The UK's biggest insurer Aviva will start selling savings and protection policies in the Russian market, having been granted a license by Russia's Federal Service of Insurance Supervision.

Last year Aviva established a representative office in Moscow, with a view to evaluating the market potential, distribution options and product design.

Philip Scott, Aviva’s executive director, said a number of factors contributed to the attractiveness of the Russian market, including recent regulatory reform, an emerging middle-class and a low penetration of life and protection products.

Commenting on Aviva’s new license, Mr Scott said: The granting of this license marks a very important milestone in our entry into the Russian market. The local team is making good progress in assessing the opportunities for us and we’re close to finalizing Aviva’s market entry strategy.

Aviva said it is looking to finalize its entry strategy in the next few months, with a view to beginning operations in Russia later this year.