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College of Business professors named co-editors for Journal of Insurance Issues

Yu-Luen Ma and Nat Pope

Yu-Luen Ma and Nat Pope from Illinois State's College of Business.

When the Journal of Insurance Issues needed a new editor, it looked for someone with a strong publication record and solid academic reputation. What they got was not one, but two highly qualified professors from Illinois State University’s College of Business.

Starting January 1, 2017, Nat Pope and Yu-Luen Ma assumed a three-year appointment as co-editors for the journal.

The Journal of Insurance Issues publishes original research in insurance and risk management, including theoretical and empirical submissions. As co-editors, Pope and Ma are responsible for recruiting associate editors, determining policies and procedures, ensuring the journal is published in a timely manner as well as seeking ways to expand the journal’s impact and circulation.

Pope and Ma were nominated by their peers. Pope notes that academically, the insurance field is relatively small.

“We know most of the people. They are peers that came out of our graduate programs. It’s almost like we grew up together. When it comes time to nominate editors for any insurance journal, you know who has the skills to pull it off,” Pope said.

Pope goes on to explain there are about six global insurance journals available. The Journal of Insurance Issues is close to elite, which makes it rather high profile.

Having heard the news just after Thanksgiving, Pope indicates there’s been a lot to learn in a short amount of time.

“We’re finding there’s a steep learning curve,” he said. “We have a lot to figure out in terms of managing everything. It’s a bottom-up experience.”

As a married couple, Pope and Ma are used to working together. They often assist one another on research projects. Ma’s research is typically empirically based. She’s currently looking at how technology affects auto insurance. Pope previously worked in the insurance industry for several years and as a researcher, his interest lies in the international insurance realm. Now, they’re looking forward to working together as co-editors.

“This opportunity doesn’t come often. It’s going to be challenging and we’ll have a lot of responsibility, but this is a chance to raise awareness for the journal and gives our program and the university some recognition.” —Yu-Luen Ma

Their first step is to put together a board of associate editors. Since the journal covers a variety of insurance topics, Pope and Ma will select individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise. When it comes time to assume responsibility, Pope and Ma will receive research submissions and hand them off to the appropriate associate editors, who will then hand pick two reviewers to do a blind review. After feedback is given back and forth a few times, the articles make their way back to the associate editors and Pope and Ma, who also might provide a few rounds of feedback. Ultimately, Pope and Ma will make the final decision on an article’s publication.

With two journal issues and 40 to 50 article submissions every year, Pope and Ma don’t expect their new role to be easy, but definitely worth it.

“This opportunity doesn’t come often,” said Ma. “It’s going to be challenging and we’ll have a lot of responsibility, but this is a chance to raise awareness for the journal and gives our program and the university some recognition.”

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