurement and facilities management. 

At DGS, Damico oversaw its statewide scope of responsibilities managing Virginia’s public health and environmental laboratory; procurement of non-technology goods and services; capital outlay management; construction management; real estate; management and maintenance of Capitol Square grounds and buildings; fleet management; the state and federal surplus property programs; and mail delivery at the seat of government. Damico managed an agency with more than 700 authorized employees and an annual operational budget of approximately $270 million, with an additional approximately $500 million in capital outlay projects. Among the major initiatives he led was the construction and renovation of projects to enhance and preserve Capitol Square, including that of the new General Assembly Building, Old City Hall, the Barbara Johns Building and Reid’s Row – all historically significant buildings – as well as repairs to the Capitol and enhancements to the grounds in and around the Capitol. 

Damico replaces Samuel A. Nixon Jr., who is retiring this month after nine years with the SCC. Prior to joining the SCC, Nixon was the chief information officer of the Commonwealth and the director of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency from 2010 to 2015. Nixon was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1994 to 2010, representing Chesterfield County.

The SCC, established in 1902 by the Constitution of Virginia, holds jurisdiction over many businesses that directly impact Virginia consumers. The SCC’s authority encompasses utilities, insurance, a health benefit exchange, state-chartered financial institutions, securities, retail franchising, railroads, and underground utility safety.

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Contact: Greg Weatherford, 804-371-9141

 

RICHMOND – Longtime Commissioner Theodore “Ted” Morrison Jr. was remembered by fellow former commissioners as tough yet thoughtful, with a sharp legal mind and an encyclopedic knowledge of the Virginia General Assembly.  

Morrison, who died July 6, 2024, “could push hard,” recalled former Commissioner James Dimitri, who faced Morrison’s sharp questions both while working under him as SCC general counsel and while appearing before him in the courtroom. “But he would in the end work to be fair about what he was doing.”

Before serving as Commissioner from 1989 to 2008 – including six stints as chairman – Morrison served for 20 years in the Virginia House of Delegates. He was named to and helped lead many influential legislative committees and commissions including the Virginia Code Commission, the legislative body that arranges for the codification and incorporation of laws into the Code of Virginia. He was a founding member of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and chief patron of a bill creating the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

When elected Commissioner, Morrison brought that wealth of experience and insight on the General Assembly to the SCC.

Said former Commissioner Hullihen Williams Moore, “He not only knew the law, he knew the people who were making those laws.

Moore added, “He was a very fine, smart, helpful, articulate colleague. And he always told you what he thought.”

FERC Commissioner Mark Christie, who served alongside Morrison as SCC Commissioner, noted, “The first time I sat on a hearing where Ted presided, I knew I would learn how to preside over a hearing from him, so I better pay close attention – and I always did. I think it is fair to say Ted Morrison did not suffer fools gladly (and I do not exclude myself, as he occasionally made clear – but I learned each time).”

Christie continued, “He was the epitome of what an SCC judge should be: scrupulously fair both to consumers and to utilities and other regulated businesses, including banks and insurance companies. He was very concerned to make sure that consumers were treated fairly, and he brought that concern to protect consumers to the SCC."

Christie concluded, “I have always taken that lesson to heart, and in that sense Ted Morrison has always been my role model for how regulators should fulfill their duties. After Ted had retired, I frequently asked myself, ‘What would Ted do?’ And the answer was usually the right answer.”

Former Commissioner Judith Jagdmann called Morrison “a force of nature.”

“I had the pleasure of working both for and with him,” she added. “Like many intelligent and highly accomplished individuals, the judge was not known for his patient demeanor or subtlety. He expected you to know your position and defend it.  While he didn’t expect perfection, he demanded honesty and diligence. The Commission and the citizens of Virginia benefited greatly from his service. I count it a privilege to have served with him.”

Morrison attended Newport News High School and Emory University in Atlanta, where he graduated first in his class and was admitted to the Georgia bar before graduation.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Sharon Bundy Morrison, and three sons. A stepson preceded him in death. A memorial service has not yet been scheduled.

Morrison’s work at the SCC helped shape its culture, say those who worked with him. In summing up Morrison's vast contributions, SCC Chairman Jehmal Hudson stated, “Ted never strayed from his commitment to providing the highest possible quality of public service. He took great pride in the Commission and its employees. Virginians can take great pride in Ted’s leadership and his enduring legacy. It is an honor to count him among the ranks of our commissioners.”

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Contact: Andy Farmer, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Summer has arrived, and the State Corporation Commission (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) encourages Virginians to assess their insurance coverages before hitting the road, the beach or the water.

“Don’t let a lack of insurance coverage put a damper on your summer fun,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Anticipate summer hazards now to minimize their potential financial damage by ensuring your insurance coverage is adequate and up to date.”

Know your coverage 
In the event of a theft, a medical emergency, an injury on your property, or damage to your home or vehicle, know the limits of your coverage and if you need additional insurance. Also understand your insurance deductibles and how to file a claim.

Swimming pools 
Do you have a pool? Homeowners policies will typically provide “other structures” coverage for in- or above-ground permanent pools. Smaller non-secured pools are typically protected by personal property coverage. Contact your company or agent to confirm what your policy will cover.

Keep an inventory 
When it comes to personal property, the Bureau reminds Virginians to review and update home inventories to help determine appropriate coverage for belongings and help with the claims process if damage or other property loss occurs. Free smartphone apps like the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) – NAIC Home Inventory – makes creating a home inventory quick and easy.

High water can affect anyone 
Homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies issued in Virginia typically do not cover damage due to flooding, surface water or storm surge. The federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers flood and flood-related insurance coverage. Bear in mind there may be a 30-day waiting period for policies to take effect; trying to get coverage right before an impending storm or potential flood might be too late. Contact the NFIP at 1 800-427-4661 or visit floodsmart.gov for more information, or contact your insurance agent or company regarding coverage options.

Travel Considerations 
If summer includes travel plans, understand your health insurance coverage in case you need medical treatment at an urgent-care facility or hospital. Keep policy information and insurance cards with you and be sure emergency contact information is current. If you buy travel insurance, understand what is and isn’t covered before your trip, including any exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

Autos and RVs 
Review your auto insurance policy prior to hitting the road. Check liability limits to ensure proper protection against personal injury or property damage because of an accident. Keep a copy of your insurance card with you and know what to do if an accident occurs. 

Recreational vehicle (RV) insurance covers risks similar to auto insurance including collision, comprehensive and liability coverage. Personal belongings on board, equipment and attached accessories such as awnings and satellite dishes may require additional coverage. Virginia does not require individuals to purchase RV insurance, but lenders may require it.

Boats and other watercraft 
Boat owners are encouraged to evaluate their insurance coverages before getting out on the water. Policy coverage on boats includes collision, property damage liability, bodily injury liability and comprehensive. Additional coverage options available include medical payments, personal property, roadside assistance, damages and injuries suffered in accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured boaters. Personal watercraft (PWC) may require separate coverage. Depending on the size, type and value, some watercraft may even be covered as part of your homeowners policy.

For more information about these or other insurance-related topics, contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance in Richmond at 804-371-9741 or toll-free at 1 877-310-6560, or visit its website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance.

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Contact: Jordan Bondurant, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Seniors lose billions of dollars annually due to financial exploitation. The loss to individual victims averages tens of thousands of dollars. Many times, the financial exploitation goes unreported.

On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15), the State Corporation Commission (SCC) reminds seniors, caregivers, financial professionals and all Virginians to recognize the signs of elder financial abuse and know how to report it.

Financial abuse can take many forms, including efforts to sell seniors fraudulent investments in person, online or by phone, or attempts to access their investment accounts for personal gain. It can be perpetrated by friends, family, caregivers, financial professionals or strangers. Seniors who have disabilities, rely on others for help or are socially isolated are especially vulnerable.

“Senior financial exploitation can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone,” said Doug Joyce, director of the State Corporation Commission’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising (Division). “Increasingly, seniors are being targeted by scammers. Perpetrators often strike when seniors are most vulnerable such as during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one. Social isolation and seniors’ increased reliance on the internet for many daily activities only compound the problem.”

In some cases, scammers may target their victims using personal details gleaned from obituaries and social media posts. Some may exploit established relationships within a senior’s social and support groups to become more involved in their life.

Possible red flags of senior financial abuse include the following:

  • Surrendering passwords and control of finances to a new or overly protective friend or caregiver;
  • Suspicious signatures on checks or other documents;
  • Unusual activity in investment or bank accounts, including large, frequent or unexplained withdrawals or transfers between accounts;
  • Unusual or sudden changes to beneficiary designations or to legal or financial documents involving investments, such as power of attorney, wills, trusts, retirement accounts or insurance policies, or documents that suddenly go missing;
  • Unexplained financial activities, such as the disappearance or “gifting” of assets, valuables or securities;
  • Fear of or sudden change in feelings toward friends or family members; and
  • A lack of knowledge by a senior about their financial status or reluctance to discuss financial matters.

Joyce encourages Virginians who suspect they or a loved one are the victims of investment fraud or possible senior financial exploitation to contact the Division by telephone (in Richmond at 804-371-9051 or toll-free at 1-800-552-7945), or by email at SRF_General@scc.virginia.gov. Additional information is available on the Division’s Invest Wisely web page at InvestWiselyVA.com.

The North American Securities Administrators Association, of which the Division is a member, also has developed resources to help individuals identify investment fraud and know how to report suspected elder financial abuse. These resources are available at nasaa.org/investor-education/senior-investor-resource-center/.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Hurricane season is just around the corner, and the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) reminds Virginians that the time to plan is now. This includes reviewing your insurance policies to make sure you have the coverage you need if a hurricane or other disaster strikes.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 each year. Once a hurricane develops in the Atlantic, it may be difficult to find an insurance company willing to write hurricane-related coverage for your home, vehicle or business until after the storm threat passes

“Protect yourself physically and financially against hurricanes and other disasters. It’s never too early to start,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Hurricanes can wreak havoc on your home and other property. Review your insurance policies now and know what is and is not covered. If you have questions, contact your insurance agency or company or the Bureau of Insurance.”

Even areas hundreds of miles from the coast can experience floods and other damage caused by hurricanes’ high winds and torrential rains. Most hurricane damage is caused by flooding, not high winds. Even minor floods can cause extensive damage to your home, vehicle, business or belongings.

The Bureau offers the following reminders: 

  • Homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies issued in Virginia typically do not cover damage caused by floods, surface water or storm surge. The federal government sells insurance for direct flood and flood-related damage to homeowners, renters and businesses in eligible communities through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Keep in mind that there is typically a 30-day waiting period for a new flood insurance policy to take effect. To learn more about this program, contact your insurance agent or the NFIP at 877-336-2627 or visit floodsmart.gov. Some private insurers also offer their own flood policies, so check with your insurance agent about the availability of a private flood insurance policy. In either case, ask whether your flood policy provides coverage for your personal property.  
  • Some homeowners policies require a special deductible for wind or hurricane losses. These deductibles may be applied separately from any other deductible on the homeowners policy. Deductibles may be written as a flat amount, such as $1,000, or as a percentage of the insurance coverage limit on the dwelling, such as 2% of a $200,000 coverage limit ($4,000). Remember that the deductible is the amount that you must pay before the insurance company pays its portion of a claim. 
  • Prepare a complete inventory of your personal property including photographs, videos and serial numbers. Having a home inventory can facilitate the claims process if damage occurs. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a free smartphone app that can facilitate this process. The app is available at naic.org/consumer/home-inventory. Keep your insurance policies and home inventory together in a secure, waterproof and fireproof place. 
  • Know what to do if your property is damaged by a hurricane. Contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. As soon as it is safe to do so, make any necessary emergency repairs and take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to your property. Additionally, make a list of all damage to your property and include photographs, notes and repair-related receipts.
  • If you must evacuate, know the name of your insurance company and take your homeowners, auto and other insurance policies and your home inventory with you, or make sure you can access these important documents electronically. The policies will contain your policy numbers and the phone numbers of your insurance companies in case you have questions or need to file a claim. 

The Bureau of Insurance offers free consumer guides for homeowners and commercial property owners with information about what to do when a disaster strikes. These and many other consumer insurance guides are available at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance. The Bureau’s specially trained staff stand ready to assist consumers with their insurance-related questions and concerns. To learn more, contact the Consumer Services Section of the Bureau’s Property and Casualty Division toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9185. 

For additional emergency preparedness information regarding hurricanes and other types of disasters and hazards, visit vaemergency.gov

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is offering time for members of the public to give oral comments by telephone on Appalachian Power Company’s 2024 Biennial Review of Rates. In the review, the SCC will analyze the company’s base rates as well as the terms and conditions for the provision of generation, distribution, and transmission services. 

In its application, Appalachian Power requests to increase revenues by approximately $95 million, or 5.1 percent. The company states that the factors that contributed to its request include cost recovery for restoring service during major storms, increases in capital, material and labor costs, and rising interest rates. 

The overall impact of the company’s proposals would increase the monthly bill of a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month by approximately $10.22, or 6 percent. 

The SCC has scheduled a public witness session to begin at 10 a.m. on September 9, 2024. Public witnesses intending to provide oral testimony must pre-register with the SCC by 5 p.m. on September 4, 2024. The hearing will be webcast at: scc.virginia.gov/pages/Webcasting.

Public witnesses wishing to provide oral testimony may pre-register in one of three ways: 

  • Completing a public witness form for case number PUR-2024-00024 on the SCC’s website at: scc.virginia.gov/pages/Webcasting 
  • E-mailing the same form (PDF version on the same website as above) to SCCInfo@scc.virginia.gov
  • Calling the SCC at 804-371-9141 during normal business hours (8:15 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and providing your name and the phone number you wish the Commission to call to reach you during the hearing
  • To promote fairness for all public witnesses, each witness will be allotted five minutes to provide testimony. 

A public evidentiary hearing will follow the public witness hearing at 10 a.m. on September 10, 2024, in the SCC’s second floor courtroom at 1300 East Main Street in Richmond to receive testimony and evidence from the company, any respondents and the SCC staff.  

For those who prefer, there is also an opportunity to provide comments in writing on the Appalachian Power application. Written comments may be submitted through the SCC’s website by September 4, 2024, at scc.virginia.gov/casecomments/Submit-Public-Comments. Simply go to the SCC website, select "Cases" and then "Submit Public Comments," and scroll down to case number PUR-2024-00024. Then select SUBMIT COMMENTS. 

Comments can also be submitted by U.S. mail to the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission, c/o Document Control Center, P.O. Box 2118, Richmond, Virginia 23218-2118. All comments must refer to case number PUR-2024-00024. 

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Contact: Andy Farmer, 804-371-9141

Case Number PUR-2024-00024 – Appalachian Power Company’s 2024 biennial review of rates, terms and conditions for the provision of generation, distribution, and transmission services 

 

RICHMOND – Kelsey A. Bagot was sworn in today as the 39th commissioner of the State Corporation Commission (SCC). Bagot was elected by the General Assembly to fill a term ending January 31, 2030.

Prior to being elected to the Commission, Bagot was a Senior Attorney at NextEra Energy, Inc. Previously she served as Legal Advisor to Commissioner Mark C. Christie at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Christie served on the SCC for almost 17 years before joining FERC.

Bagot also served as a trial attorney at FERC as well as an associate at Troutman Saunders LLP and Van Ness Feldman LLP in Washington, D.C.

Bagot earned her Bachelor’s Degree from American University and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

The other two SCC commissioners are Jehmal T. Hudson, the current chair, and Samuel T. Towell. The commissioners serve six-year terms.

Established in 1902, the SCC’s authority encompasses utilities, insurance, a health benefit exchange, state-chartered financial institutions, securities, retail franchising, railroad safety, and underground utility damage prevention. The Commission also serves as the Commonwealth’s central filing office for all entities formed or registered under Virginia corporate law. 

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Contact: Andy Farmer, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – April is National Safe Digging Month, and the State Corporation Commission’s Division of Utility and Railroad Safety (URS) is reminding all Virginians that digging with C.A.R.E. will help keep you safe and protect the Commonwealth’s underground utility infrastructure, communities, business districts and environment.

The steps to safe digging in Virginia are:

  • Contact VA811 before you dig.
  • Allow the required time for marking the utilities.
  • Respect and protect the marks.
  • Excavate carefully.

Whether you’re a professional contractor, do-it-yourselfer or homeowner, you have an important role in preventing damage to underground utilities. No matter how big or small the project, contacting VA811 to request the marking of underground utility lines before digging will help avoid physical injury, property damage, costly repairs, and service interruptions.

Contact VA811 by visiting va811.com, or calling 8-1-1 or 1-800-552-7001 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding legal state and national holidays. (Emergency notification service is available 24/7, 365 days a year.)

For more information about safe digging and demolition, contact URS at 804-371-9980 or visit the Damage Prevention page on the SCC website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Damage-Prevention.

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Contact: Jordan Bondurant, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – The arrival of spring can usher in tornadoes, strong winds, hailstorms, flash floods, lightning and other extreme weather. Severe weather can strike anywhere and anytime. Advance planning is the key to protecting yourself, your loved ones and your property, both physically and financially.

The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) encourages Virginians to plan now for potentially extreme spring weather. “Assess your risk and make sure you have the insurance coverage you need if severe weather causes damage to your home, business, vehicles or other property,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “If you have questions, contact your insurance agent or company or the Bureau of Insurance.”

The Bureau encourages Virginians to consider the following:

  • Review your insurance policy and update it, if needed. Understand what it does and does not cover, as well as any deductibles you may have to pay when filing a claim.
  • Create a detailed inventory of your belongings including photos, serial numbers, videos and receipts.
  • Keep electronic copies of your homeowners, auto and other insurance policies with your home inventory and, if possible, store paper files in a safe, fireproof and waterproof place. Take these documents with you if you must evacuate. These records will contain your policy numbers and the phone numbers of your insurance companies in case you have questions or need to file a claim.

Keep in mind that homeowners and renters insurance policies issued in Virginia typically do not cover damage resulting from floods, surface water or storm surges. The federal government, however, does sell insurance for direct flood and flood-related damage to homeowners, renters and businesses in eligible communities through its National Flood   Insurance Program (NFIP). There is typically a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect. To learn more, contact your insurance agent; call the NFIP at 877-336-2627; or visit fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

Automobile other-than-collision insurance coverage, often called "comprehensive" insurance coverage, helps pay to repair or replace vehicles if they are stolen or damaged by such things as fire, water, wind, hail, vandalism, glass breakage, falling objects or contact with an animal.

Know what to do if your home, business, vehicles or other property are damaged as a result of a severe weather event. The Bureau recommends the following:

  • Once the danger or risk has passed, contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible.
  • Take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to your property once it is safe to do so.
  • Record all damage to your property with photographs, notes and repair-related receipts.

The Bureau offers free consumer guides for homeowners and commercial property owners with information about what to do when a disaster strikes. These and many other consumer insurance guides are available on the Bureau’s website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance.

The Bureau’s specially trained staff can assist consumers with their insurance-related questions and concerns. To learn more, contact the Consumer Services Section of the Bureau’s Property and Casualty Division toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9185.

For additional emergency preparedness information relating to various types of disasters and hazards, visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website at vaemergency.gov

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Samuel T. Towell was sworn in today as the 38th commissioner of the State Corporation Commission (SCC). Towell was elected by the General Assembly to fill an unexpired term ending January 31, 2028.

Prior to being elected to the Commission, Towell was the Associate General Counsel at Smithfield Foods, Inc. Previously, he served for five years as Virginia’s Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation. In that role, he supervised the Insurance and Utilities Regulatory Section which appears before the SCC, the Consumer Protection Section, and the Office of Civil Rights, among others.

Towell also served as the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry under Governor Terrence R. McAuliffe and as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Finance under Governor Mark R. Warner. In the private sector, Towell was a litigation attorney with McGuireWoods LLP and Williams Mullen, P.C. He also served as a judicial clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Towell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Towell joins Commissioner Jehmal T. Hudson, the current chair, who was appointed by Governor Ralph Northam and took office in July 2020.

Established in 1902, the SCC’s authority encompasses utilities, insurance, a health benefit exchange, state-chartered financial institutions, securities, retail franchising, railroad safety, and underground utility damage prevention. The Commission also serves as the Commonwealth’s central filing office for all entities formed or registered under Virginia corporate law.

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Contact: Andy Farmer, 804-371-9141

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