A Turkish internet site, ortakgise.com (“joint ticket office”) has got itself into trouble with the Turkish Regulator.
In a press release dated 15 July, the Treasury has warned that the website is offering insurance services, without having gained the necessary prior permissions. It says “Investigations are underway into the above named website. It is important that organisations such as this are not respected, so that citizens are not exposed to loss.”
Ortakgise is one of a number of companies that sprang up in Turkey to accept payment of bills for utilities and a whole range of other services from university fees to pre-paid cards.
Insurance products are a diversification for them. The site itself states that, in a matter of minutes, you can obtain a number of quotes for a variety of insurance products (including life, health and pensions). Customer representatives are available to help you decide on the appropriate policy, and a call centre exists to give post-sales support, including claims handling. Ortakgise branches are also available for customer visits from 8.30am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
The press release goes on to say that only companies that have an insurance licence issued by the Treasury can provide insurance coverage. It also reminds people that in order to be an insurance agency or broker you have to have the appropriate approval and documentation from the Treasury, and be listed as an agent in the register held by the local Chamber of Commerce.
Companies that have gone through this approval process are listed on the Regulator’s website: Licenced Insurance and Pension Companies, Registered Insurance Brokers and Insurance Agents.
Those used to the freer regulatory climate in the UK or the US (based on Westminster code), where everything is legal until it is banned, often find the Turkish approach (based on Swiss code), where everything is illegal until it is specifically enabled, surprising. We have not yet seen in Turkey the development of sites for insurance such as gocompare and confused.com in the UK.
It would seem the problem is not so much the comparison site issuing quotes and insurance policies, but the fact that it has done this without going through the process of becoming an insurance agency first.
Ortakgise states its values as “independent, honest, transparent, trustworthy, responsible and confidential.” Let’s see whether they can demonstrate these values and solve their problems with the Regulator.