Russia's state reinsurer backs three insurers for Indian marine approval

"Due procedure has been followed," sources say

Russia's state reinsurer backs three insurers for Indian marine approval


By Kenneth Araullo

Russia's state-owned reinsurer has facilitated financial support for three Russian insurance firms to gain Indian regulatory approval to provide marine insurance to tankers, according to sources from a Reuters report.

This development comes as Moscow aims to bolster trade with India amidst the backdrop of Western sanctions due to its actions in Ukraine.

The sanctions imposed by the US and its allies have significantly restricted Russia's access to the global services network, including insurers and brokers. As a result, Russian companies Sogaz Insurance, Alfastrakhovanie, and VSK Insurance have now joined Ingosstrakh in being authorized by India to offer marine insurance, as indicated by an announcement on the Indian shipping regulator's website.

The approval of the three insurers by India followed after the Russian National Reinsurance Company (RNRC), backed by the Russian government, provided financial guarantees. This is the first instance of RNRC's involvement in enabling these Russian insurers to be recognized in India, Reuters said.

Significantly, the RNRC has faced sanctions from the UK and European Union in 2023, which could complicate its international engagements.

The Directorate General of Shipping in India did not provide a response to inquiries about this matter.

In contrast, an Ingosstrakh spokesperson released a statement regarding the supposed backing.

“Ingosstrakh is not expanding its maritime insurance activities to India. Our relationship with India in the marine insurance industry has spanned over 57 years, dating back to 1967 when we opened our office in Mumbai,” the spokesperson said.

The newly approved Russian insurers, which specialize in protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance, do not belong to the Europe-based International Group (IG) of P&I clubs, which covers about 90% of the global ocean-going shipping tonnage.

“A due procedure has been followed (by the Indian shipping regulator) for including these new entities in the list of non-IG companies that can provide insurance,” a source said to Reuters.

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