The “police posture” that has been taken has raised many eyebrows, particularly after seeing the bill.
There has been massive controversy over the latest insurance news from Oklahoma, where a state senator has now publicly expressed his concern over the recent purchases that have been made by the state’s Insurance Department.
Senator Harry Coates (R-Seminole) intends to introduce a new bill to put a stop to the agency’s efforts.
Senator Coates feels that the agency has taken on a “police-like posture” with its recent purchase of police package vehicles, shotguns, bulletproof vests, and other forms of law enforcement equipment. He has expressed his belief that the office of Commissioner John Doak has engaged in “government overreach” and that it is inappropriate for that department to give the residents of the state the impression that the anti-fraud unit of the agency is a police force.
This insurance news has drawn the attention of the entire state as well as the rest of the country.
Coates has asked “Why would we want the insurance examiners and auditors to roll up to somebody’s building in a police-outfitted unit, unless it was to intimidate them?” He also went on to speak about Doak’s decision by saying that “If he wants his guys to wear a bulletproof vest, I don’t have a problem with that, but stay out of police vehicles. Don’t roll up there with your shotgun standing up in the rack with your light bar and all that.”
Live Insurance News reported yesterday that the agency had already spent over $180,000 on bulletproof vests, shotguns with mountable lights, and seven police package vehicles for the nine people that make up its anti-fraud team. The investigations that are typically performed by those individuals involve white collar crime involving insurance fraud or scams. This recent purchase has caused many lawmakers from both parties to wonder if the steps that are now being taken should be considered to be excessive.
Doak’s side of the insurance news is that he feels that the equipment that has been purchased is vital to the safety of the fraud investigators. He gave an example from Louisiana, in which two investigators from their state department had been shot and killed. Doak also pointed out that the funds to purchase the equipment was not directly from legislative appropriations but was instead from fees, fines, and settlements.