Ukrainian MP Mezentseva: Ukraine will be a “great opportunity” after the war

Ukrainian politician Maria Mezentseva has told The Insurer TV that Ukraine will become a “great opportunity” when the war with Russia is over, which she anticipates will happen by the end of this year.

“I think 2023 is the victory year,” she told The Insurer TV from her apartment 40km from the front line. “I‘m sure that there will be no next year anniversary on 24 February.”

During the 20-minute interview, Mezentseva reflected on what the last year has been like, how the insurance industry has played a part – both from an operational and humanitarian aid perspective – as well as touching on what opportunities lie after war.

Mezentseva talked about the “thrilling operation” of exporting grain out of the country, which was able to happen following the placement of a $50mn marine cargo and war facility at Lloyd’s to provide coverage for grain and food products transported through safe corridors established under the Black Sea treaty between Russia and Ukraine.

In July last year it was announced that Marsh had placed the facility, led by specialty (re)insurance group Ascot.

“It was a thrilling operation, the exportation of grain under the support of the industry,” she said. “And later, one of the happiest moments was when President Zelenskyy's initiative ‘Grain from Ukraine’ started being operational.”

The first ship sailed on 1 August 2022 and while exports have not returned to pre-war levels, partly because many companies refuse to send their cargo ships into the area, the insurance facility meant that supply chains could be unlocked, alleviating the growing pressures on global food security.

However, Mezentseva identified the property market as an area which needs support.

“One important thing which I tried to bring to the table of the insurance companies [last year] was private property. I said back then that we should try – according to the practice, it's impossible – but we should try and find a way to insure private property against the war crimes which are being conducted.

“If there would be one thing that I may bring in front of the insurance companies, that would be this,” she said.

Strikingly, Mezentseva is not completely weighed down by what is happening around her currently, but rather is looking to the future.

She is convinced there is opportunity to be found in the aftermath of the destruction caused by the devastating conflict, labelling construction a “booming market”, for example, as well as possible opportunities in IT.

“So, we do think that Ukraine, under these terms, can become a great opportunity and country to set up and support businesses in this field,” she said.

Indeed, she says Ukraine is ready for this new wave of business: “So, we are open, we are ready and we're very thankful.”

Not unaware of the difficulties in bringing the resolutions she hopes for to fruition, Mezentseva urged the markets to take action nonetheless.

“First of all, be brave, because there are things that are moving in the financial markets right now, linked with court cases, private property and other things that might be scary in one way, but they're not, they're revolutionary,” she said.

Mezentseva wanted to leave one message with the private market about what they can do to continue to help Ukraine.

“The insurance markets, as I said, there are difficulties but we can still be in the books of history coming up with the solutions to rescue Ukraine and the return of investments and many other things,” she concluded.