TURKISH COMPANIES ARE ON THEIR WAY TO SECURE TRADE

Euler Hermes Turkey CEO Özlem Özüner says, in an environment where global trade is expected to post growth of around 3%, “It’s now even more vital for Turkish companies to choose the right clients.

When foreigners visit Turkey, they praise us for our “bendensin” (it’s on me) attitude—we show them around, offer them an array of traditional meals, and when the check comes; we say “bendensin”, and do not let them pay. Turkish people do not split the check; one of them usually insists on paying—this is Turkish hospitality. While we are generous to our guests, we do also like to see exactly where our money is going. This explains why “insurance” is a concept that’s taking time to become widespread in Turkey: Insurance cannot actually be seen “in action” until something happens.

Insurance actually dates back to the Seljuk Turks. Subsequently, the Ottomans started to slowly adapt more Western, advanced and modern insurance models. After the disaster known as “The Big Beyoğlu Fire” that occurred in June 1870 in Istanbul, a total of 8,000 buildings perished. They were mostly residential and commercial buildings including a hotel, club, theater and the Italian Embassy, which were destroyed in the fire, along with many lives.

ÖZLEM ÖZÜNER
ÖZLEM ÖZÜNER

The tragic consequences of “The Big Beyoğlu Fire” led the Ottoman Empire to create a fire department. It was also the incident that tangibly showed the importance of insurance and helped it become widespread.

Today, Turkey is still trying to raise awareness on the benefits of insurance; and for protection of companies’ receivables, this means trade credit insurance. Having entered the Turkish market in 2010, Euler Hermes Turkey is one of the three major players in the market. As well as providing trade credit insurance products for Turkish companies, Euler Hermes Turkey takes on another vital role: informing the market about what credit insurance is and why it is necessary for many Turkish businesses.

Turkey’s position in the world and the economic performance of the country also point to a need for trade credit insurance. According to Euler Hermes’s latest global insolvencies report released in July 2014, the number of insolvencies around the world is expected to decline, yet there are challenges awaiting emerging markets: They must learn how to cope with slower GDP growth and increase the added value of goods they export.

Euler Hermes Turkey CEO Özlem Özüner stresses that Turkey is among “emerging markets that will face external headwinds in addition to slower growth due to changing business models.”

Özüner adds, “Turkey is a part of the East and Central Europe region. Even though insolvencies are expected to decline 2 percent in 2014 in the region, it’s now even more vital for Turkish companies to choose the right clients.”

This is where Euler Hermes Turkey comes in: They secure companies’ receivables in addition to helping them choose the right clients with the support of detailed, fresh global data and analysis. Today, Euler Hermes Turkey’s market share is 36.5 percent. As of July 2014, the company has insured 12 billion TL worth of trade receivables. Thanks to Euler Hermes’s global leadership in trade credit insurance and Euler Hermes Turkey’s leading role in creating awareness in Turkey, the company’s trade credit insurance premium growth in Turkey was at 40 percent at the close of July 2014.

Özüner says, “30-40 percent of a company’s assets are in the form of receivables. With the trade credit insurance product, we are insuring Turkish businesses’ receivables and giving them the advantage of focusing on their turnover growth without having to worry about non-payment.”

Turkish economy is reaching global standards in trade, which is reflected in the insurance sector’s performance. Within the first half of 2014, the premium production in the insurance sector increased by 5.75% when compared to the first half of the previous year and reached 13.269 billion TL. 11.713 billion of the premiums were produced by the non-life insurance sector, while the life insurance sector’s premium production was at 1.555 billion. Demand for insurance in Turkey continues to be high. Trade credit insurance is also taking its place in the sector and continues to grow rapidly. Alternative instruments including postdated checks, direct debiting by banks, and letters of guarantee were widely used in Turkey, which are now giving their place to trade credit insurance.

It is reassuring to see that more and more companies in Turkey are realizing the advantages of trade credit insurance. Their customers’ financial health and stability are important for companies of all sizes. The risk of insolvency and financial corruption cannot be ignored in a world where global trade is rapidly developing. Trade credit insurance plays an important role in controlling and securitizing risk.

As Euler Hermes Turkey, we are committed to helping more Turkish companies benefit from the advantages of trade credit insurance. We help our customers better manage their risk and plan their business activities efficiently. The Turkish government is also helping trade credit insurance become widespread in Turkey with new and revised regulations to help Turkish companies trade more securely.

[1] Kılıç, Prof. Dr. Abdurrahman, Büyük Beyoğlu Yangını,
http://www.yangin.org/dosyalar/buyuk_beyoglu_yangini.pdf