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iPMI Magazine Speaks With Hans Biekmann, CEO, Eurocross Turkey

What is Eurocross Turkey all about?

Eurocross Turkey is a company that provides assistance and TPA services to national and international insurers and assistance organisations. We help Inbound Tourists, Expatriates, Health Tourists and Senior Citizens that may be living, working or visiting Turkey. We also provide assistance to Turkish nationals travelling abroad, the outbound market.

Why a new assistance company in Turkey?

Turkey is an exciting and booming market, and for most European countries in the top 3 of holiday destinations. Snowbirds buy their holiday houses in Turkey. The GDP in Turkey shows a continuous growth throughout the years and the country is getting stronger every year. Turkey plays an important role in the worlds’ economy. The Turkish healthcare industry shows also an excessive growth and competes with service levels that compete on world top level. Turkey is selected by ACHMEA some years ago as a country for major expansion abroad.

So that is the reason why ACHMEA invested in Eurocross Turkey?

Well actually, the company has been operational over a decade, since 2003. It was founded as the AGIS Service Company Turkey and owned by AGIS, a leading healthcare insurance company in the Netherlands. In 2008 AGIS was acquired by ACHMEA. Today, the AGIS Turkey services are the basic fundament of the Eurocross Turkey organisation. Besides Eurocross Turkey, ACHMEA also owns an insurance company based in Istanbul, Eureko Sigorta.

How do you define Medical Cost Control in 2014?

Good question! I realise every day that people in the business all have a different perception. For Eurocross Turkey, Medical Cost Control includes all activities that keep the costs for medical services as low as possible, but at the same time keeping an eye on the quality of care.

In practice we contract medical facilities, with fixed prices and/or discount agreements. We assess with our in-house Medical Team, diagnoses, treatment policies, the length of treatment/admission, necessity of examinations and care, usage of medical staff, equipment, facilities and medication.

Furthermore we do line by line checks of invoices. We have a large nationwide network and do initial audits and recurring audits of facilities. Medical Cost Control is for us not just a simple administrative process, but a way of handling the cases from A to Z.

What challenges do international insurers and assistance organizations face when managing claims and cost containment in Turkey?

Turkey is a popular destination and also a high claims cost country. If you are an international insurer or assistance company, it is of enormous complexity, if not impossible to analyze the mechanics of price and quality in the Turkish healthcare system. You need a strong local partner in Turkey to do this.

Our clients find that due to the excellent relations we have with all major and important hospitals in Turkey, they are able to access and navigate the right healthcare, in the right place, and at the right time. The most appropriate care for their insureds, with no hidden costs.

Our investment in this expertise is fully complimented by our dynamic 24/7 Operational and Medical Teams. Eurocross Turkey is owned by leading Dutch insurance consortium ACHMEA.

What are the key reasons an international insurer would set up their own assistance service centre VS outsourcing an already established one?

It's very simple: Reliability and transparency. Many foreign organisations have had negative experiences in Turkey in the past. We have a fair and ethical approach for both clients and our network partners. What you see is what you get.

What kind of benefits will an international insurer see by utilizing the Eurocross Turkey assistance service?

The core business of ACHMEA is insurance. Eurocoss Turkey, fully owned by ACHMEA, sells services to the insurance industry, but is not driven by its shareholder to make this a high profitable business. Our policy is : transparency, no hidden-margins, simple fee structure and all network deal benefits straight for the client.

Where will Eurocross Turkey be by 2015 and what can we expect to see in the future?

We expect strong growth and already have had to source a much bigger office! Last December we had 35 employees. Today we have over 60!

Currently, we handle all cases for ACHMEA insurance companies, plus for a number of very well known international assistance organisations. More organisations have already requested services but we have to control our growth.

Moving forwards you will see our core range of services expand to maximise on in-depth and established local expertise and knowledge, gained over the past 12 years. 

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