Oklahoma Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. has left the shaking buildings.
Customers are just now finding out about it, but the company, one of the largest insurance carriers in Oklahoma, took steps to drop earthquake coverage just as the state really started shaking and shimmying, four days after a Jan. 14, 2010, quake struck parts of the Oklahoma City metro area.
The magnitude-3.3 quake occurred just after 4 a.m. on a Thursday, the first of two particularly strong quakes — for Oklahoma — felt in the state last year.
The following Monday, Jan. 18, Farm Bureau notified state officials that it would quit selling earthquake riders to homeowner's insurance policies effective April 18, 2010, according to the Insurance Department.
Later, in a regular filing on Nov. 18, Farm Bureau reported that it would stop renewing earthquake coverage effective Feb. 15, according to the Insurance Department.
That notice came just more than a month after the second-largest earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma hit on Oct. 13. The 4.3 quake, centered southeast of Norman, rattled windows, dishes and nerves from west of Oklahoma City to northeast of Tulsa.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau had no comment, said Sam Knipp, vice president of corporate communications.
The change left customers rattled — and some furious.
A Muldrow man, who said he'd been paying earthquake insurance premiums for years, posted on Facebook that the company “took my money until Oklahoma and Arkansas had a couple of little quakes and then they quit.”
Exposure certainly went into the move, which state Insurance Commissioner John Doak pointed out was a “financial decision for them.” And it wasn't the first time. Allstate Insurance Co. got out of the earthquake insurance business in Oklahoma in 2006-2007, said Kari Mather, senior communications consultant.
A spot check of other carriers showed no other changes in insurance coverage options, or plans for them.
For State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., it's business as usual, spokesman John Wiscaver said. Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. also continues to offer earthquake riders, said Joe Moseley, vice president of public affairs. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. had not responded to questions by late Wednesday.
Oklahoma City-based American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Co., which does business only in Oklahoma, continues to sell earthquake riders, said Jim Overturf, director of product management and underwriting operations.
Not that American Farmers & Ranchers, or any insurance company, sells that much earthquake coverage in Oklahoma, Overturf said. Interest peaks any time more than a few people feel an earthquake, he said, but the shakes don't translate into many sales.
“It seems like when an earthquake hits the news, a lot of people inquire about it,” Overturf said, but that's it.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau referred the Muldrow man to Argenia LLC in Little Rock, Ark.
The man said he paid about $12 per year for the earthquake rider and that Argenia's first estimate was almost $200. He said Farm Bureau is working with him to find the most affordable option.