Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak spoke to community business leaders Thursday at the monthly Claremore Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Doak’s focus is consumer awareness sharing the two issues facing Oklahomans.
Uninsured motorists and homeowner rights are the areas that consumers need to be most aware of, according to Doak.
Insurance companies spend a lot of money in Oklahoma to get our attention, according to Doak.
“Ads are running 24/7. “It is not a matter of if but when we are going to have weather,” he said.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department regulates these companies and is working to insure that consumer concerns are being heard, he added.
About 560,000 people are out on the street driving without insurance, he added.
“It is a serious issue,” Doak said.
“Sit down and know your policy,” Doak said. “It is very important.”
Take a videotape of your home and put it in a lock box, he added.
Average fire class code for the state of Oklahoma is a 9, on a scale of 1 to 10.
“We are very dependent on rural fire departments,” Doak said.
That makes insurance rates higher, he added.
“It is important to have a well funded fire department,” Doak said.
“We need to keep a competitive insurance market in the state of Oklahoma and local fire departments play an important role.”
Doak travels to each county in the stated every year.
“I have taken some flak from people for traveling all over the state,” Doak said.
That travel allows consumer’s to voice their concerns, he added.
The OID regulates 90 companies in Oklahoma and approximately 1,800 foreign companies or companies based outside the state.
Additionally, the OID works with bails bondsmen, real estate appraisers, funeral homes and 135,832 agents and adjusters.
Market conduct exams and financial exams are other areas of regulation for the state agency.
“When you regulate 135,000 folks, sometimes you find that people do bad things in this financial climate,” Doak said. “It is very few people that do that, but it causes massive problems behind the scenes.”
Each year, the OID receives approximately 33,000 calls to consumer assistance, 3,535 cases are closed and approximately $4.4 million is recovered.
The agency has a consumer hotline at (800) 522-0071 to help with insurance issues and participates in Oklahoma community events.
Protection is part of the agencies role, according to Doak.
The Anti-Fraud Unit received 1,084 complaints resulting in 40 felonies presented and $63,162 being recovered.
“These are CLEET certified folks out there doing a great job,” Doak said.