Turkish delight to fill up Lockton’s never ending hunger
The US insurance broker, already owning PL Ferrari of Genoa, has bought half of the latter’s rival Omni Sigorta based in Istanbul
Lockton has bought half Omni Sigorta, considered as the most influential marine insurance broker in Turkey, as revealed just before by Tradewinds Christmas, which adds that Lockton was in discussions to negotiate a relevant stake already back in July 2018.
The US-based insurance broker group has thus continued in its shopping spree in the Mediterranean that in 2016 saw it becoming the main shareholder of PL Ferrari in Genoa, Italy.
For an undisclosed price, Lockton has taken 50% of the shares into the Besiktas (Istanbul) based private firm, which is also a leading international P&I broker and therefore a rival of the Italian outfit too.
It is unclear how this stock interweaving across Turkey and Italy through the USA can impact on the relationships between the two firms which actually compete on the same marine market.
The Norwegian-UK shipping magazine pinpoints that Lockton said it would now work with Omni Sigorta as a joint partner, adding that the mighty US Group seems to be very hungry for further growth, having started a recruitment campaign for marine insurance broker in London, China and in its home country, to substantiate the ongoing expansion plan.
By its side, Lockton’s subsidiary PL Ferrari already has a footstep in the Turkish market; in fact GTG Sipex of Istanbul is its P&I representatives to the Turkish shipping community performing marketing and client liason services in this dynamic hub in close collaboration with the Genoa head office to provide and handle all matters relating to insurance placement, entries/certification and accounting and claims.
In its website the Turkish firm, which boasts over 30 years of experience, claims to be “one of the world's leading marine insurance brokers, priding ourselves in being creative to provide effective tailored made solutions for our clients insurance requirements, with a focus on quality service by our experienced team, unique opportunities to reach international insurance markets worldwide via our direct business contacts and business partners, to minimise insurance costs and times”.
Foundation of Omni were laid in early 1980s by the late captain Emre Omur, who later developed the management of his sons Korkut Omur and Oğuz Omur, who are presently the majority owner; the group has outposts abroad in London, Genoa, New Jersey, Montreal and Toronto.
The company provide insurance brokering services to the Turkish and international maritime community from its London office as the first Turkish Marine Insurance Broker which is accredited by the UK Ministry of Treasure.
In 2012 Omni, under the chairmanship of Aret Tasciyan, together with its peer Aries of Greece, set up a new Dubai-based marine-insurance broker, the joint venture Omni Aries; at the time the Istanbul-based firm claimed to cover two thirds of the hull as well as the P&I business in Turkey.
In an interview to Sea News, general manager Kulle revealed details about the Lockton deal.
Very recently, you entered into a partnership with a foreign broker named Lockton.
“As a Turkish company, we try to serve in international markets. Our partners include China, Japan, Singapore, India, Middle East Countries, Russia, Europe, Scandinavia, countries where we compete against giant foreign-based insurance companies; so we believed it was necessary to support us with a strong foreign partner in order to make our offer more effective, however without losing control of operations. Therefore we did not want to hand it all over and wished to keep management in our hands, consequently we have limited our foreign partnership to 50%. Over time, it can develop or show new conditions to reconsider such shares. We know that our maritime companies are now opening up to the world both as a business and geography and shifting their investments to different areas such as energy, tourism, port and other investments; 2019 will be a year when we look at other branches of the industry with our new strong partner” Kulle concluded with a commitment. “We will continue our work with a much greater enthusiasm as before and without making any changes to our employees and policies. There will be neither changes in the company name. Our partner, which is still a family company despite being a giant group, is in favor of protecting our brand, so we're not under pressure: Omni is a name for our sector that te will continue to spread all over the world with pride and a new thrust”.