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Turkey 2016 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Serhat Süreyya Çetin, General Manager of Güneş Sigorta, on human resources, improving market penetration, and plans for the future.

Serhat Süreyya Çetin
BIOGRAPHY
Serhat Süreyya Çetin was born in 1973 and graduated from Ankara University’s Department of Sociology. He later obtained his Master’s in Business Administration from Istanbul Commerce University. He began his professional life at Turkish Airlines and later Yapı Kredi Bank from 1997 to 2006. He joined Güneş Sigorta in 2006 and became General Manager in 2011.

What procedures is Güneş Sigorta putting in place in terms of retaining human capital?

Human capital is a highly important and distinctive asset for companies operating in the service industry such as ourselves. The most important resource is talent; the only added value comes from talented people, and so we should coach and encourage our team. We are fortunate because we are a local company with a good reputation and newcomers prefer working for us. On the other hand we run every line of business, including corporate and retail, with important market shares. Anyone joining our company has the opportunity to experience every aspect of the insurance business and they come across with different cases, as well as on-the-job training. Güneş Sigorta could be considered a school, taking into account its decent human resources approach, and our talent management system differentiates us from our competitors in the market

What is Güneş Sigorta doing to take advantage of the growing insurance sector? How do you enhance your market penetration?

As Güneş Sigorta, we have undergone an intense transformation process throughout last few years. We finished all the operational processes required for our restructuring in 2014. During this process we invested in human resources. We developed our core insurance software system that has allowed our tariff structure to become “tailor-made” like our products. We also organized a new structure within our regional configuration. We established six regional finance directorates that would operate in the field of banking insurance. We centralized our claims units. Most importantly, although market conditions challenged us from time to time, we never gave up our “high-profit source, high-profit branch” strategy. We received the benefits of this process clearly in 2014. We grew higher than the market with a profit.

What can the country do to increase insurance penetration?

Our industry grows every year with the success of the national economy. It even surpasses the growth of our economy. This is partially a result of low penetration and partially the young population. We have to grow not through price competition based on market share, but with products that have added value and that can meet the needs of consumers. The society's needs and trends change constantly. Therefore, we must read into the future and trends accurately. We must direct our efforts by correctly analyzing the needs that stem from changes in society and the economy, as well as technological developments and globalization. We must become an industry that does not focus solely on selling insurance, but one that discovers and meets the insurance needs of individuals and institutions and delivers impeccable service. When we become an industry where the concept of “Insurance Consultant” can be truly realized, we shall easily meet the growth momentum we desire.

Are there any specific programs that you have for Güneş Sigorta for 2015?

Although 2015 is going to be another challenging year for our market, we will keep focusing on profitable lines and sources. As a subsidiary of Vakifbank, bank insurance is very important and profitable source of us. We are running a special bank insurance project with Vakıfbank to maximize bank insurance income and make mutually profitable. On the other hand Güneş Sigorta's priority is operational productivity boost for 2015.