Aviva plans to build a leading position in the Russian life insurance market, aiming to achieve a 10% market share and a top five market position within the next five years, the UK-based insurer has said in a statement.

Aviva says it aims to become a major player in Russia by offering a range of long-term savings and protection products through a multi-distribution approach. It has just written its first policies in the corporate market which include group life, accident and sickness policies, having received its license to operate in March 2006.

There are a number of factors that make the Russian market attractive, including regulatory reforms, steady economic growth and a growing middle-class, which is becoming increasingly wealthy and financially sophisticated. Additionally, there is increasing penetration of life insurance and protection products – from a very low base of around 0.05% of GDP. All of these factors combine to make Russia a potentially important market for Aviva in the long-term.

Our strategy is to position Aviva to take advantage of the rapid growth that will occur in the transition to a developed life insurance industry. We aim to achieve at least a top-five market position and a 10% share in the life insurance market in the next five years, says Philip Scott, executive director of Aviva International.