The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 11, 2011

Doak looks to bring more insurance companies to state

By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak said Monday he wants to bring more insurance companies to Oklahoma.

“The more competition we have, I think, is better for all of us at the end of the day,” Doak said while speaking to Enid Rotary Club. “That brings rates down, they expand coverage; they give us different options.”

As a result, Doak said Oklahoma Insurance Department is putting together a marketing department to help bring insurers to Oklahoma.

“If we can have more insurance companies look here, that means they potentially bring jobs,” Doak said.

Bringing new insurance companies to Oklahoma is only one of Doak’s goals to improving insurance options in the state.

Another of his goals is to improve earthquake insurance selection.

“There are very few markets in Oklahoma that run earthquake insurance,” Doak said. “I’d view it as one of my jobs to go out there and see if we can find more markets to come into Oklahoma.”

At several times during his talk, Doak said he wanted to make it a point to be out and around the state, especially in the aftermath of natural disasters, to ensure residents get treated fairly by insurance companies.

“I’ve been around the state, and I believe this is one of the hallmarks of mine that I’m leaving the insurance department as your insurance commissioner needs to be out with you,” Doak said. “Insurance is something you can’t see, feel or touch until you need it, until ... all you have left is just a driveway. Then you want your insurance company to step up and pay.

“We’ve helped approve adjusters on a more timely basis when things like (tornadoes, fires and snowstorms) have happened. We’ve developed a first-ever catastrophe plan to bring the insurance community together so we have a plan when something like this happens, where we can get out there, get the adjusters on the ground and get more first responders (involved).”

Doak said Oklahoma needs to be better prepared for devastating storms and other disasters, and he said he wants to make sure the state has the correct number of home and auto markets to be able to withstand those disasters.

Regarding the 2010 Health Care Reform Act passed by Congress last year, Doak said he’s going to take a wait-and-see approach on it until 2014, when many parts of the law become effective.

In the meantime, he said he is in favor of private health care exchanges.

“I believe firmly that an exchange, if it’s put together, it needs to be in the private sector ... but it doesn’t need to be another government agency, which I think then leads to another set of problems,” he said.