Vt. Regulator Explains His State’s Success

Published June 1, 2009

Vermont Deputy Insurance Commissioner Michael Bertrand recently explained to The Heartland Institute’s Matthew Glans why he thinks his state has such a good insurance climate:

Glans: Nationwide, Vermont has the most insurance companies doing business in-state, a testament to a competitive market. What do you feel Vermont does especially well in regulating property and casualty insurance to attract new businesses?

Bertrand: We feel we have struck the appropriate balance between strong consumer protection and being responsive to the industry we regulate. Vermonters enjoy some of the lowest property and casualty insurance rates in the nation, and at the same time companies that do business in Vermont are profitable.

We are particularly proud of our quick customer service. We are able to turn property and casualty filings around in under 30 days, and we are able to turn company licensing applications around in approximately 30 to 60 days. Our attitude is “let them compete,” and we help facilitate that competition by being quick and efficient so that companies can get new products to the marketplace with minimal bureaucratic interference. We also are clear with expectations, and companies know that if a consumer calls, we will just as quickly respond to them.

Glans: What recommendations would you have to help other states create more competitive markets?

Bertrand: Reduce the barriers to entering your state’s marketplace. Embrace technology for company licensing, agent licensing, and rate and form review. Above all else, provide quick but accurate customer service. The insurance industry is constantly evolving and becoming more efficient; regulators need to do the same. Approach consumer protection seriously while understanding that competition in the marketplace means citizens will have more options at competitive prices.

Glans: Why is competition so important to maintaining a strong property and casualty insurance market?

Bertrand: Because competition, more so than any law or regulation, results in better prices for consumers.

— Matthew Glans