Interview with: Emre ULA, U.G.A.Y. Law Office
What do you see as the main points that differentiate U.G.A.Y. Law Office from your competitors?
I should emphasize several factors here; one of which is U.G.A.Y. Law Office’s ability to provide integrated legal solutions to its clients. What I mean by ‘integrated’ is that U.G.A.Y. Law Office has a qualified and wide network of industry specialists and lawyers from various areas of expertise who can manage any kind of insurance related legal issue from birth of loss to technical & legal assessment and indemnification in close cooperation. Our multi-language law firm allows us to understand the needs of our international clients well and provide swift solutions.
We are strong regarding the criminal law aspects of insurance law -particularly ‘insurance fraud’- as well. I should emphasize here our ability to detect and take precautionary measures against insurance fraud and thus preventing significant amount of ‘leakages’ from insurance and reinsurance companies.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
The insurance and reinsurance industry have faced several setbacks and challenges since the Covid-19 pandemic. Especially due to the pandemic conditions that entered our lives as of 2020 and the Russia-Ukraine war that followed; the symptoms of the production-supply crisis continue in many sectors. Disruption of production, rising commodity prices and unavailability of raw materials, chip crisis and transportation problems affect the supply chain.
Breakdowns in the production and supply chain create two main effects in the insurance industry. The first is the extraordinary increase in repair costs. The other and more important one is the prolongation of downtime, which directly adds to the financial losses such as lost profits and business interruptions due to the broken supply chain.
I have to stress two additional local bottlenecks in the Turkish insurance market: One is the dramatic increase in the national inflation rate, which have eaten the profits of insurance companies and strained their relations with customers. Second is the insurance dimension of the tragic earthquake catastrophe which claimed thousands of lives.
Despite all setbacks, Turkish Insurance and Reinsurance industry showed its ability and strength to endure such challenges and contribute to the reconstruction of the devastated area. I believe 2023 and the following years will be the ‘years of insurance’.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
I believe my experience on both ends of the table made the significant contribution. I have long worked as a high-level executive in private insurance companies. I have actively taken responsibilities in sectoral organizations and associations -such as Turkish Insurance Union- I have actively taken part in the drafting and negotiations of several insurance legislations. This experience allowed me to provide specifically tailored legal solutions to the needs of Insurance Companies -this time as their attorney-. Sitting at both ends of the table; I know what insurance companies expect to get from our legal services.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Representing various insurance and reinsurance companies requires profound knowledge of technology as our clients employ different complex legal-tech systems. This is a ‘must skill’ as complex cases require close cooperation between attorney and different insurance departments and specialists within these technical systems.
This is an area where U.G.A.Y. Law Office is meticulous as any failure in keeping up to date within the system and failure to take swift action could mean a serious loss -for instance a miscalculation of the indemnification, loss of the right of objection etc.- for our client.
One other aspect is the use of A.I. in the legal industry. Despite fears of A.I. taking over, we believe ethical use of A.I. and A.I. & Human cooperation could boost the productivity of insurance works.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
I have to name my partner Bilhan Güven here. Bilhan is the head of the criminal department of U.G.A.Y. Law Office.
U.G.A.Y. Law Office’s criminal law department has pursued numerous high-profile insurance misconduct cases, ranging from planned arsons in bankrupt factory compounds to planned break-ins & robberies, from fake hospital reports to driver shifts, from forgery and abuse of trust to other types of white-collar crime.
A great amount of our complaints before Prosecutor’s Office have turned into criminal investigations and cases, covering nearly all cities of Turkey. Our efforts have prevented millions of dollars of ‘leakages’ from our clients.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
Insurance Law is a technical and niche area. Covering a wide range of sub-topics, insurance law forces one to be always alert and up to date as regards legal knowledge. Our clients expect swift action and meticulous follow-up of a legal issue.
We believe we will be able to cover many more international and trans-regional -insurance and reinsurance related- disputes in the future.
We aim to be a Top Tier law firm especially in niche areas of insurance law, such as product recall, product liability, fire & engineering and logistics.