OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak today announced that a final accounting of Insurance Department expenditures revealed his administration spent nearly $675,000 less during 2011, his first year in office, than the Insurance Department spent in calendar year 2010.
For the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2011, the Insurance Department spent $11,160,855.28 compared to $11,833,228.01 in 2010, a total savings of $672,372.73 from year to year. Doak attributed the savings to efficiency efforts initiated by his administration upon taking office in January 2011.
“I’ve pledged to run government more like a business, and in business you try to make every dollar count,” Doak said. “Efficiency is the name of the game, because Oklahomans deserve fiscally responsible government.”
Reorganization in several divisions has resulted in a net reduction in personnel. A newer, better electronic licensing system has improved efficiency in that division and the Insurance Department is also using technology to deliver more information electronically to consumers and producers alike, reducing the amount and cost of printed materials.
“The Insurance Department reduced its overall spending in 2011 despite increasing its exposure and access to Oklahoma’s consumers,” Doak added. “Our Consumer Assistance team was present at numerous public events to answer questions and educate Oklahoma’s insurance customers. Our new CAT team made a concerted effort to put boots on the ground at many of Oklahoma’s biggest disaster scenes in a record year for natural catastrophes. And, I personally visited with leaders and taxpayers in every one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.”
Doak noted that controlling the cost of government is important even though only a small fraction of the Insurance Department’s budget comes from taxpayer funds appropriated by the Legislature. The bulk of OID funding is through premium taxes and various fees assessed to the insurance companies that do business in the state.
The Insurance Department plans to seek “non-appropriated” status in the upcoming 2012 legislative session. If the Legislature approves the change, in the future the OID would no longer receive any taxpayer funding appropriated by the Legislature.
“Operating an efficient Insurance Department that functions without need of appropriated funds would save Oklahoma taxpayers around $2 million annually in future years,” Doak concluded.