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Insurance in Ukraine: Overview
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Some researchers connect the origin of insurance with the ancient Code “Ruskaya Pravda”, which contains the legislation of the 10th and 11th centuries, but as a contemporary idea insurance arose in Ukraine in 19th century. At that time Ukraine was comprised in Russian Empire. There was one of the first insurance companies in Empire, Russian Steam Navigation and Trade Society, established in 1857, based in Odessa.

In the beginning of the 20th century insurance companies began to play an important role in the development of international economical relations through handing their risks over to foreign re-insurers and accepting risks from them.

The activity of insurance companies was most brightly manifested in the theory and practice of organizing life insurance. It was understood as an important achievement of economical thinking, and therefore the spreading of its ideas was considered not only desirable, but also a necessary thing to do.

In pre-revolution years, Odessa became one of the most important centers of insurance in Ukraine. There were several independent insurance societies and branch offices of leading insurance companies of St. Petersburg and Moscow, foreign insurers, among which there were British, German, and French insurance companies, like Equitable, Ruben, Société general, based in Odessa.


Before 1921, when transition to new economical policy began, insurance was in a sad condition. Economical relations in the form of marketing and credits turnover were ruined, but from that date they became to get established, what made grounds for renewing insurance. That very year General State Insurance Department was founded. The State came into being as a sole insurer.

The enactment of Central Executive Committee and Council of Ministers of the USSR on the 4th of September 1929 introduced compulsory insurance in state industry covering virtually all property. At the same time insurance of co-operative enterprises, including collective farms was handed over to the state. Relevant activities were supposed to be performed by the bodies of Gosstrakh, which also organized insurance cervices for citizen.

After World War II in 1947 an independent self-financing organization, Foreign Insurance Department of the USSR (Ingosstrakh), was separated from Gosstrakh. Since 1958 insuring business was passed under the jurisdiction of Ministries of Finances of the Union republics; in particular, relevant Enactment of Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR was adopted on the 26th of November 1958.

Until 1988 there was a monopoly of two abovementioned insurance organizations. The activity of these organizations had a state-regulated character, assuming steady income from insurance payments to the budget and allotment of costs for insurance payments, if necessary.

The beginning of demonopolization of insurance business in the former USSR was founded by the Law On Co-operation adopted on the 26th of May 1988. An important role in the process of creation of non-governmental insurers was played by Regulation on Stock Companies and Limited Companies, adopted on the 19th of June 1990 by Council of Ministers of the USSR. These legal acts allowed state, stock, mutual, and co-operative companies to make insurance business and to compete.


Since 1991, after the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine began to solve the issues related to organization of insurance business independently.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine issued Regulation №272 On the Founding of Ukrainian State Insurance Organization on the 16th of October 1991. That was the first attempt to develop insurance in Ukraine on a new basis. Especially, it defined the creation of General Department of State Insurance of Ukrainian State Insurance Organization (Ukrderzhstrakh), havndling the functions of immediate control of state insurance. It also defined that Ukrderzhstrakh to provide all types of compulsory state insurance of property of enterprises, organizations, and citizen, voluntary individual insurance, and other types of insurance according to the current legislation of Ukraine; provide preventive and investing activities, re-insurance operations, including those done in foreign currency; develop business partnership with insurance organizations of other republics and states, joint insurance activity.

In order to arrange the activity of insurance organizations and to protect concerns of consumers of insurance services, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine issued Decree On Insurance (henceforth referred to as the Decree) on the 10th of May 1993, directed to formation of insurance services market (the force of the Decree did not cover state social insurance), to creation of the system of regulation for the relations in the field of insurance and to reinforcement of insurance protection of material concern of enterprises, establishments, organizations, and citizens.

The Decree abolished State Commercial Insurance Organization, having founded Oranta National Stock Insurance Company instead, with the state remaining its main stockholder.

The Decree provided for the creation of the system of governmental regulation and control of insurance activity, including registration of insurance organizations and licensing of this activity. It also provided for creation of corresponding body of executive power in charge of control of insurance activity, but at the start these activities were performed by Ministry of Finances of Ukraine.

On the 7th of March 1996 the Law of Ukraine On Insurance was adopted, the necessity of which was obvious, for the obsolete insurance legislation could not effectively regulate the activity of insurance organizations and other insurance market participants. This Law, as well as series of other legal and normative acts adopted during 1996-2000, immediately defined new requirements for activity in the field of insurance. They also reflected the needs of the period of transition from planned economy to market economy, with non-governmental insurance companies acting on a commercial basis being the dominant part of the latter.

But in the end of the millennium, the Law expired considerably and began to impede further growth of the system of insurance in Ukraine. The introduction of Agreement on Partnership and Co-operation between Ukraine and European Union, as well as resolute actions of the participants of insurance market led by League of Insurance Organizations of Ukraine urged Ministry of Finances for the preparation of new draft legal and normative acts and amending the existing ones.

This Law cancelled limitations concerning founding insurance companies with foreign funds and enhanced the norm concerning founding an insurance company by another one.

In order to provide payment ability and reliability of insurers according to this Law, insurers obtained an opportunity to perform re-insurance as residents as well as non-residents. But this concerned not all of the risks but only a part of them. Such measures were aimed at impeding insurance companies to become re-insuring brokers. Besides, in order to prevent outflow of funds abroad, the Law defined the conditions that would establish transparent rules in re-insurance and foreseeable corresponding declaration in case amounts of insurance payments exceed 50 per cent of the entire sum received since the beginning of the year.

Taking into consideration insufficient capitalization of insurers and the trends of the world insurance market, this Law introduced norms concerning increase of financial firmness and stability of Ukrainian insurers. In particular, minimum capital fund of the insurer engaged in non-life insurance was raised to 1 million Euro, and for the life insurer it was raised up to 1,5 million Euro.

As far as mediatory activity in the field of insurance is concerned, this Law defined that either insuring or re-insuring non-resident brokers may provide services only through permanent representatives in Ukraine, which must be registered as tax-payers according to the legislation of Ukraine and included into the state registry of insuring or re-insuring brokers, according to the procedure set up by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

In order to support and stimulate making agreements of life insurance, i.e. long-term (accumulating) types of insurance, the Law provides for the fact that money commitments of the parties can be evaluated either in the national currency of Ukraine or in hard currency or in calculation units, by mutual agreement.

Also, much attention is paid to the issues of keeping commercial secrets of the insurer by the employees of state bodies of power. The concept of “insurance secret” is introduced together with the definition of the information constituting the insurance secret and the cases of disclosing it; also, the circle of state institutions entitled to obtain the information (by written request) constituting the insurance secret concerning insurance operations or the natural person in question, is narrowed.

The form and the contents of state regulation of insurance companies’ activity is done by State Commission for Regulation of Markets of Financial Services of Ukraine, the central body of executive power with a special status, creation of which was provided by the Law of Ukraine On Financial Services and State Regulations of the Markets of Financial Services, the 12th of July 2001, # 2664-III and the Decree of the President of Ukraine On State Commission for Regulation of the Market of Financial Services of Ukraine, the 11th of December 2002, # 1153/2002.

The Law also provides for substitution of compulsory state insurance of certain categories of employees for immediate reimbursement payments from the State Budget of Ukraine done by chief disponents of budget costs on target payments at the place of employment of the disadvantaged.


Consolidation of Ukraine as a self-governed, independent and democratic state set grounds to creation and development of insurance market. The process of de-monopolisation of economy, which covered all economic spheres immediately, has shown itself in insurance field, an area of social legal relations. Elimination of state monopoly while solving legal and economic issues of insurance business and emerging non-state insurance companies created pre-conditions to formation of Ukrainian insurance market. So, the end of 90'ies was marked by growing number of insurance contracts, number of insurers and their specialisation by types of insurance, developing reinsurance operations both in internal (national) and in external (world) insurance market.

Ukraine's national policy of insurance market development was accompanied by improving norms and laws, increasing number of underwriters, introducing new types of insurance and increasing operational safety of insurance companies and insurance intermediaries. This was confirmed when the state power bodies, together with the League of Insurance Organisations in Ukraine and other insurers' associations, adopted a series of new normative legal acts and introduced amendments to current acts. It was the first time, for a longer term, that the program of Ukraine's Insurance Market Development for the years 2001-2004 was approved by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine N98 of February 2, 2001, which sets basic problems of insurance market development and measures to be taken, in order to create a market of insurance services that would be attractive and accessible for underwriters, transforming insurance into an efficient component of the social protection.

Since the year 2002, gross values of insurance market activity are sustainably increasing (basically, non-life). It is necessary to take into account that Ukraine's insurance market developed.

During recent years there is a marked series of positive quality trends, as follows:

  • insurance premium growth rates are still higher that insurance claim growth rates;
  • provisions by the end of the year have increased considerably;
  • there is a trend of considerable increase of paid-up company funds testifying that the insurance market is attractive for investment as a field of dynamic development and insurers' comprehension on the need to increase the financing power, in order to fulfil insurance obligations.

Although non-banking financial institutions potentially can make a significant contribution to economic development of the country at present the role of non-banking financial institutions in Ukraine remains insignificant. One of the most developed segments is insurance market, however its share of GDP in 2002 came to only 2,2%. According to expert judgements only 10% of perils are insured in Ukraine today, while in many countries this indicator reaches 90%. The share of Ukrainian insurance market in the total volume of insurance services in Europe is only 0.05% although Ukraine accounts for 7% of the European population.

During last years state policy of Ukrainian insurance market development was accompanied by improving regulatory and legislative framework, increased number of insurants, introducing new types on insurance, increasing reliability of insurance companies and insurance agents, which caused increase in insurance payments proceeds in all insurance sectors, including life insurance.


According to the Law of Ukraine “On Insurance” financial institutions established in the form of joint stock, full, limited partnerships or partnerships with additional responsibility in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On Commercial Partnerships”, and also those which received a license for insurance activities, are recognised as insurance companies. An insurer must have not less than three participants (shareholders). Only those insurers that are resident in Ukraine may carry out insurance activities in Ukraine.

In certain cases determined by Ukrainian legislation state organisations, which are established and operate in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On Insurance”, are recognised as insurance companies. In such cases words “state” “national” or derivatives may be used in the name of a company only if the state is the only owner of that insurer.

Only those legal entities that hold the license for insurance activities may use in their name words “insurer”, “insurance company”, “insurance organisation” and derivatives.

As of 01.01.2003 the number of insurers exceeded 300.


Insurance brokers are legal entities or natural persons registered as business entities who carry out agency activities for fees in providing insurance on their behalf on the basis of brokerage agreement with a person that needs insurance as an insurant.

Non-resident insurance or reinsurance brokers may provide services only through permanent representative offices in Ukraine registered as taxpayers in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and recorded in the state registry of insurance or reinsurance brokers.

In Ukraine insurance activities may be carried out with involvement of insurance or reinsurance brokers as an exclusive type of activities. It may include consulting, expert and information services, work related to preparation, conclusion and implementation of insurance (reinsurance) contracts, including settlement of losses in part of receiving and transferring insurance payment, benefit payments and insurance indemnity under the contract with insurer or reinsurer. It also includes other agency services in the fields of insurance or reinsurance according to the list established by the State Commission for Regulation of Financial Services Markets in Ukraine.

68 insurance brokers were registered as of January 1, 2003, most of them are located in Kiev.

State Commission for Regulation of Financial Services Markets in Ukraine carries out registration of insurance and reinsurance brokers in accordance with the Regulations on particular terms of insurance brokers’ activities approved by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 29.04.99 № 747, and Instruction on the procedure for registration of insurance brokers, keeping state registry of insurance brokers and regulation of their activities, approved by Order of the Committee of Ukraine for Supervising Insurance Activities dated October 26, 1999, № 78, registered in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine on February 16, 2000, № 95/4316. It is not allowed to carry out agency activities for effecting insurance contracts with foreign insurers within the territory of Ukraine except reinsurance contracts with adhering to the rules of the Law of Ukraine “On Insurance”, article 30, dated October 4, 2001, № 2745-III.

Regardless of the fact that insurance brokers work at all market segments, property insurance takes traditionally the biggest share of insurance brokers activity – about 60%, liability insurance – about 20%, life insurnace – about 15%. Compulsory and personal insurance occupy the smallest part at the insurance market respectively.


Reinsurance in Ukraine is a relatively new type of financial activities that has its specific forms and methods developing in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation. In particular, the Law of Ukraine “On Insurance” defines reinsurance as insurance by one insurer (cedent, retrocessionaire) on terms specified in the contract of the risk related to fulfilment of a part of his obligations to the insurant with other insurer (reinsurer), resident or non-resident, that has the status of an insurer or reinsurer, in accordance with the legislation of the country where he is registered.

Reinsurance transactions are a precondition to ensuring solvency of insurers and also to ensuring reliability, safety and diversified allocation of insurance reserves in case when:

  • an insurer assumes insurance obligations in amounts that may exceed the possibility of meeting them at the expense of his own assets;
  • insurance amount for a certain object and type of insurance exceeds 10 percent of paid-up capital fund and built-up insurance reserves as of the last accounting date (quarter);
  • reinsurance is also a precondition for other types of activities (international transportation, operation of higher risk objects, large-scale investments etc.).

A distinctive feature of Ukrainian legislation is that there is no separate license for reinsurance activities. Insurance companies are allowed to conduct reinsurance transactions only for those types of insurance for which they are licensed. At that reinsurance contract (excess of loss contract), where financial results of insurers’ (cedent, retrocessionaire) insurance activities are the object of insurance, may be concluded by insurers holding a license for insuring issued guarantees (sureties) and accepted guarantees.

Two main methods of reinsurance – facultative and obligatory – have been developed in Ukraine.

Facultative reinsurance is applied, as a rule, for reinsurance of large, complex or non-standard peril where an insurer lacks his own funds or expertise to work with specific perils.

Obligatory reinsurance occurs when a set of perils satisfying the determined criteria is insured, as a rule, these are automobile insurance, insurance of cargo and tourists.

In most cases national reinsurers abroad accept for reinsurance automobile civil liability insurance contracts, minor volumes of automobile transport, property against fire peril and cargo. As a rule, in Ukraine reinsurance is provided for insurance contract for short-term cargo transportation, inexpensive property, automobile insurance, financial risks, partly air and sea transport.

Despite of the difficulties of formation period, at present reinsurance market is characterised by active demand and supply. Within last five years the share of reinsurance with non-resident reinsurers by specific types was fluctuating in the range from 50% to 60%. Life insurance is 100,0% reinsured with non-resident reinsurers and state compulsory insurance is not reinsured at all.

Anyway, the increase of the insurance market is distinctive, i.e. income from insurance premiums is incerased, new kinds of insurance and new insurance products appear. The conclusion is that for development of Ukrainian insurance market it is more and more important that the corresponding legislation base has been created. This is vital both for short term prospects and long term ones. No doubt, the matter of future integration of Ukraine into the market of Europe proves the above.

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Контактная информация
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