In 1993, 1,524 Russian companies were licensed to sell insurance and another 750 companies had applied for licenses. However, fewer than 2% of the operating firms had assets over R 100 million ( US $80,000), and premium volume for the first nine months of 1993 amounted to only 1.3% of the GDP (as compared with volume of 2.9% for the former Soviet Union in 1990).
Property insurance is the largest segment of the market with 880 companies. There are 775 cargo insurance firms, and 600 that sell life insurance. The various companies are gradually consolidating into groups.
Regulation of the industry is low. For example, in 1994, to open a business, the minimum capital requirement was two million rubles for an insurance company and 15 million rubles for reinsurance. Rosgosstrakh held a virtual monopoly on the domestic insurance market with 90% of policies, while Ingosstrakh held about 50% of the market in export and import insurance. One of the largest newcomers is Ask, a commercial company. Foreign ownership in insurance companies in 2002 was limited to 49% in order to protect private insurers. The industry is regulated by the Russian Insurance Inspectorate. Compulsory insurance includes third-party automobile liability, medical insurance, pension, social insurance, and fire and accident insurance. Starting in January of 1996, companies are able to deduct their insurance premiums as a business expense for tax purposes.