Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak is better prepared to protect Oklahomans after hosting a national earthquake forum. The Center for Insurance Policy and Research summer event, All Things Earthquake, was Aug. 14 in Chicago.
“Several experts in the earthquake field presented their findings at the event,” Commissioner Doak said. “Scientific evidence and the global insurance industry are constantly evolving. This allows for risk factors to be better understood and for us to be better prepared to serve and protect the people of Oklahoma, which has always been our primary goal.”
The forum included a discussion about Oklahoma’s increased earthquake activity and any correlation to oil and gas activity. Hydrogeologist Kyle Murray from the Oklahoma Geological Survey also gave a presentation.
“We have been monitoring the rapidly advancing science on this issue for quite some time,” Commissioner Doak said. “The initial uncertainty surrounding the cause of earthquake swarms was one of the reasons I suggested a national meeting for insurance regulators. Since I proposed the meeting, scientists at both OGS and University of Memphis have concluded that many of the earthquakes in Oklahoma were likely caused by wastewater disposal wells.”
Another panel at the national forum featured insurance experts, an actuary, a trial attorney, and a representative from the energy industry. They focused on how this issue impacts consumers through insurance policies and litigation.
“Oklahomans need to have policies available to them that will cover earthquake damage as it relates to oil and gas activity,” Commissioner Doak said. “Since we have been involved in this issue, many insurance companies have taken notice and have started to examine their own coverages. I applaud the insurance industry and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for moving quickly to better protect this state’s policyholders.”
The reaction to Oklahoma’s earthquake surge has put a spotlight on the state. After last week’s forum, Commissioner Doak has heard positive feedback from many of the people in attendance, and he believes Oklahoma is setting a favorable example.
“Oklahoma is an oil and gas state, and I believe worldwide insurers and reinsurers will be monitoring all activities to provide innovative products and services to protect consumers and industries against risk regardless of the cause.”