Touch The Customer

Maybe one of the most important gains of working at a broker company after many years of experience in insurance companies, I can say, is “having the opportunity to have a closer look at the Turkish insurance customer, which could not be seen from the window of the insurance company”.

We used to think, when working for insurance companies, that customers did not know insurance principles, and that they did not read their policies or that they only read when they had a claim.

However, the insurance customer in Turkey is quite deliberate; they read the policies and the clauses, and they compare products. They ask questions.

For example, despite there are approximately 4 million motor own damage (kasko) policies, that the word “kasko” was searched 6 million times a year in Google shows us something.

We also observed this when we worked at a distribution channel: “Insurance companies look at their customers, but they don’t see them.” They make assumptions about what the customer wants. They don’t learn what they really want, and they don’t show any effort to find out. They don’t exchange opinions with the customers.

Why could this be?

  • Perhaps, as an industry as a whole, the customer segments that we had direct contact was limited because of the fact that we were working mainly with corporate and commercial segment customers.
  • Maybe, it was difficult to get to know the customers because we were trying to manage the retail business through distribution channels.

Whatever the reason, when we look at the result, the reality that the insurance companies do not touch and feel the customer does not change.

What could be done?

  • In my opinion, companies could enter the processes with the perspective of the customer and find out and improve those processes where the customer becomes unhappy, leaves the company, etc.
  • More channels for mutual communication could be formed which listens to what the customer says.
  • IT and organization can be re-formed with a customer oriented focus.
Otherwise, companies will continue to pay millions for distribution channels that improved these areas (e.g. bank channels).

Those who have higher value added will continue to make profits. And insurance companies will continue to make losses…

A Clarification

For a while, there has been gossip about my appointment to different insurance companies as an executive; I felt the need to make a clarification when it finally became news.

Sigorta Dükkanım Sigorta ve Reasürans Brokerlik A.Ş. has been in contact with investors to obtain funds for growth. We have seen in our renewed business plans that two executive managers has become too expensive for the company at this stage. Therefore, I resigned from my position as CEO as at June 30, 2012. Aycan BUL is going to resume this position following the approval of the Treasury. However, I resume my responsibilities in the company’s Board of Directors.


This leaving issue has been brought together with some empty positions in the market and turned into incorrect news. Let alone being appointed, I have not had any talks with any insurance company about any position so far.

Profitable if you have a bank distribution channel

I had the opportunity to review the 2012 first quarter financial reports of Turkish Insurance Sector.


There are 60 operational life and non-life insurance companies in Turkey. Of these:

  •  35 companies operate in non-life,
  •   9 companies operate in life, and,
  •  16 companies operate in life + pension LoB’s.


The overall sector has made a profit as at end of the first quarter (as bottom line figure). Of the 60 operating companies, 34 have recorded a profit in their balance sheets.


When we look at the total bottom line figures;

  •  The ratio of net profit to total equity in non-life companies: 4.3 %0 (four point three per thousand)
  •  The ratio of net profit to total equity in life companies: 3% (three percent)
  •  The ratio of net profit to total equity in life + non-life companies: 1.6% (one point six pecent)


I tried to figure out what the common characteristics of the profitable companies could be. As far as I know, 20 of the 34 profit-making companies own bank distribution channels. The companies which recorded a first quarter profit and turned the overall sector profitability to positive, other than a few exceptions, are these companies.

Has owning a bank distribution channel become a must for the sector companies to be profitable?

Are the other existing distribution channels too expensive?

Should the sector search for other alternative distribution channels to make profit?

Do you admire me?

Yesterday, I had a meeting with a top executive of a financial company who works at a group that owns several financial companies, including an insurance company.

First, we talked about the insurance industry Globally and in Turkey. Later, the talk came to their own insurance company. He did not like the performance of the group insurance company. He made comments such as “Ours don’t have a definite strategy, they write any risk they can find, all they case about is market share these days, etc”.

Suddeny I remembered what I lived through in the past. I don’t know why, but I have never seen a group employee that liked, but more importantly admire, their group insurance company.

I have to confess that I was never happy either with the performance of our own insurance company back in the days when I was a banker.

Later, I became an executive of that insurance company. As a group having been transferred from the bank, we worked very hard, but after 3-5 years, I heard from other finance executives of the group that the performance of the insurance company was not admired.

After us, new bankers came to the management again. But the insurance company could not be able to get the admiration of others.

I experienced similar issues in the next Group I worked for.

Happily, those un-admired insurance companies of groups were started to be sold at prices beyond expectations starting from 2007 that those who did not admire hopefully received an important message.

According to a research I read regarding “happy marriages”, admiration is far more important that all the other factors (love, respect, politeness, etc.) in a successful marriage.

Is Motor Portfolio Consolidated?

TSRSB has announced the 2012 February results. The non-life market is growing by 16.22%

The motor own damage and motor third party liability portfolio, which has been experiencing profitability problems for years, is also moving in itself. The motor portfolio is being consolidated under the top 4 companies.


While the share of the top 4 companies (Axa, Anadolu, Ak and Güneş) in Motor Third Party Liability was 49.48% in February 2011,

In February 2012, the share of the top 4 companies (Axa, Anadolu, Ak and Groupama) has increased to 52.89%.

This means that more than half of the total production comes from the top 4 companies.

When we look at the weight of the top 2 companies, Axa and Anadolu, in the same line of business;

– While it was 37% in February 2011,

– Their total share increased to 39.87% in February 2012.


The total production of the top 4 companies ((Anadolu, Axa, Ak and Allianz);

– While their share was 50.88% in February 2011,

– Their share increased to 54.13% in February 2012.

The total share of the top 2 companies, Anadolu and Axa, increased from 31.77% to 36.73% in the same period.

What do you think? Is the motor lines in the market going to be consolidated under the top 4, or perhaps the top 2 companies in the near future?

Then, can we say “the competition will be dense for motor lines at the top, and for non-motor lines at lower ranks?”

Now You Can Also Buy Your Travel Health Insurance Online

You can purchase your Travel Health Insurance online from which continues to bring innovations to the Turkish Insurance Market since the day of its establishment.

Travel Health Insurance is an insurance policy that covers the emergency health problems of individuals that might occur during their travels abroad.

The Travel Health Insurance policy provides covers for medical treatments due to injuries or sickness, medical consultancy and organizational support, the return travel of the insured due to medical reasons, transport costs in case of death, and costs of transfwerring emergent messages.

–       You are travelling abroad but you are concerned about risks regarding your health. Do you need an insurance policy that will cover such risks?

–       Do you need a Travel Health Insurance Policy for your visa application (i.e: for the Shengen visa)?

Your policy is only one click away.

The innovations will continue to come, keep following us.

The Ground Continues to Move in Turkish Insurance Market


The results for January 2012 have been announced by the Association.

The Premium Production figures of the Insurance Market have grown by 14.68% in Non-Life and 8.43% in Life Insurance respectively.

When we look at the fastest growing lines of business;

-In Fidelity Guarantee, there is a growth of 1016%, especially due to the extraordinary growth in the production of a company (Chartis).

-While Marine growth was 37.72%, the General Damages LoB which also contains Engineering shrank by 4.21%.

The total share of Motor Third Party Liability, Motor Own Damage and Health LoB’s combined increased to 64% in January 2012 from 62% in January 2011.

The interesting facts about the company rankings are;


-Anadolu Sigorta is the market leader with a 30.43% premium growth. The market share increased by 1.57% to 12.96%.

-A company (Mapfre Genel) which was in the second 10, moved to the top 10 at 5th rank, including the effect of transferring its health portfolio to its non-life company which was under the life company in the past.

-A company (Ergo) which was in the top 10 previously moved down to 11.

-Acibadem Saglik ve Hayat, which was at rank 9 with 4.38% market share at the end of January last year, reached a market share of 6.39% and moved up to rank 6 (Note: the market share of the company at the end of 2011 was 1.19%, and the rank was 19).

Even though January is far too early to reach a general conclusion, it still looks like the ground continues to move in the Insurance Industry.





A New Era Begins In Insurance

In some of my earlier posts, I mentioned that the Turkish Insurance Market has not yet been distinguished as Market Makers and Market Followers with clear marks, and as a result that all players in the market still had the opportunity and hope to become the market leader.

However, when we look at 2011 results, we see that this is not entirely true anymore, and that the top two (Axa and Anadolu) have started to make their strength visible as market makers.

The total market share of the top two players reached 27.08% in 2011 from 24.60% in 2010. When we look into the details of the business lines, it becomes clearer.

The shares of these two companies especially in motor own damage and motor third party liability, which compose 44.7% of the total market, seems like it is beyond competitiveness.

The comparison of the total market shares of the top two players of 2010 and 2011 are as follows:

                                                              2010                                 2011
MTPL                                                       %30.04                            %37.70
Motor Own Damage                                 %30                                   %33.50
Health                                                     %14.02                              %13.04
Property                                                  %25.71                              %27.17
Casualty                                                  %18.57                              %17.83
Marine                                                     %18.92                             %20.24

The absolute growth of each of these two companies in 2011 (top player’s GWP increase is TL 479.060.475, second player’s GWP increase is TL 505.632.793) is more than the total production of each of the companies in the second top 10.

The Insurance Market has entered a brand new structure and new competitive conditions in 2012.

It looks almost definitive from now on that it is not going to be sufficient to grow organically but it will be a requirement for mergers and acquisitions to catch the top two and all the companies will follow the two leaders more and more in terms of pricing.

Turkish Insurance (GI) Market 2011 GWP Results

In my article dated December 1st, 2011, I forecasted the total end of year non-life insurance GWP to reach TL 14.490.064.103.

The Association of the Insurance and Reinsurance Companies of Turkey has published the results as at 31.12.2011. The end of year non-life GWP has been realized at 14.487.376.423.

The annual growth rate is 21.25%. While the top 10 companies’ growth rate was 23.28%, the growth rate for the top 20 was 22.17%.

The inflation-free real growth rate was 9.78%.


War of the Elephants

I had the opportunity to attend a leadership training program by a business school, together with a group of 40-50 other attendees.

One of the sub sections of the training was a group work to discuss questionnaires previously filled by colleagues of the attendees within groups of 4 persons each.

During this evaluation conversations, one of the attendees said that:

 – He was transferred to his current company with the reference of one of his managers,

– A conflict soon arose with his supporting manager and another high level manager, which resulted in favor of the latter,

 – And now he was trying to form a new relationship with his new manager,

asked for our recommendations on what he should do.

My recommendation to this person was:

 – Find yourself a new job as soon as possible and leave that company. Whatever you do, you will never reach the level of success that you believe you have earned in the mind of the new manager,

 – During this process, never say anything against your previous manager in order to look good to the new manager.


I had a similar experience myself in the past. If your name has started to go together with the name of a particular manager, you may potentially face also negative consequences of this situation in the long term.

Example: If your manager has lost in the conflict within the company and resigned or passed on to another division, you have no chance of making yourself or your success accepted by the new manager, however good or successful you are in reality.

The biggest mistake you can do at such a period you will do is to forget your relationship with the new manager whose power you have benefitted from and expect the new manager to evaluate you in isolation from the previous manager.

In fact, how hard you try to fool yourself, you know deep inside that your new relationship will not work. The best thing to do is to leave that company. As a matter of fact, even if you do not want to leave, your new manager will force you to do so very soon. At least you will own the timing and spare yourself of the shock.