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Brief -- Oklahoma Earthquake Insurance

Oklahoma Insurance CommissionerJohn D. Doak has directed property and casualty insurers operating in the state to send out a "clarifying notice of earthquake coverage" to policyholders and agents. "We know that most people don't read their policies," Doak said. "Even if they do, the language can be tough to understand. I issued this bulletin so that, hopefully, Oklahoma consumers get a better idea of exactly what kind of coverage they have for earthquakes." The move comes as the state has experienced an increasing level of seismic activity, which oil and gas regulators have blamed on drilling waste injection wells (see Shale DailyOct. 19). According to Doak, earthquake insurance typically has excluded earth movement resulting from human activities such as mining, explosives and oil and gas exploration. "Companies writing earthquake insurance in Oklahoma have reacted to the flurry of earthquakes in various ways," Doak's office said. "Some have amended their policy forms to cover damage resulting from wastewater injection. Others have simply been waiving the man-made exclusion. A third group still excludes quakes induced by wastewater injection." Insurers were given 45 days to issue the clarifying notice.

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