A New Orleans life insurer hopes to expand in Central America.

Pan-American Life Insurance Group, New Orleans, has filed a request for authorization to enter the Costa Rican market. Pan-American hopes to sell individual life and health products in the country, and it also hopes to sell group life, group accident and group health products there.

Pan-American already sells coverage throughout the rest of Latin America.

The company is entering Costa Rica now because the country recently adopted a new law authorizing private competition.

Costa Rica is now Central America’s second largest insurance market.

Pan-American has had operations in the largest Central American market, Panama, since 1912.

Costa Rica and Panama have a similar per-capita gross domestic product, but per-capita insurance spending is now about 4 times as high in Panama, Pan-American reports.

Pan-American also has offices and affiliates in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and a strategic alliance with an insurer in Nicaragua.