Storm victim help

A new law requested by Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak aims to protect Oklahoma storm victims.

Senate Bill 439, signed by Gov. Mary Fallin, ensures transparency and accountability in the insurance adjusting process, said Doak.

“After a natural disaster, storm survivors are vulnerable. This new law will protect Oklahomans by making sure all public adjusters follow the same rules,” Doak said.

Public adjusters are licensed insurance claims adjusters who appraise and negotiate an insurance claim on behalf of the policyholder. Unlike an insurance company adjuster, public adjusters advocate for the claimant.

Senate Bill 439, by Sen. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore, and Rep. Randy Grau, R-Oklahoma City, specifies new rules including:

Cannot charge more than 10 percent of the total claim on a noncommercial claim after a disaster.

Must hold any insurance proceeds on behalf of the policyholder in a noninterest bearing account in a FDIC-insured bank.

Claim records must be kept for at least five years and are subject to inspection by the Insurance Commissioner.

The new law also states that unauthorized adjusting practices in the state of Oklahoma will be considered a misdemeanor.

The law goes into effect November 1.