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High-end property insurer enters Louisiana market

New Orleans CityBusiness - 12/14/11 
By David Muller

A New York-based insurance company said Louisiana’s improvements in infrastructure and building codes have led to its foray to the property insurance market here, with a concentration on higher value properties.

Louisiana joins 28 other states and the District of Columbia where Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange insures property.

“I think you’ll see us writing throughout the state, certainly there’s some fantastic properties in Uptown New Orleans that we think would be great,” said PURE CEO Ross Buchmueller, adding that the company saw “tremendous potential” in other areas such as Baton Rouge.

There is no set threshold for the value of each home the company will underwrite, but Buchmueller said the insurer would concentrate on properties in the $1 million-and-higher range.

“It’s not a hard and fast rule but that’s typically where we would start,” he said.

Some local insurance agents say other companies have begun doing that anyway as they adopt stricter policies for homeowners, in effect forcing lower value, higher risk homes out of their portfolio.

Buchmueller did not disclose the quantity of policies or monetary exposure the company would budget for New Orleans or the state, but he did say that PURE would diversify its businesses from parish to parish throughout the state.

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