Major Japanese insurance company arrives in Russia

MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, the first Japanese insurance company and one of the six major insurance corporations in Japan, will offer its services in Russia beginning July 1, the daily newspaper Biznes reported.

MSI is the third foreign insurer to enter the Russian market in recent months. In March, the American ACE Group founded the ACE subsidiary here, and last week major British insurance company, Aviva, announced the upcoming opening of an office here.

"At present foreigners own a bit more than 5% (out of the possible 25%) of the authorized capital of Russian insurance companies," said Ilya Lomakin-Rumyantsev, chief of the Federal Insurance Oversight Service.

According to Lomakin-Rumyantsev, MSI will only study the market and provide consulting services. The presence of its missions in Moscow and St. Petersburg will not allow the Japanese company to conclude insurance contracts in Russia. It will therefore have to hand over Japanese risks to a local insurance provider, most likely Ingosstrakh, with which it signed an agreement.

Insurers say that Mitsui comes to Russia after other Japanese investors. Toyota has begun construction on an automobile assembly plant in St. Petersburg, intending to invest $1 billion in the project.

Marat Ainetdinov, general director of Rossia insurance company, associates this with the active development of real insurance, and with the increased demand for reliable and financially stable insurance companies.

Nikolai Klekovkin, general director of the Renaissance-Insurance Group, says MSI announcement is "good news" for the Russian economy and is not wary of competition.

"As long as the MSI subsidiary is not open, it is not our rival."

MSI handles all major insurance divisions, except life insurance. Its regional network has 718 offices. Its overseas network comprises 55 subsidiaries and 15 offices.

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