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Doga to launch Turkey's first Islamic insurance product

  • 25 February, 2015

By Birsen Altayli

ISTANBUL, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Turkey's Doga Group plans to enter the takaful, or Islamic insurance, market in the coming months with what would be the country's first such product.

Its Doga Sigorta insurance unit is close to signing a cooperation deal with reassurance companies such as Swiss Re SRENH.VX and others from the Gulf and Malaysia, the unit's Chairman Nihat Kirmizi told Reuters in an interview.

An alternative to conventional insurance, takaful follows religious guidelines including bans on interest and pure monetary speculation and a prohibition on investing in industries such as alcohol and gambling.

Kirmizi said the Doga Group - which also has interests in education, technology and health - wanted to take advantage of the growing interest for Islamic finance products in the largely Muslim nation. Three Turkish state-run banks are set to launch Islamic units, widening the reach of interest-free finance.

"We are doing traditional insurance activities at the moment, and preparing the infrastructure for takaful insurance. We will be completely ready by May, and we have received verbal permits from the Treasury," Kirmizi said.

"Many people may not be practising Islam 100 percent, but they may think, 'why take risks when there is an Islamic option in insurance'" he said.

He added that at least three to four other firms planned to enter the takaful insurance market by 2018.

(Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Daren Butler and Pravin Char) ((ece.toksabay@thomsonreuters.com; +90 212 3507052; Reuters Messaging: ece.toksabay.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: TURKEY INSURANCE/DOGA