Fortis Insurance International, a subsidiary of bancassurance group Fortis, has signed a preliminary agreement to acquire Etalon Life, Ukraine's seventh largest life insurance company.

The acquisition of the Kiev-based group, which is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of this year, marks Fortis’ entrance into the Ukrainian insurance market.

Etalon Life, which operates a network of 26 branches and 100 agents across the country, was incorporated in 2003 and has been successfully developing Life insurance activities, as well as solid distribution capabilities through agents and banks, a Fortis statement said.

The company, which has also concluded distribution agreements with several major local banks, ranks seventh in Ukraine in terms of gross written premiums and has a strong position in term life insurance.

Over the last few years, the Ukrainian government has actively promoted market reforms and we believe Ukraine has the potential of becoming a growth engine in Europe, said Peer van Harten, CEO of Fortis Insurance International.

We think it is the right time to enter this promising market. We are also impressed with the quality of Etalon Life’s management, who share the Fortis values of transparency, professionalism and integrity, and we look forward to working with them.