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National Tornado Summit at the Cox Convention Center quickly approaching

by Bryan Painter Published: January 24, 2014
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The National Tornado Summit is scheduled for Feb. 10-11 at the Cox Convention Center.

The purpose of the event is to improve disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery in order to save lives and property in the United States, according to organizers of the Tornado Summit.

In addition, the summit serves as a national forum for insurance professionals and regulators as well as international, national and state experts to exchange ideas and recommend new policies to improve emergency management.

The Summit includes:

  • A two-day tradeshow intended to connect participants with resources, services, and products
  • General sessions with presentations on Crisis & Disaster Communications, Business & Home Safety, Disaster Stress, and Reinsurance
  • More than 25 breakout sessions featuring international, national, and state experts
  • Continuing education credits for insurance professionals
  •  A Tour of the National Weather Center in Norman.

To register for the National Tornado Summit or for other information regarding the Summit, please go to: http://www.tornadosummit.org/

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With the Summit in mind, following is a brief Q&A with Insurance Commissioner John Doak:

Q: Please explain the importance of The National Tornado Summit:

1) To your department

2) To the public in terms of safety

 

A. The summit is important to the Oklahoma Insurance Department because we strive to be a leader in consumer assistance. This conference helps us anticipate their needs and even prevent problems before they arise. Under title 36 of the state statute where it describes the duties of Insurance Commissioner, the first thing it mentions is to educate the public. I take that very seriously. This summit helps us accomplish that goal.

B. This summit allows insurance, weather and emergency management professionals to collaborate, share ideas, discuss problems and find solutions to common goals – saving lives, mitigating damages and helping families and communities quickly recover from disaster. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you get all the key players together in the same room to discuss an issue. We’ve already put several initiatives from previous summits into place, including the idea of an insurance village. We set it up at Moore First Baptist Church. It was really a one-stop shop for tornado survivors to meet with an adjuster, file their claim, go to the ATM, get some food and much more. It was tremendously successful. That idea came out of the National Tornado Summit.

Q: What is one specific thing you or your department learned from the severe weather – including the tornadoes and floods – of May 2013 that will help you as you serve the public during the severe weather in 2014?

A:  We learned how critically important it is to have an accurate, up-to-date home inventory, and how important it is to read and understand your policy. Those two things alone can save you so much time and money after disaster strikes. We also learned that the insurance industry is incredibly strong in Oklahoma. The response from the industry and our Catastrophe team members was incredible. They went above and beyond to take care of consumers and I can’t thank them enough for that.

Q: Although May is the peak month for tornadoes, they have been recorded in every month in Oklahoma, since at least 1950. With that in mind, please share why is it important in February for emergency personnel as well as residents of Oklahoma, to think about tornado preparedness?

A: When it comes to disasters in Oklahoma, you can never plan too early. Our goal is to give these professionals enough time to take what they learned and put it into action so that when May rolls around, they’re ready. Oklahoma residents should also start planning now, before the spring storm season begins, by reviewing their insurance policy with a licensed agent or broker and making sure they have a severe weather safety plan in place.


by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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