Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak unveiled a so-called bill of rights for homeowners and automobile policy holders in the state Tuesday in hopes of raising awareness of state laws that protect consumers.
The consumers' bill of rights highlights existing Oklahoma laws regulating the insurance industry that consumers might not be aware of, Doak said at a news conference at the state Capitol. The Insurance Department has printed pamphlets outlining the bill of rights
State Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Tulsa and Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, have authored a joint resolution identifying the laws as Oklahoma's Insurance Consumer Bill of Rights.
“It doesn't matter that these laws are already on the books if consumers don't know what they are,” Brinkley said.
The laws are scattered throughout state statutes and are hard for consumers to find, Doak said. The Insurance Department fields more than 30,000 calls from consumers each year with questions. For example, consumers might not know how long an insurance company has to respond to a claim.
Laws that protect homeowners related to weather-related insurance claims are particularly important for consumers in Oklahoma, Doak said, recalling the hail storms that hit central Oklahoma last week.
For example, he said, insurance companies cannot bill consumers surcharges for weather-related claims, under Oklahoma law.
“In Oklahoma, it's not a matter of if, but when, for weather,” Doak said. “This bill of rights deals with basic issues that all consumers need to be aware of.”