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Insure Oklahoma Extended through 2015!

July 10, 2014

 We are pleased to announce Insure Oklahoma has been granted a 1 year extension!

Governor Mary Fallin Announces Extension of Insure Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin announced the state of Oklahoma has been granted a one-year extension for the Insure Oklahoma program.

The program, scheduled to expire at the end of 2014, has been extended through Dec. 31, 2015.

 “This is great news for the thousands of adults and children who currently buy health insurance through Insure Oklahoma,” said Fallin. “These Oklahomans and their families can now be assured that they won’t lose their insurance on January 1.”

Insure Oklahoma provides health insurance for almost 19,000 working, low-income Oklahomans. It is funded by the state’s tobacco tax matched with federal dollars. This is the second extension for Insure Oklahoma in less than a year granted by the federal government, which originally considered having the program expire at the beginning of 2014.

Insure Oklahoma also serves approximately 4,280 small businesses, which rely on it for assistance in providing employer-sponsored insurance.

“The staff at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) wants to express their thanks to Governor Fallin for her support and assistance in negotiations with the federal government to keep the Insure Oklahoma program available,” said OHCA Chief Executive Officer Nico Gomez. “This extension gives us solid hope that the federal government views the program as favorably as we do and allows us to maintain it on a permanent basis. We encourage small businesses and their employees to investigate Insure Oklahoma when they shop for affordable health insurance.”

Fallin said she and her administration will continue to work with federal officials to make the program permanent. Insure Oklahoma is the kind of state-based health care option the federal government should be supporting, she said.

“For years, Insure Oklahoma has been successfully used by thousands of small businesses to help their employees purchase insurance, and it’s been a success for tens of thousands of families of modest means who would be uninsured without it.

“I would like to thank the OHCA team for their outstanding commitment to secure this extension and their dedication to successfully implementing this program,” said Fallin.

The governor said Insure Oklahoma is popular in the state; voters in 2004 approved a ballot measure to fund it through tobacco taxes.

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Oklahoma is the new earthquake capitol of the Lower 48!

Oklahoma more than doubles California in earthquakes

Oklahoma can now be considered the earthquake capitol of the Lower 48.

            UPDATED 8:50 AM CDT Jun 26, 2014                  REPOST FROM KOCO.COM
                       
 OKLAHOMA CITY —Oklahoma can now be considered the earthquake capitol of the Lower 48.

California has always been considered the place for quakes, but not this year.  As of today California has recorded 88 magnitude 3.0 or greater quakes, but Oklahoma has nearly doubled that number at 174.

Oklahoma has felt five 3.0 or greater quakes just Thursday {June 26, 2014} morning.

Alaska remains the state to recorded the greatest number of earthquakes.  As of today the state has seen 477 3.0 or greater quakes.

California and Alaska’s quakes are spread out over a large part of the state, but unlike California and Alaska, Oklahoma’s quakes have been concentrated in the sames parts of the state.  Nearly all of Oklahoma’s earthquakes have been centered in the central and northern part of the state.

Smaller earthquakes have occurred, but a magnitude 3.0 is generally considered an earthquake that can easily be felt.

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Oklahoma Option Update June 19, 2014

FIRST OKLAHOMA OPTION PROGRAMS APPROVED
The Oklahoma Insurance Department has issued the first Qualified Employer Certificates under the Oklahoma Option to workers’ compensation. Two of these “Qualified Employers” are small companies and one is a large, national employer. All of these approved applications were submitted by PartnerSource and are for programs effective on or before July 1, 2014. Many other Qualified Employer applications are now in process.

INSURANCE MARKET STATUS
Three insurance carriers have been formally approved and are quoting Oklahoma Option business. The two leading carriers are Great American Security Insurance Company and Safety National Casualty Corporation. Several more insurance companies are in the midst of product development. Dozens of Option insurance applications have been submitted for quotes, competition for business is growing, and early quotes reflect significant discounts off both expiring and renewal rates for workers’ compensation insurance. These insurance carriers (who also participate in the Texas nonsubscriber market) recognize in their underwriting the power of more employee accountability and medical management control. Knowledgeable insurance agents are getting quotes for both workers’ compensation and Option insurance coverage on every upcoming renewal to best serve their clients and protect their business.

REGULATORY STATUS
The Oklahoma Insurance Department has deliberately moved forward and made great progress in creating the new regulatory infrastructure for the Oklahoma Option. In addition to reviewing and approving applications for “Qualified Employer” status, the Department is working to finalize financial safe harbor rules, establish the guaranty funds required by statute, and address other matters important to the long-term stability and competitiveness of the Oklahoma occupational injury marketplace.

OPTION OUTLOOK
Employer and insurance agent interest in the Option is high and growing, backed by strong support from insurance agents, carriers, regulators, and legislative leaders. As expected with the development of a new model of occupational injury management, administrative and regulatory opportunities surface and are being addressed. New products and services (including more efficient program design and implementation methods for employers with low Oklahoma claims activity) are moving from conception to the street. Employers and their insurance agents should work with advisors who are knowledgeable about intricate details of how the Option really works. PartnerSource injury benefit plan, employee communication, claims administration, and compliance services are all in place and performing.

THE BOTTOM LINE FOR EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS
The Oklahoma Option is different from Texas nonsubscription by requiring various financial security controls (such as payment of a minimum level of benefits and guaranty funds), coupled with the “exclusive remedy” (eliminating the Texas negligence liability claim risk). However, the Oklahoma and Texas systems both reflect the same inverse relationship between the extent of mandated benefits and the extent of employer liability exposure.

And both systems rely upon the same math…a simple formula of

Employee Accountability + Medical Management Control =

Better Medical Outcomes + Higher Employee Satisfaction =

Employer Savings + Job Growth.

Information provided by PartnerSource, Dallas TX, a leading authority on alternatives to Workers’ Compensation.

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Oklahoma Weather Causing Insurance Premiums To Rise

Justin Dougherty, News 9

Home insurance is on a drastic increase and it could have everything to do with our weather. Insurers label it “Catastrophe Exposure.”

Wildfires, tornadoes, high winds, hail, freezing rain, snow storms and earthquakes all things that factor insurance costs and all things we’ve already seen this year.

“I’ve always loved real estate,” said Guthrie investor, James Long.

Long’s love for buying homes may be impressive, but it’s nothing compared to his love for a good deal.

“I’m always looking,” said Long.

Yet lately that deal has been hard to come by with insurance premiums. James has shopped around and found it doesn’t get much better.

“It sure is hard to digest, but to see [the] amount of increases, it’s hard to swallow,” said Long.

In one year Long saw his one property’s coverage increase by 2%, increasing his premium by 13%. In three other properties his coverage increased 46% and his premiums up 34%.

“It’s a big eye opener I haven’t processed…I just simply paid my premiums every year so I feel like they [are] just continuously getting a check from me,” said Long.

“The theory of insurance is to bring you back whole when you have a loss,” said John Doak.

Doak is the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner.

“They have to have hundreds of millions of dollars on hand at any given minute to pay out any catastrophic loses,” said Doak.

More losses occurred in Oklahoma than any other state in 2013. So while James had zero claims in the last five years, insurers work on a 5-10 year span, meaning the state must pay for the catastrophes together.

“Large numbers to spread across a large amount of people, not just isolated pockets,” said Doak.

“You can’t go uninsured,” said Long.

There is currently a proposed bill called the “Natural Disaster Deductible Bill”, which may allow homeowners to select higher deductibles and save over a period of time.

Doak also recommends residents shop around for different plans and sit down with an agent on a regular basis to make sure you have every possible discount.

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