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Reports: Big Russian insurers note drop in premiums as market stagnates

A number of large Russian insurers saw a drop in insurance premiums collected in 2017, a sign of stagnation on the market, Vedomosti reported Feb. 14.

Ingosstrakh Insurance Co. Ltd. saw collected premiums drop 9% to 83.7 billion Russian rubles, while PAO Rosgosstrakh's premiums fell 36.5% to 79.4 billion rubles, with both companies reducing their exposures in the obligatory motor third-party liability insurance segment. Premiums at SOGLASIE Insurance Co. Ltd. reached 33.3 billion rubles, down 1.1% year over year, a drop that the insurer associated with the introduction of new accounting standards.

There were also companies, such as VTB Insurance, Alfastrakhovanie and Renaissance Insurance Group Ltd., that noted an increase in premiums in 2017, but the Russian insurance market has been stagnating, a trend that is expected to continue in 2018, according to Vedomosti.

Life insurance is the only driver of growth in the insurance market, with the value of premiums increasing by 53.3% year over year to 328.5 billion rubles at the end of 2017. A large proportion of collected premiums in the segment, amounting to 210 billion rubles, relates to investment life insurance products, which are aggressively sold and promoted by banks as deposit products, the newspaper noted.

However, growth in the life insurance market is also slowing, Vedomosti said, citing Igor Yurgens, the head of the All-Russian Insurance Association. Nevertheless, he still expects the life insurance market to expand by around 25% in 2018 against the backdrop of low deposit interest rates, Kommersant said Feb. 15.

Kommersant also reported that the All-Russian Insurance Association is working to develop an industry standard for life insurance to regulate all aspects of such products and prevent a potential increase in the number of customer complaints.

As of Feb. 15, US$1 was equivalent to 56.58 Russian rubles.