Rousing the Russian bear

Larger Moscow-based insurers are taking greater interest in the ports market Larger Moscow-based insurers are taking greater interest in the ports market

Heightened activity in the Russian insurance market is set to have repercussions for the international ports and terminals sector.

Ports and terminals cover has been a low key field in Russia, and many significant operators are members of the London-managed TT Club, which has had strong relationships with the Russian maritime sector for many years.

Some of the smaller ports are thought either to lack the type of cover familiar to ports in many other nations, or to buy a very restricted provision with modest insured limits.

But the larger Moscow-based insurers are now taking greater interest, and earlier in 2011 one of their number, Ingosstrakh, issued a statement detailing payments of compensation to the state enterprise Rosmorport for two insured events. Rosmorport is responsible for ensuring the navigational safety of the areas around, and approaches to ports, and developing infrastructure. The incidents were damage to a pier at Novorossiysk during a ship mooring operation, and storm damage to buoys in the Azov Sea.

This confirmed that Ingosstrakh and the strategic ports organisation had already been doing business for a year, with the client’s property insured in 16 regions. This made clear that Ingosstrakh remained a force in the ports sector, despite the defection of several of its marine underwriters in 2010 to rival Rosgosstrakh – giving the latter scope to mount a challenge in the port operators' arena.

On a wider front, the new body known as the Russian Union of Marine Insurers has come to increased prominence, at a marine insurance conference in the Russian capital in November.

Seven founder members of RUMI, which is aimed at giving the country’s insurers a higher international profile,and bolstering relationships with the international brokers who place marine business, are expected to be joined soon by other big companies.

Led as president by Sergey Trubitsyn, head of marine hull and P&I at Ingosstrakh, RUMI marks a further advance for the insurance sector comfortably away from the proliferation of companies that caused such confusion in the early post-Soviet days.

Marine premium collected by Russian insurers in 2010 totalled $582.4m, and the top 10 marine Insurers in Russia already share more than 80% of the hull and P&I market. Ingosstrakh, VSK and Rosgosstrakh are leading this field.

The insurers attribute much of the sector’s progress to a federal law of 2007 which provides for companies setting up self-regulation associations as non-commercial entities, in accordance with the Russian Civil Code.

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