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February 5, 2010

ULM professors assisting state in facilitating competitive insurance for Louisiana

Dr. Christine Berry, director of insurance studies at the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s College of Business Administration, is conducting research at the request of the Louisiana Department of Insurance that may facilitate a more competitive insurance market in Louisiana.

Berry is one of only two insurance professors in the state of Louisiana.

“For about the last decade, the LDOI has made significant regulatory and marketplace reforms in an effort to make insurance more affordable and available for Louisiana families and businesses,” said Berry. “We are continuing to look at needed changes, primarily in the area of insurance premium tax rates.”

Berry noted that Louisiana has some of the highest premium tax rates in the nation which likely result in higher premiums for Louisiana citizens. She and ULM economist Dr. Paul Nelson are studying insurance taxes and other market factors across the country to determine what makes a state a desirable place to do business.

“We believe that actual statutory changes in the Louisiana insurance code could make a significant difference in our ability to attract small and big business alike,” said Berry.

Berry and Nelson’s research, which began in 2005, is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. “With an ever-changing economy and as insurance needs change, it will be important to continue examining how to maintain a healthy insurance marketplace to best protect Louisiana citizens and businesses” says Berry.

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