Incumbent, political newcomer vie for Oklahoma insurance commissioner

By: Barbara Hoberock

Tulsa World 

Oct. 10, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY - Political newcomer John Doak is trying to unseat Kim Holland as head of the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

Doak, a Republican, faces Holland, a Democrat, on the Nov. 2 ballot for state insurance commissioner.

Doak, 47, said his top issues will be working to repeal federal health-care-reform legislation, reducing the number of uninsured motorists and ensuring that the financial rating of companies and the Insurance Department continues to increase.

Doak said he has been interested in politics his entire life and that the person running the Insurance Department needs to be a "true conservative."

"What I consider Oklahoma's red-state values are going to show up on Nov. 2," Doak said.

He said he is pro-life and supports smaller government, less government regulation and getting the government closer to the people.

"I think folks want to understand that they have a commissioner who has worked with clients, helped them settle home claims to auto claims to delivering life insurance checks when someone has passed away," Doak said. "I am very proud of our industry and the men and women in Oklahoma that represent our industry."

Doak earned a bachelor's degree in 1988 in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He started a Farmer's Insurance branch in Tulsa, where he worked for six years.

After leaving Farmer's Insurance, he began working at the executive level in the insurance industry.

Gov. Brad Henry in 2005 appointed Holland to replace embattled Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher, who resigned following indictments by the state's multicounty grand jury.

She was elected to the post in 2006.

Holland, 55, has worked as an insurance consultant and broker and ran an agency that offered several lines of insurance, she said.

Holland said her top issues are financial security, uninsured motorists and the high cost of insurance.

She would also like to ensure the state has an efficient regulatory environment.

"Time is money for insurance companies," Holland said. "If they have to spend time and unnecessary effort to cut through or wade through a lot of bureaucratic red tape, that means higher premiums for our insurance. We have implemented a lot efficiency measures, predominantly through technology."

Holland earlier this year successfully challenged the constitutionality of a law that put a 1 percent fee on payments made by health carriers of health and medical services for Oklahoma residents. The measure would have applied to the self-insured.

It was designed to bring in additional federal dollars for the state's Medicaid system. The Oklahoma Supreme Court said passage of the revenue bill- in the last five days of the legislative session was unconstitutional.

Holland has raised about $500,000 for her campaign. Doak said he has raised about $360,000, with nearly half coming from loans he made to the campaign.

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