A general characteristic is provided for the foreign and Russian ecological insurance market, and the institutional peculiarities of its formation are considered. Particular emphasis has been placed on a deficit of national normative legal acts serving as the «engine» of generation of off-budget funds by participating users of nature of the contemporary market economy. The Baikal region comprising three constituent entities of the Russian Federation (Irkutsk oblast, Republic of Buryatia, and Zabaikal’skii krai) is regarded as a model territory for analyzing a relatively recently emerging (for Russia) direction of the insurance market. The study revealed structural features (the relationship of the obligatory and voluntary sectors of ecological insurance), and the magnitude (the number of licensed insurance organizations, and the annual turnover) as well as the qualitative potential of the regional ecological insurance market. This market is represented by encompassing the main types of hazardous production facilities on the basis of the effective classification of ecological risks in the form of a table. We initiate the implementation of the regional law «On obligatory ecological insurance» (following the example of a number of other constituent entities), because the future prospects of development of the Baikal region are predetermined by the location of Lake Baikal on its territory, the drainage area of which has a special regime of nature management.Keywords: ecological insurance, potential of the insurance market, nature management, economic complex, central ecological zone, Baikal region.