Doak announces re-election bid here; Insurance commissioner launches bid at luncheon (Muskogee Phoenix)

By D.E. Smoot

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak launched his bid for re-election Thursday during a Rotary Club luncheon at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

The Tulsa native was elected to his first term in 2010, which he describes as the culmination of combining his passions for politics and insurance. Doak said his second-term goal is to make sure insurance companies “take care of claims and take care of consumers.”

“I think the main focus, and the thing I am most proud of is taking care of Oklahomans who have been impacted by catastrophes,” Doak said during an interview before his announcement. “We have over 100,000 Oklahomans right now that are dealing with claims — I have personally been at their driveways and personally interacted with them and personally called insurance companies and held them accountable and get their homes paid.”

Among his first-term accomplishments, Doak cited the “passage of the first-ever Oklahoma Insurance Consumer Bill of Rights.” Those rights include laws that were already on the books along with some new laws for which he and his office advocated.

“We put them in a form that Oklahoma consumers could easily understand and are … key issues to their day-to-day interactions with insurance companies related to home and auto,” Doak said. “It covers topics much like the acceptance or denial of applications and claims.”

While the timing of Doak’s announcement was unknown until today, it seemed clear he planned to compete for a second term by reviewing campaign contributions that have accumulated during his first two years in office.

Data compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics show Doak raked in $533,088 from 355 contributors From Jan. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2012. Documents filed with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission show he has raised $85,600 this year. Combined contributions to date surpass the $447,000 he collected from donors during his 2010 statewide bid — Doak contributed 294,600 to his first campaign for a total of $741,624.

Reports generated online at show Doak has attracted quite of bit of money from contributors outside the state. Doak’s campaign contributions from out-of-state contributors during his 2010 bid made up 5.6 percent of his total, but that number soared to 38.3 percent during his first two years in office.

Doak attributed his growing appeal to outside contributors to a higher profile due to his involvement with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The organization “is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators.”

“That has given me some public prominence around the country,” Doak said, noting his recent appointment as chairman of the organization’s Native American committee. “My profile has been raised related to tornadoes and catastrophic preparedness, speaking around the country and hoping other states … do what we do best in Oklahoma: Take care of each other.”

Doak has been taken to task for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act. A statement he made earlier this year that health insurance premiums would “skyrocket” under Obamacare was described as inflammatory by the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

A statement released by the Tulsa-based think tank said Doak’s estimates were “not based on data, but rather on informal conversations that his staff apparently had with some insurance carriers.” Doak stood by his assessment Thursday, but he included in his definition of skyrocketing premium costs “as probably anything over 5 percent.”

“They do know the insurance rates have gone up because that is the area I regulate, and our actuaries … (show) these rates have gone up,” Doak said, adding that higher deductibles under the new plans also will pose problems for consumers. “The only provision to keep those rates affordable are the subsidies, which are something the Oklahoma Insurance Department does not regulate … so the only thing I can speak to is rates.”

With regard to any prospective opponents, Doak said if there are any he is “up for the challenge.”

“I am going to continue to do the very best job I can everyday .. and I hope that the people of Oklahoma would send be back for a second term,” Doak said. “I am looking forward to the future and what I can do for Oklahoma.”


Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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