Insurance in the Soviet Union

Insurance in the Soviet Union

Insurance in the Soviet Union

Insurance in the Soviet Union


Although much has been written about the economy of the Soviet Union, little attention has been given to its insurance system. Providing a unique introduction to the topic, Insurance in the Soviet Union examines whether socialist ideology changes the legal foundations and implementation of insurance. The book describes the administrative structure, market, extent of protection, types of policies, and the place of insurance in the general structure of Soviet finance.


This book will be used by two categories of readers. One group will be acquainted with the technical operations of Western insurance practice. Most of these will have at best only a cursory knowledge of the organization of Soviet society and no competence in the Russian language. Another group, able to use the Russian language, may have an intimate knowledge of Soviet society but will have little understanding of the insurance industry. the attempt to satisfy both categories requires that the presentation of the material conform to the limitations of either group. in any case, the scale of the book precludes elegant analysis and intimate detail.

I have devoted some forty years to the study of this topic. It began with a reasonably innocent question: "Why does a communist society have insurance?" the question still is asked seriously by intelligent colleagues and students, even those with more than a general knowledge of Soviet affairs. the premise that insurance and a communist organization of society are essentially incompatible was confronted by communist thinkers as a very real ideological problem even before there was a communist society. the matter is debated by learned authorities in the Soviet Union today.

The question may be divided into two parts. What kinds of insurance are provided in the Soviet Union? What reasons are given by Soviet theoreticians for its use? This book is not a political argument. It is concerned more with practice than with theory. Ingenuity usually provides an intellectual rationale for any practice that society decides to impose upon its members.

In the ussr four kinds of institutional arrangements deal with financial losses produced by pure risk situations. One broad category, social insurance, deals with matters that are covered by social security in the United States. All insurance required in foreign trade and insurance provided for alien residents of the ussr is controlled by a special corporation, Inostranie Gosudarstvennoe Strakhovanie, or more briefly, Ingosstrakh. Losses to industrial property are met out of a system of budgetary reserves . . .

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