Oklahoma Commissioner Backs Bill to Use Premium Tax Funds for Firefighters

February 8, 2012

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak announced his support for using insurance premium taxes to bolster the pension funds of the state’s firefighters.

Doak said he supports House Bill 2320 introduced by Rep. Randy McDaniel (R-Oklahoma City), which would restore solvency to the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System in part by increasing contributions from insurance premium taxes. The plan negotiated with firefighters would also raise firefighter and municipality contributions to the fund by 1 percent each.

Firefighter pensions are presently just 63 percent funded. If enacted, HB 2320 would raise pension system funding above 90 percent within 30 years.

Doak visited with public safety personnel and emergency responders while touring all 77 counties during his first year in office. The Commissioner took interest in a number of fire service-related issues, particularly improving the state’s overall firefighting performance as measured by Insurance Services Office. Those ratings often help determine homeowner and business property insurance rates.

ISO’s Public Protection Classification program grades fire departments on a scale of 1 (best) to 10. Doak notes that about 53 percent of Oklahoma’s nearly 1,600 municipal and rural fire departments score in the 9 and 10 categories. Midwest City is the only department in Oklahoma to earn an ISO rating of 1.

Doak designates one individual to serve on the pension plan’s Board of Trustees. That position is presently held by the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s chief actuary.

Source: Oklahoma Department of Insurance

Latest Comments

  • February 9, 2012 at 7:38 am
    Keith Pratt says:
    The implied rationale, if I am understanding the article correctly, is that many communities in Oklahoma are ranked as 9 or 10 Protection Classes which is based on various fac... read more
  • February 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm
    The Other Point of View says:
    I fully support funding firefighter pension funds, but wonder why it has to be done by making insurers pay a premium tax? Why can't this be done by increasing property tax? A... read more
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