Okla. Insurance Commissioner Race Focuses On Homeowners’ Rate Hikes
|By Brianna Bailey, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Doak has no Democratic opponent, so the outcome of the primary will determine the statewide race.
Viner is a
Viner said he is running for Insurance Commissioner because his homeowners' insurance premium has skyrocketed over the past several years, a 40 percent increase this past year.
Oklahomans pay some of the highest homeowners' insurance rates in the nation, in part because of the state's propensity for severe weather, but Viner said he believes the kind of rate increases the state has seen over the past several years are excessive.
"In a nutshell, I want to regulate insurance rates in the state," Viner said. "That's what I think is the main job of the insurance commissioner. I think companies can be called upon to justify their rates and their policy provisions, which always seem to favor the companies."
Viner had yet to file a donor disclosure statement with
He has no website, has done a few radio interviews and has some black and white photocopied fliers that he is distributing to voters.
Viner said that he will not take campaign contributions from the insurance industry.
"Doak's contributors are insurance companies, insurance company lobbyists, special interest groups, I want to remain independent," Viner said. "Obviously, I don't have very much money, but I am going to stick with that because I believe an insurance commissioner should remain independent."
By the end of March,
Since taking office in
"I've given 300-plus speeches around the state and I have yet to be in a room... where everyone understands their insurance policy," Doak said. "I want people to understand their homeowners' policies."
Doak also set up a temporary command center in
"Our proactiveness in having consistent meetings and outreach programs has really been working," Doak said.
Doak has also worked to expand the
While he realizes that Oklahomans pay higher insurance rates than many parts of the nation, it's largely because of the state's history of natural disasters, Doak said. If the state were to try to regulate insurance rates, many companies would decide to pull out of the state all together, he said.
"I am working behind the scenes to keep our market viable and competitive, and that's something I am very proud of," Doak said.
(c)2014 The Oklahoman
Visit The Oklahoman at www.newsok.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services