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Liberty Mutual Enters Russian Market

Boston-based insurer Liberty Mutual Insurance Group says it has acquired the Russian insurance company KIT Finance Insurance from KIT Finance Holding Co.

Liberty Mutual says the acquisition now enables it to enter Russia’s $21 billion P&C insurance market.

Headquartered in St. Petersburg, KIT began operations in mid-2008 as a direct-distribution insurer providing primarily automobile and property insurance in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Since then, KIT has become a multiline, multidistribution-channel company with its own sales force as well as multiple bank and affinity partnerships.

KIT saw nearly $50 million in gross-written premium in 2011, says Liberty Mutual, with approximately 63 percent coming from automobile insurance. The company recently expanded operations into the Russian cities of Novosibirsk, Perm, Orel and Krasnoyarsk.

The ultimate owners of KIT are JSC Russian Railways and NPF Blagosostoyanie, the pension fund company of Russian Railways.

While the parties have not disclosed the financial terms of the agreement, KIT Finance Holding Co. says the proceeds will be used to repay a loan of Russian Railways to KIT Finance Investment Bank.

“We believe KIT Finance Insurance provides an attractive platform from which to invest in the rapidly growing Russian non-life insurance market,” David H. Long, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group president and CEO, says in a statement. “It’s a dynamic company with a driven management team as indicated by annual growth of 27 percent.”

Liberty Mutual notes that for all of 2011 it reported net-written premium of more than $31 billion, of which $8.2 billion, or 26 percent, came from its international operations.

The company says Private Passenger Automobile insurance is the single largest line of business for Liberty Mutual Insurance’s international country operations. 

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