Global Trade Body Axes Russian Insurers Over Ukraine War

Law360, London (May 13, 2022, 1:01 PM BST) -- An industry group representing insurers and reinsurers in more than 60 countries has canceled the membership of the All-Russian Insurance Association in protest at the invasion of Ukraine.

The Global Federation of Insurance Associations said on Thursday that its decision to drop the Russian industry body reflects its condemnation of Moscow's military actions. The Russian group protects the common interests of its members — more than 144 insurance companies — in their dealings with local and international organizations, according to its website.

"GFIA's members wish to express their complete solidarity with the Ukrainian people who are demonstrating incredible strength and bravery in the face of unimaginable adversity," the global body said. The organization said it aims to play a role in matters of common interest through dialogue among national and regional insurance groups.

Russia invaded its neighbor at the end of February, prompting Western governments to impose sanctions and organizations to exit the country or its business sectors.

The Swiss-based federation, which says it represents insurers that account for 89% of premiums worldwide, also said that companies are making efforts to comply with sanctions.

"Insurers around the world are taking the necessary actions to comply with the sanctions that have resulted from the invasion, and many are also taking solidarity initiatives to support the Ukrainian people," the group said.

The Russian association, known as ARIA, said it has always followed the rules of membership and principles of GFIA.

"The decision to exclude ARIA from [the association] is politicized. That is why it is beyond our competence, and we have just taken it into account," the Russian body said.

An industry body for European insurers expelled the Russian group in March. Insurance Europe said it was responding to a request for support from the Ukrainian insurance sector and that businesses across the European sector are adhering to sanctions.

Other companies are already going further. Several insurers with activities in Russia are completely pulling out of that market, the European group said.

Exiting Russia has come with a price tag — insurance brokerage giant WTW in April that it had lost $138 million ($168 million) as a result of leaving the country because of the war.

Global broker Marsh McLennan, which has also left the Russian market, said in first-quarter results released in April that it suffered a $52 million hit after transferring ownership to local management, which will operate independently in the Russian market.

Sanctions have also hit home in Russia, where the central bank this month linked a surge in complaints it received from financial industry clients to the restrictive measures.

--Additional reporting by Ashish Sareen and Ronan Barnard. Editing by Ed Harris.

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