State Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland was in Woodward Tuesday discussing the role of the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

“We are trying to restore public confidence in the department,” Holland said.

Holland, who was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry after the resignation of former Commissioner Carol Fisher, told a crowd of around 35 about the department’s strategic planning process that had been started when she came into office.

“We want to maintain a balance of insurance companies, increase the impact on Oklahoma’s economy through insurance, and also keep protecting customers as well as being a reliable source of information for all Oklahomans,” Holland said.

Holland also told the crowd about the new updates to the fraud department.

“The fraud department is now considered a section of Oklahoma law enforcement which in turn means easier access to Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation files among other things. The Oklahoma Insurance Department will not tolerate any form of fraud in our state,” Holland said.

Holland took the opportunity to lay out the role of her department.

“The Oklahoma Insurance Department is here to foster healthy competition between companies to keep rates low, protect, educate, and advocate for consumers, act as an unbiased and reliable source for policy makers, and also license and regulate insurance agents and companies such as real-estate appraisers, funeral directors, and bail bondsmen,” Holland said.

Holland also touched on insurance rates in the state.

She said, “The Oklahoma Insurance Department cannot lower or raise rates in the state but we can encourage competition to keep rates low and also let companies know if their rates are to low for solvency purposes. As for rates here in Oklahoma on a national average are actually very low compared to other states.”

Holland said the Oklahoma Insurance Department contributes $200 million annually to the state’s general fund and is second to only the Tax Commission in contributions.

This is the second town hall-type meeting this year for Holland and she has three more planned for the year as well in McAlester, Lawton, and Muskogee.

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