Foreign companies to enter lucrative Russian life insurance market beginning in 2004

According to new amendments of existing laws, foreign insurance companies will be able to more freely operate on the Russian market. United Financial Group analyst Ilan Rubin told Rosbalt that the new amendments should permit foreign companies to enter the Russian life insurance market and effectively compete.

Rubin said that previously conditions made it impossible for foreign insurers to compete on the Russian life insurance market. Rubin added that American International Group (AIG) will be one of the first companies to enter the market. US-based AIG is an international leader in insurance and financial services. The companies included in the AIG group offer a variety of insurance products and personal insurance in 130 countries.

IngosstrakhGeneral Director Vyacheslav Shcherbakov also said that foreign insurers will first of all enter the Russian life insurance market. 'This should be the most lucrative form of insurance for them,' he said. 'It is highly profitable and permits insurers to accumulate long-term financial resources. We have seen that in the majority of countries, which have opened their life insurance markets to foreign competition, for example the countries of Eastern Europe and China, foreign insurers first of all entered the life insurance market. I don't think Russia will be any different.'

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