By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Local insurance professionals welcomed state Insurance Commissioner John Doak to their monthly meeting this past week. The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors has 55,000 members nationwide, all volunteers. The organization’s mission is to protect and grow the businesses of professional advisors.
The local NAIFA - Central Oklahoma group has 40 members and includes Norman, Cleveland and McClain counties. Doak presented outgoing NAIFA-Central Oklahoma President Greg Huffman with a special plaque in honor of his service and gave a pin to incoming president Mark Woody.
Doak said that the best line of defense for consumers is a licensed agent or broker. With so many recovering from tornado and flooding damage, the role of licensed professionals has become clear.
“We want them to treat Oklahomans with common sense,” Doak said of insurance adjusters and other professionals who work with consumers to handle claims.
“We live here, it’s not a matter of if, it’s when we’re going to have weather,” he said.
Dr. Rick Farmer, deputy commissioner of government affairs, public policy and communications for Doak’s office conducted a continuing education workshop for NAIFA members covering recent legislative action that will impact their business.
One of the most significant changes is in antifraud measures. When Doak was elected, insurance fraud was a misdemeanor. Now felony and, in some cases, racketeering charges can apply.
The commissioner has also worked to prevent exploitation of the elderly and computer crimes involving money, Farmer said.
NAIFA members asked questions following Farmer’s presentation. Of concern at this time is the number of roofers coming in from out of state and totaling out roofs.
Insurance companies have been dealing with the roof issue long before the May tornadoes, Jim Chowins said.
“We have got to get regulations on these roofers,” he said. “If they have a hammer and a ladder, they’re a roofer.”
NAIFA-Central Oklahoma meets the first Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Norman. For information call Mark Woody at 360-8836.