A new evaluation by the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) found that the state of Oklahoma is losing $8.8 million a year in premium taxes from drivers who fail to obtain the state-required minimum coverage for auto insurance.
“When people break the law, and don’t pay their fair share, it hurts all of us,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak.
“Half of that money would go into the General Revenue Fund, helping schools, social services and other vital programs. The rest would help provide pensions for the state’s firefighters and law enforcement officers.
Those sorely underfunded systems could really use this money to make sure Oklahoma heroes receive the retirements they deserve,” said Doak.
Using data provided by the Insurance Research Council, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, OID Chief Actuary Frank Stone calculated the financial losses created by non-compliance:
• Average Annual Cost of Liability Insurance in Oklahoma: $700
• Estimated Number of Uninsured Vehicles in Oklahoma: 563,692
• Premium Tax Rate: 2.25%
• Total Potential Premium Tax: $8,878,149
• General Revenue (47%): $4,172,730
• Firefighter Pension Fund (34%): $3,018,571
• Police Pension Fund (14%): $1,242,941
• Law Enforcement Pension Fund (5%): $443,907
The Oklahoma Insurance Department has already begun tackling this issue with public service announcements and driver safety checkpoints. The department is pushing for more change through its 2013 legislative agenda. Working with state lawmakers, the OID hopes to increase the fine for driving without insurance and make the offense subject to a primary stop by law enforcement.
The OID website has several tools to help consumers understand auto insurance and shop for coverage at http://www.ok.gov/oid/Consumers/Insurance_Basics/Auto.html.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.