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As earthquakes rattle the state, Oklahoma insurers receive earthquake coverage education


OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma insurance agents are receiving training about earthquake insurance as a swarm of temblors continues to shake the state.

More than 2,500 Oklahoma insurance professionals have completed a one-hour continuing education course on earthquake coverage, according to state Commissioner of Insurance John Doak.

"It's very important because agents and brokers need to take the time to learn about these issues, in particular what earthquake policies cover, how policies differ and how they impact consumers," Doak said.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed an emergency order last year requiring one hour of earthquake insurance continuing education in 2015, the Oklahoman reported Sunday ( ).

About 15 percent of Oklahomans now have earthquake insurance, Doak said. The number is up from about 2 percent in 2011 and outpaces California, where about 10 percent of residents have earthquake insurance.

Earthquake insurance policies vary widely and consumers need to fully understand what they're signing up for, Doak said.

"Consumers need to understand these policies," Doak said. "This is major, catastrophic coverage. It's not light coverage. You really have to have major damage or something significant to happen."

Doak said he is concerned that a growing number of policies exclude from coverage earthquakes that are induced by man-made activity.

"That's why we have to continue to educate the general public on this moving target," Doak said. "We don't want them paying a premium when there's not going to be any coverage."

Oklahoma recorded 585 earthquakes greater than magnitude 3.0 in 2014, up from 109 earthquakes of that magnitude or greater in 2013. The state had averaged about 40 a year for the previous five years and less than five a year before that.

The U.S. Geological Survey has linked the rise in recent earthquake activity to wastewater injection from oil and natural gas production.

"This rise in seismic activity, especially in the central United States, is not the result of natural processes," the survey said.

Information from: The Oklahoman,

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