- In This Issue
Aon and Borusan Holding Partner to Manage the Company's Complex Risks
A chance meeting at a conference booth leads to a valued partnership
This article was published in the Q3 2011 issue of Aon One, September 2011.
A fast-growing company in Turkey is taking its risk management program to a new standard through its partnership with a global Aon team.
Ferhan Guzey and Firdevs Colak, the risk management team of Istanbul, Turkey-based conglomerate Borusan Holding, stopped by the Aon booth during the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) annual conference in Boston in 2010. That meeting, and an introduction in Boston, changed the way Borusan looked at risk management.
Although happy with its incumbent broker of 12 years, Borusan saw that Aon offered the skills to take Borusan to the next level. Borusan—a heavy-industry conglomerate that does business in more than 50 countries—is among the fastest-growing companies in Turkey, which is itself one of the world's fastest-growing emerging markets. The company has a broad portfolio: It is one of the leading steel pipe manufacturers in Europe; it provides infrastructure services to water, oil and gas pipeline projects; and it will invest USD1.5 billion in the next 10 years on developing renewable energy sources.
"I have a dream" to make Borusan's risk management program the best among all European companies," Guzey says. She has been a member of RIMS since 2002 and attends the conference to widen her knowledge base and for networking. "Each time I bring back some new ideas and new tools. For sure, RIMS 2010 was the most prosperous one because I met Nilufer there."
Nilufer Durak, managing director in the Aon Mergers & Acquisitions Group in Boston, who hails from Turkey herself, assembled a team of experts from around the globe. This diverse team, led by Durak and Ferhan Ozay, executive director of Aon Benfield Turkey, brought an innovative mergers and acquisitions approach to Borusan's request for proposal. They suggested that Borusan use the bidding process not just to select a new risk advisor but to audit the company's risk management practices and identify ways to improve them. That approach aligned with Guzey's own goals and the objectives of Borusan's senior leadership.
Understanding Client Needs
What made Aon stand out, according to Guzey, was that the team "tried to understand our needs. After they got a sense of it, they came to us with new ideas, new solutions and innovative products. And they were really enthusiastic. They have a lot of passion and they brought this passion to us also."
The 11-member Aon team that serves Borusan is a strong reflection of both the client's and Aon's global presence and diversity. For example, the Aon team comprises seven different nationalities (Turkish, American, Nepalese, Dutch, Italian, South African and British). That fact was significant to a global client looking to expand beyond its local market, Durak says.
Canan Ercan Celik, head of corporate functions at Borusan, says Aon impressed her company by working together as a true team and bringing a different perspective.
"I don't know how Borusan can work with a local standards consultancy any more in the future," she says.
"Beforehand, we were working with a multinational company with a strong local subsidiary in Turkey. The support from the global side was on a need basis but always there. But this is something different, beyond our expectation. It's a different platform, which we are enjoying. That's why we prefer Aon, and I don't think that we can give it up in the future."
Team Aon "is the right strategic partner to our evolution to risk management excellence," Guzey says.
Elvan Hamidoglu, chief finance officer of Borusan Lojistik A.S., a division that handles logistics, multimodal transportation and warehousing worldwide, explains that Aon helped Borusan take a bold perspective on its risks.
"They forced us to think about self-retention of risk and made us realize not all risks should be insured," says Hamidoglu. "It matched what my risk and insurance team was thinking about. They gave us courage, basically. They gave us courage to talk to our operations people and our executive management about managing risk. And now we're taking actions toward those risks."
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