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Quakes, rattles, send Oklahoma Farm Bureau rolling

The company has quit selling earthquake coverage and is now referring customers to a third-party insurer as quake riders come up for renewal.
by Richard Mize Published: May 20, 2011

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.

Anti-social media

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.

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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