The so-called “savant of insurance” made a brief stop at the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning.

That’s how Joan Aquilino, administrative assistant at the chamber, described Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Jr., who is serving his second stint in that position.

Redmer, a former representative in the House of Delegates for Baltimore County who previously served as insurance commissioner from 2003 to 2005, addressed local insurance professionals Thursday in downtown Frederick. He was most recently appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan in January 2015.

“This is a great community, certainly, and an important part of Maryland’s economy,” Redmer said. “The reason I am here and travel the state is insurance is kind of local. There are different issues in Frederick than there are going to be, let’s say, in Ocean City.”

In his speech, he illustrated one issue unique to the Frederick area, especially the city: flooding. Back during Hurricane Isabel in 2003, state residents filed 5,000 to 10,000 claims related to flood damage, he said.

There was a big problem, Redmer said, about the types of coverage. Some had no insurance, but others had too much or too little.

“We saw very early that it was a train wreck,” he said.

Redmer also noted the floods earlier this year, and urged residents to be informed about any insurance needs they might have.

“There are people that think they should not consider flood insurance unless they live along the Chesapeake Bay, and obviously, that’s not the case,” Redmer said. “So one of our roles ... is to educate folks as to the importance of knowing what you own, reviewing it periodically to make sure it’s appropriate based on your individual risk profile, and generally make sure folks know that we’re there.”

After his time at the Chamber of Commerce, he toured The Great Frederick Fair on Thursday afternoon.

Agriculture insurance needs can be unique, Redmer said. During his first stint as insurance commissioner, he noticed many farmers didn’t have access to the policies they needed.

“That’s when farms were beginning to explore and experiment with what I’ll call agricultural entertainment,” Redmer said. “The hayrides, pick-your-own vegetables and fruits, the wagon rides, so anytime you introduce people and invite them to your farm for a commercial venture, that’s a whole risk, that’s a whole new liability risk.”

Council faces planning, state issues next week

At first glance, next week’s County Council agenda appears light. But a closer read shows the council is to address two widespread topics: a 2018 county planning overview document, and issues to bring forward to the state delegation.

The planning document comes shortly after the council members approved Livable Frederick, the county’s master planning document. That document received the 2019 Outstanding Plan award from the state chapter of the American Planning Association, according to a county news release.

Council members will need to complete a packet of requests to the state delegation by Oct. 1. The 2020 General Assembly session opens Jan. 8.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

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