Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Insurance Board Requests Entire Filings for Major Rate Increases

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Insurance Board Requests Entire Filings for Major Rate Increases

Article excerpt

Citing public perception concerns, the State Board for Property and Casualty Rates voted Thursday to have its staff provide board members with the entire rate filing for all major carriers requesting increases greater than 15 percent.

"I want to get a lot more involved in the nuts and bolts of the work-up that the staff is doing prior to their recommendation," said Board Member John Marshall. "I'm not trying to micromanage the staff's work; I would never do that. I'm just saying I would like to have more involvement."

Marshall noted that when he first joined the board 10 years ago, members received the entire rate filing, which could run hundreds of pages in length and often required hours of attention.

"To really focus on it, you have to sit there - and I've done this many times - and you have to go over page by page and make notes and then you have to call the staff," Marshall said. "To do it properly takes some time. If you're a volunteer board, the tendency would be to say, 'I guess the staff's right so let's go along with their recommendations.'"

That practice ended at the board's request, although Thursday's action represented a partial return to that policy. Board members asked Insurance Department staff to provide detailed information for the top five writers in any line of insurance that asks for a rate increase of more than 15 percent.

The top five writers normally represent about 60 percent of the Oklahoma market in most lines of insurance.

"What I'm doing is making myself work harder," Marshall said.

Board Member Al Jennings said there is a public perception that the board has not reined in insurers in recent months. When speaking to the "number two man" in the Oklahoma Senate recently, Jennings said he was told the board had been "pretty free" with passing rate increases.

Sen. Billy Mickle, D-Durant, serves as the Senate Majority Floor Leader. …

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