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Insurers’ websites receive first marks

20 December 2017

The Bank of Russia is going ahead with its web-marking project for financial organisations searchable through Yandex. At this stage, the project aims to encompass insurance providers included in the Unified State Register of Insurance Agents.

The project is a joint effort by the Bank of Russia and the search engine. Yandex search results will feature a special marker (a green circle with a tick and ‘Реестр ЦБ РФ’ (State MFO Register) text box) to inform consumers that the marked website advertises the services of an insurance company, a broker or a mutual insurance association. In this way, the consumer will immediately be able to choose a company operating on a Bank of Russia-issued licence. The marking confirms that this market player is under the regulator’s supervision and is subject to Russian consumer rights protection laws in the insurance industry.

‘Insurance fraud on the Internet has featured prominently since early 2017, when sales of e-insurance policies for motor third party liability (OSAGO) were made mandatory’, said Igor Zhuk, Insurance Market Department Director. The web has recently seen the emergence of spoof insurers’ websites or those of insurance brokers advertising e-OSAGO. However, such intermediation is against the law: only insurance companies per se are authorised to sell e-policies. The measure will result in a lot more problems for companies operating illegally and unscrupulous intermediaries when attempting to mislead customers’.

In line with this initiative, microfinance organisations’ websites have been marked since June 2017.   Moving forward, there are plans to expand the project to cover other financial market segments that involve web-based client-provider interactions.