Representatives of my department and task force members communicated regularly in the aftermath of February's snow storms. Based on their advice, I immediately issued an emergency order that enabled licensed out-of-state claims adjustors to assist Oklahomans who suffered damage from the winter storms. Without that assistance, processing the 550 claims that resulted from the storms could have been delayed significantly.
We have also met formally and the response from the insurance industry was overwhelming. They were glad to see the department taking a proactive role and desperately want to help. These people have been the boots on the ground but have lacked the support of the Insurance Department that would have made their jobs easier and would have helped to ensure Oklahomans timely received the coverage for which they had paid.
A member of the task force noted, “It is remarkable that a plan and combined effort like this has not been in place for a long time.”
That is no longer going to be the case. It is critical that the Insurance Department and the insurance companies it regulates work together in times of catastrophe to make individuals and businesses whole. The well-being of individuals and businesses across the state is at stake.
Until now, we were not well prepared. Now, we will be.
Doak was elected Oklahoma's insurance commissioner in November.