HARRISBURG, Pa.--Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Diane Koken said today that Pennsylvanians may see a reduction in the premiums on new life insurance policies because of a change in the mortality tables used to calculate the insurance premium.

"The mortality table is a tool that shows life expectancy and helps insurance companies calculate the premium that will be charged to a policyholder," Commissioner Koken said. "Advancements in technology are helping us live longer, so it's only fitting that the mortality tables be updated to reflect the changes in Americans' longevity."

A mortality table will show the incidence of death at different ages coupled with other factors such as a person's gender and whether he or she is a smoker. The new mortality tables were effective Jan. 1, 2004.

"Pennsylvania has a fairly competitive life insurance market, with more than 600 insurance companies licensed to sell these products," Commissioner Koken said. "So Pennsylvanians have many companies to choose from when deciding where to purchase life insurance.

"Knowledge is a consumer's greatest asset. Our job at the Insurance Department is to be accessible to the consumers of this Commonwealth and help them understand their rights and determine their needs when shopping for insurance."

Some helpful tips consumers should consider when purchasing life insurance include:

    -- When purchasing a life insurance policy, you have a minimum of 10 days

      from the date of delivery of the policy to review and return the

       policy to the insurance company for a full refund if you are not

       completely satisfied.

    -- Rates and benefits vary widely between companies, so be certain you

       are comparing the same coverage.

    -- Provide accurate and complete information.

    -- Never pay cash. Payment by check, written out to the insurance

       company, provides proof of payment.

Source: The Pennsylvania Dept. of Insurance

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