Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland announced plans to work with employees to develop ethical standards that will govern daily operations and decision making at the Oklahoma Insurance Department.
She met recently with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission to review the rules governing public organizations. Holland wants the OID to exceed standards in all of its policies and practices.
“My first priority as insurance commissioner is to restore the public’s confidence in the Oklahoma Insurance Department and in the insurance commissioner,” Holland said. “I want to assure the citizens of Oklahoma that the work of the Oklahoma Insurance Department is on track, in order and moving forward.”
As an example of exceeding standards, the OID has adopted a policy that requires employees to document and monitor “things of value” they might receive from persons outside of the Department. The Ethics Commission rules allow public employees to receive up to $300 in “things of value” per year from persons that are not regulated by the department. Holland has added the documentation requirement as an additional internal safeguard.
For the purpose of the department’s internal reporting requirement, “things of value” include anything given to an employee, from a cup of coffee to a token of appreciation an employee might receive for making a presentation at a professional conference. Holland worked out the new policy with input from Department employees, and reported that her staff is enthusiastic about the change.
Insurance department employees will also be involved in creating a written set of core values. Holland said many of Oklahoma’s best companies have identified core values to guide their behavior. The values serve as a constant reminder to employees and customers alike about what matters most in the organization.
“Strong core values are already present in the department,” Holland said. “Individually, employees demonstrate accountability, trustworthiness and responsiveness every day on the job. Our goal is to identify and communicate our values in writing as a commitment to ourselves, our customers and to the citizens of Oklahoma.”
Holland, a former insurance agent from Tulsa, was sworn in as the state’s insurance commissioner Jan. 28, 2005.