Founded with the goal of preventing lost, illegal or fake policy creation in liability insurance, TRAMER was transformed into Insurance Information and Monitoring Center with the expansion of the range of services provided over time. In terms of its scope and operations, IIC has already reached a level beyond what was originally planned for the institution. With Mr. Aydın Satıcı, General Manager of IIC, we talked about the importance of IIC for the sector as well as about their new projects.
What are the activities of IIC? Can you please give us information about your new practices and projects? Main activity of IIC is to collect and process information and to share it with insurance companies, Undersecretariat of Treasury, Insurance Association of Turkey and with other stakeholders of the sector in report formats. We’re doing our best to provide these reports to all of the strategic decision makers. Companies use this information to analyze damage-premium ratios and overall damage frequencies at the national level and to form their own prices. This information enables the companies to make more informed pricing decisions. We’re hard on all these projects. Currently the most important project we have is the online policy project in all branches. The current application used for liability insurance will be used for all insurance categories and all policies and damage information in all branches will arrive in our system instantly. This will allow us to provide more realistic and faster services. This will be helpful especially in the prevention of insurance fraud. What benefit will it provide? For example somebody can have life insurance policies from 5 or 6 different companies and commits suicide and shows it like an accident. The new system will prevent such attempts. When creating a policy for a person, risk score for that person needs to appear on the screen of the insurance company. And this is possible only by using the data we have at IIC. Thus we started a project to collect data in all insurance categories real-time. We create the business plans of our center in cooperation with the insurance companies. As you know, IIC was founded for two main purposes: the first one is increasing the ratio of insurance holders and the other one is preventing insurance fraud...We create reports to prevent fraud. There are some special software used for this purpose and we’ll acquire them and one of the most important projects in the coming years will be the project for preventing insurance fraud. Another new project we’re developing is the one that allows creation of accident reports using mobile phones. There are many companies doing that right now but we’re developing a more comprehensive project now. With this project, when there’s an accident, the user will start our application on his/her cell phone and the application will provide the user with necessary guidance. For example the application will tell you “take a picture of the accident right now” or “now move the vehicle to another location so as not to block traffic”. There will be a square code on the policies and it will automatically enter policy information from there and we’ll present the accident definitions on the screen and after choosing the screen that best describes the accident, the user will send this information instantly to us. At this point, there might be a wet-signature problem. To overcome this problem we developed a method whereby the user will give his/her insurance company a signed document saying “I hereby authorize the KTT form with the following reference number” and that reference number will be provided by us. When the user signs it, that form will be valid. With this project, the process, which usually takes hours, will be completed in as short as 5 minutes.
Do you think this will also reduce the number of fraud cases?It definitely will. It will both help prevent fraud and enable us to develop accident statistics for Turkey. With this project, we will be able to keep records of the exact locations of accidents. For example information such as the locations with blind points in Istanbul, or where accidents happen most frequently or how and when accidents take place. We’ll be able to create detailed reports and form graphs for each location. This will be the top project of the coming year. One of the other new practices in the sector is publication of insurance premiums on the websites of insurance companies. What role does IIC play at this point?With the new amendment in the liability insurance bylaw, the insurance companies are now required to publish the minimum and maximum policy prices within the last 30 days on their websites. And the same bylaw gave us the task of publishing this information in a table format on IIC website. Users can now view the minimum and maximum prices for liability insurances the companies have created during the last 30 days based on vehicle type or city. This allows the users to compare prices and to track the changes in prices. The project started in October 1st and total number of inquiries via our website reached 10 thousand in only two days. What I want to emphasize with this is this: There are rumors about liability insurance premiums being very high and having increased 10 times compared to last year. We read news saying, “100 TL policy is now priced at 2 thousand TL”. Our citizens can now go to our website and see that there’s currently no insurance policy priced at 2000 TL in the sector. Premiums are calculated based on the risk level of the insurance holder. High-risk scores mean higher insurance premiums. But there’s no policy priced at 2.000 TL. This project will also help prevent such false information being spread around. In our country, people are still unaware of the benefits of the liability insurance. Compensation paid per accident by a policy is now 1 million 550 thousand TL. Compensation paid for physical damage is 50 thousand TL while the compensation for death or disability is 1 million 250 thousand and compensation for hospitalization and treatment is 1 million 250 thousand TL. So what is the premium required to get this compensation? Average liability insurance is currently 240 TLs for the automobile category. It means that you receive compensation equal to more than 10.000 times of the premium you pay. When the benefit provided is compared with the premium paid, you’d see that the premiums are actually lower than what they should be.
What other projects do you have?We have a new project for instant transmission of accident information to the insurance company in accidents with casualties or injuries. As you know, it normally takes quite some time for information regarding accidents with bodily injury to be transmitted to the insurance companies and in some cases they are not even communicated to the insurance company at all there are cases where insurance companies have to face compensation claims years after the accident. Now as IIC, we’re carrying out project in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health shares with us, the information related to the ambulance that is sent to a certain accident and then, using the license plate number of the vehicle, we find the insurance policy of the vehicle involved in the accident and transmit that information to the insurance company. And the insurance company contacts the insurance holder and takes action to compensate for the damage. Insurance companies are usually willing to pay for the damage right away but for the insurance company to do this, it needs to know that the insurance-holder has damage. But in most cases, either because the citizens are unaware of their rights or are misled, they look for other ways without even informing the insurance company in most cases. And this both increases the time until compensation payment is made and causes the money to be paid to the insurance holder to go through intermediaries. In order to prevent this with this project, we obtain the Medula information from 112 ambulance services and Social Security Administration and share that information with the insurance company. We send them daily messages indicating the treatment expenses for different insurance holders. And this helps the insurance companies to have a better idea as to the compensation claims they might face in the future. Recently we just commissioned a project that allows the users to retrieve their travel health insurance policies online. Ratio of cases of counterfeit travel health insurance is as high as 30%. A total of around 1.5 million travel health insurance policies are created every year and this means that around 500 thousand of them are counterfeit policies. Well this is a big source of frustration for our citizens and that undermines the reputation of our country too. We now have system that allows online validation of travel health insurance policies. If the users can see their policies on the screen when they enter the required information, it means that the policy is real one. This project allowed us to prevent a total loss of 10 million TL caused by counterfeit insurance policies.
What is the importance of accurate and timely information for the insurance sector? Today, information is more important than anything else maybe even more important than gold or oil. Here, we gather information, which is the most important asset of companies. Thus, first of all, we should take good care of that information. We need to do our best in terms of data security. In this regard, we use a great portion of our budget for data security. It is important that the information is protected with the highest level of security and that a benefit is crated from this for the whole sector. Even the mobile KTT application will benefit the sector to a great extent. Based on the accident statistics we have gathered until now, last year, the highest number of accidents happened between 2 pm and 3 pm on Monday. This information is really helpful. Based on this information, the insurance companies can warn their customers to be more careful during these hours. Here is another statistics; there’s an accident in Turkey every 33 seconds. In 2012, there were 1 million accidents and 2 million vehicles were involved in the accidents. There are 5 thousand accidents taking place per day in Turkey and 3 thousand of them happen in Istanbul. Looking at these data you can easily decide where to focus. This is valuable information that the companies can use when making their pricing decisions. One of the parameters that the companies use in their risk calculations is damage frequency and it is very important for them to be knowledgeable about it. And this is possible only through the data stored at IIC. Other than that, as IIC, we also detect fraud cases. We analyze things like which insurance holders have accidents very frequently and which agents they used for their policies. There’s no way for you to do it without any data. And it is also important to make data instantly available. Especially during the stage of policy creation, the insurance company needs to have sufficient and correct information because once the policy is created it’s too late to go back. If a certain insurance holder is a high risk one, the insurance company needs to know that before creating the policy and that information is valuable if you have it at hand at that moment. IIC is a great achievement of the Turkish insurance sector. Undersecretariat of Treasury, Insurance Association of Turkey and insurance companies all support it. Because they know there’s benefit being created here. We sit down and brainstorm to decide which information should be collected to create the maximum benefit for the users and the sector and we provide the sector with daily reports. Sector’s managers can see the premiums created, damages, and damage frequencies on a daily basis. We want to improve the competency to make strategic decisions in the sector. Our goal is to switch to instant reporting. Managers will have access to all kinds of information and reports from their PC or tablets. We sometimes conduct surveys to evaluate the level of satisfaction in the sector. Around 300 people from 47 companies participated in the recent survey we conducted in June. According to the survey, level of customer satisfaction from IIC services is 92%.Compared to similar institutions in developed countries, where do you think IIC stands in terms of utilizing effectiveness and technology?In terms of data storage, reporting and processing Turkish insurance sector is much more successful than all other sectors and even more successful than its equivalents abroad. We visited similar institutions in Canada and UK. For example the Insurance Fraud Bureau in UK collects data on a weekly and monthly basis. In order to detect a possible fraud, you need to utilize data generated on a weekly basis. But here, we are able to generate information instantly. Well of course, there’s a big difference between the insurance sectors in those countries and ours in terms of size.
Do you receive requests for “know-how” from abroad?Yes we do. For example the Icbari Insurance Association of Azerbaijan visited us and we introduced IIC to them and gave them a tour of our data center here. We told them about our projects and they got impressed. They told us that IIC provides superior service and they wanted to develop the same services in Azerbaijan as well and that they wanted to cooperate with us. We’re quite positive about the idea of “know-how” transfer to and from countries with which Turkey has good relations. We take the best practices from them and they use some of the applications we developed. Insurance Associations from Albania and France visited us for a possible cooperation in that sense. In fact, our visitors from abroad get so impressed and surprised when they see level of competency of our technological infrastructure.
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