Welcome to issue 96 of Credit Insurance News Digest. The industry newsletter devoted to the global trade credit insurance industry.
This issue is sponsored by Markel

Credit Insurance News
Trade credit insurers see growth in 2018, but higher claims provide a cautious footnote. Members of the Berne Union and the International Credit Insurance and Surety Association indicate a positive but cautious outlook for 2018 in their latest joint annual state of the industry survey. 85% of the respondents anticipate an increase in short-term trade credit insured commitments, while the remainder expect business volumes to be comparable to 2017. At the same time, almost 45% of members predict at least a small increase in the volume of claims compared to 2018, confirming an ongoing higher risk environment. Broadly speaking, there is a divide between developed markets (Europe, North America, Australia), which are currently seen as quite soft, and emerging markets (Asia, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America), which are seen as neutral to hard. The respondents particularly expect growth in new insured commitments in Asia (69%), Europe (62%), North America (41%) and MENA (40%). The top regions where claims are expected (MENA - 57%, Europe - 54% and Asia - 43%) tend to mirror those for new insured commitments. To read the Berne Union's news release go to http://cdn.berneunion.org/assets/Images/2018%20state%20of%20the%20industry%20survey.pdf
Research identifies growth potential for trade credit insurance. Global Trade has published an article which reports that XL Catlin recently commissioned a global credit insurance survey, 'The Global Credit Insurance Monitor', to examine the evolution of buying behaviour and ways of growing the global credit insurance market. The survey found that although the majority of credit insurers and policyholders agree that the level of insurance coverage currently purchased is adequate, policyholders tend to exclude certain risks from their credit insurance purchasing, with SMEs, in particular, tending to exclude domestic risks. In addition, the complexity of the policy can also be a deterrent for smaller insurance buyers. The survey also found that credit insurance buyers believe the current suite of products does not fully meet their protection needs and/or that policies are too rigidly applied. To read Global Trade's article go to http://www.globaltrademag.com/trade-credit-insurance/research-identifies-growth-potential-trade-credit-insurance.
Carillion collapse offers a silver lining for credit insurers. Insurance Day has published an article which reports that insurers are bracing for a costly domino effect as Carillion's debts work their way through an industry-wide supply chain. A debacle which, Insurance Day says, "only serves to promote the virtues of trade credit protection and may boost coverage uptake over the longer term." According to the Association of British Insurers, trade credit insurers will have to pay out around £31 million in claims in the wake of the collapse, while brokers and underwriters have so far not commented on how much the failure will cost. Such is the size of the insurance programme that for many, Carillion is a key client; for others, they cannot predict the extent of the industry-wide ripple effect. However, while trade credit insurers face a short-term hit from Carillion-related claims, they may be set for a boost in premium volumes on the back of the latest corporate calamity. To read Insurance Day's article go to https://insuranceday.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/ID055569/Carillion-collapse-offers-a-silver-lining-for-credit-insurers (subscription required).
Increased volume and value of Business Judgments serves as a timely reminder of the reasons for taking out trade credit insurance. Businesses in England and Wales faced the first adverse trend in County Court Judgments (CCJs) in eight years, during 2017, according to figures released this week by Registry Trust. In 2017, 105,633 CCJs were registered against businesses in England and Wales, up 30% on 2016 and the first year-on-year increase since 2009. The total value of business CCJs also rose - by10% to £315 million - reversing an eight-year downward trend. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “An increase in the volume and overall value of Business Judgments is an indicator of higher levels of financial distress, which means more risk for trade creditors and potentially more claims for credit insurers to pay out on.” Greg added, “It’s also a timely reminder - if there hadn’t been enough already with the recent high profile insolvencies and over £4 billion of unpaid creditors - of the reasons for taking out trade credit insurance.” To read Infolink's news release go to http://www.infolinkgazette.co.uk/?pid=6.
Trade credit insurers pull cover for Interserve suppliers. The Insurance Insider has published an article which reports that trade credit insurers are no longer writing coverage for suppliers to troubled UK contractor Interserve. Euler Hermes is reported to have taken the construction and facilities management company off-risk, with other trade credit insurers understood to have made the same decision. Insurers with exposure to the UK construction market include Atradius, Tokio Marine HCC and Nexus, an MGA. "No one is writing Interserve," a broker told The Insurance Insider. Interserve currently employs around 25,000 UK staff and works on security and contracts for the Government and the BBC. To read The Insurance Insider's article go to http://www.insuranceinsider.com/trade-credit-insurers-pull-cover-for-interserve-suppliers. (Subscription required).
Lack of trade credit insurance cover may have been "the final nail in the coffin for Maplin." The Register has published an article which advises that the future of Maplin continues to look bleak with potential suitors unable to agree on terms and a "controlled closure" process imminent. Maplin was put into the hands of PwC's administration team on 28 February following a string of financial losses and credit insurers slashing cover for suppliers that hit cash flow. The article notes: "Credit insurance took down Comet in 2012 and it appears like it could have been the final nail in the coffin for Maplin: QBE was the first to remove trade indemnity, followed by Euler and then Atradius." To read The Register's article go to https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/03/08/administrator_pwc_chops_maplin_staff/.
Credit insurance must be part of the conversation with brokers’ clients. Insurance Age has published an article which notes that trade credit is a sector some UK brokers shy away from, but the collapse of construction and support services giant Carillion acts as a timely reminder about its value. It is estimated that trade credit currently only covers 1% of receivable accounts, showing the opportunity for brokers. CMR’s managing director Christian Hoy commented: “High street brokers may not be comfortable with this sector, but this is changing, and it really is a missed opportunity. “This [Carillion] is just one of a growing number of insolvencies and has resulted in a large spike in enquiries, credit insurance must increasingly be part of the conversation with brokers’ clients.” To read Insurance Age's article go to https://www.insuranceage.co.uk/broker/3285751/in-depth-specialist-lines-tune-in-to-trade-credit.
Fast fashion retailers face reduced credit insurance coverage amid tough trading conditions. Drapers has published an article, 'Fast fashion players face tough choices as market matures', which considers whether fast fashion retailers can weather the current retail storm. Industry sources have told Drapers that many womenswear retailers are challenged with excess stock and reduced credit insurance coverage amid tough trading conditions. One supplier to fast fashion retailer Missguided said he was unable to get credit insurance on the retailer but added that was not unusual in today’s climate: “There are few people you can get it on now. As a supplier, you have to be very cautious. No one is a safe bet at the minute. Everyone comes with risk.” To read Draper's article go to https://www.drapersonline.com/news/fast-fashion-players-face-tough-choices-as-market-matures/7029383.article.
Insurer consortium teams up on £20 billion capacity trade credit platform. Insurance Age has reported that Canopius and The Channel Syndicate are set to join Liberty Specialist Markets to form a consortium to provide capacity for Liberty’s Toredo trade credit platform (see Credit Insurance News Digest: 14 February 2018). Entitled the London Market Credit Consortium (LMCC), the facility will provide £19.5 billion in capacity when it launches with up to £54 million of capacity per risk with a maximum two-year period. The capacity will initially support short-term trade finance business and can be accessed by any Lloyd’s accredited broker signed up to the Toredo platform. According to Liberty, the launch date for both Toredo and the LMCC will be confirmed shortly alongside full details of its product range. To read Insurance Age's article go to https://www.insuranceage.co.uk/insurer/3294271/liberty-adds-two-insurers-to-toredo-consortium.
UK trade credit market showing signs of hardening. The Insurance Insider has published an article by Bernard Goyer which advises that the spate of recent losses in the UK trade credit market has led some in the sector to be optimistic that increased rates will follow. Although some insolvencies (Carillon, Maplin Toys R Us) were not unexpected, according to brokers canvassed by The Insurance Insider, the collapse of wholesaler Palmer & Harvey and the meat supplier Russell Hume caught underwriters off-guard. The market is "absolutely" hardening, according to Linda Scott, the managing director of Linda Scott Associates, a trade credit broker in Glasgow, although other brokers interviewed by Insurance Insider disagree. To read The Insurance Insider's article go to http://www.insuranceinsider.com/uk-trade-credit-market-showing-signs-of-hardening (subscription required).
Trade credit insurance is the "lubricant that oils international trade". Matthew Cockerill, Head of Commercial Underwriting in Asia-Pacific at Coface, has published an interview with Insurance Business in which he describes some of the benefits that trade credit insurance offers. “We’re quite unique, in that we actually want to pay claims,” Mr Cockerill said. “The major reason our clients buy trade credit insurance is that they can sleep easily at night knowing that if one of their major buyers unexpectedly goes bust their business is safe against the debts owed by that buyer.” He also described 2017 as a period of “steadying the ship” for Coface, following two difficult years for the company. “This year is about revenue growth and going full-steam ahead,” he said regarding the company’s trajectory, especially as knowledge in the market regarding trade credit insurance is now growing. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/asia/news/breaking-news/insurance-is-the-lubricant-that-oils-international-trade-94419.aspx.
Euler Hermes launches a new service for Nordic countries. Euler Hermes has announced that it has launched a new digital insurance brand in the Nordics. The new service, Credable, provides an instant ‘traffic light’ credit rating for Nordic SME’s potential business partners and provides insurance in a matter of seconds. Richard Garnier, Managing Director of Credable, commented: “Businesses in Sweden continue to sell on credit and hence run risks to their cash flow when they get paid late. Until now they have had limited options for managing late payment - or worse still the insolvency of their clients. Factoring tends to be costly, slow and selective; bank lending may not be available and other grey market financing options too risky. This is what we want to change.” Credable plans to extend its geographical reach from Sweden to other Nordics countries in the months ahead. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Digital-insurance-start-up-to-challenge-Nordics-SME-payments-market.aspx.
Credit and Political Risk insurance market capacity has grown by 30% in three years. A new report by BPL Global indicates that over the last three years the credit and political risk insurance (CPRI) market capacity has seen a substantial increase across all product lines – with maximum lines for non-payment private obligor risks and public obligor risks rising by 30% to $2.4 billion and $3.0 billion respectively. This comes off the back of a steady increase in capacity post-2008, with the recent uptick attributable to a combination of both new entrants to the market and increases in line sizes from the more seasoned players. The report also highlights that there is now significant capacity for non-trade related credit risks and project finance business. Sian Aspinall, Managing Director of BPL Global, commented: “Our report shines a spotlight on the fact that appetite for the CPRI class is on an upwards trajectory – both in terms of capacity and tenors . . . Also notable is the jump in capacity for non-trade related credit insurance to over US$1.5 billion – an area previously constrained by Lloyd’s regulatory requirements–and increasing levels of coverage for transactions in OECD countries.” Click here to read the report.
The credit insurance market in Israel. Astreos Credit has published an overview of the trade credit insurance market in Israel which notes that until very lately the market was dominated by and split evenly between only two players (CIC and Clal). However, the entry of Coface top the market in 2015 was a game changer which opened the market for the involvement of brokers introducing expertise and new products. Now approx 1,000 Israeli companies buy credit insurance - mainly medium-sized companies and large companies - and the main players are: Clal Credit (20% owned by Atradius), with a 40% market-share; ICIC (50% owned by Euler Hermes), which has a 40% market-share; Coface Israel, which has a 10% market-share. The remaining 10% of the market is made up of other foreign companies. To read Astreos Credit's overview go to http://www.astreos-credit.com/israel-country-focus-2018/.
With the exception of the UK, the global economy is in a sweet spot supporting a 3% decline in insolvencies in 2018. Atradius' latest Insolvency Forecast for March 2018 has advised that the global economy is enjoying a broad-based upswing in its economic cycle and this is translating into a better insolvency outlook for 2018. Strong industrial production growth, rising international trade and investment, and strengthening labour markets are expected to continue supporting the business environment through 2018. But, after a decade of recovery, the pace of decline is expected to slow to 3% in 2018 (the ninth consecutive year of improvement), following previous declines of 4% in 2015 and 2016. The UK, which saw an increase in insolvencies of 2% in 2017, is the only notable exception to this trend with Insolvencies concentrated in the construction, retail, and hospitality sectors. Atradius predicts that this upward trend in UK insolvencies will carry into 2018 with a further increase of 4%. To read Atradius' news release go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/insolvency-forecasts-march-2018.html.
JLT grows trade credit and political risk business with a key acquisition. GTR (Global Trade Review) has published an article reporting that JLT has acquired International Risk Consultants (IRC), a US-based specialist trade credit and political risk broker. Based in Columbus, Ohio, IRC operates across the US, Brazil, China and Hong Kong, providing trade credit, single and multi-buyer and political risk insurance. The firm’s various departments are now part of JLT’s credit, political and security risk practices and have rebranded to JLT Specialty US, JLT Specialty Asia and JLT Specialty Brazil. According to Mike Rice, executive chairman of JLT Specialty US, the transaction forms part of JLT’s strategy to grow its specialist business and products and building a global reach. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/on-the-move/jlt-grows-trade-credit-and-political-risk-business-with-key-acquisition/.
Allianz to buy remaining 5% of Euler Hermes shares in squeeze-out. Reinsurance News has reported that Allianz has revealed plans to initiate a squeeze-out and delisting of Euler Hermes’ remaining 5% of market float share capital and voting rights, in a move that will see the insurer complete plans for 100% ownership of the trade credit insurer. Allianz intends to file a tender offer in coming weeks for remaining Euler Hermes shares held by minority shareholders, offering 122 euros per share. Allianz previously increased its shareholding of the share capital and voting rights of Euler Hermes to 92.43% at the end of the tender offer that closed on 13 February 2018. To read Reinsurance News' article go to https://www.reinsurancene.ws/allianz-buy-remaining-5-euler-hermes-shares-squeeze/.
Insolvencies expected to rise in the UK and China in 2018. In its annual Global Insolvencies Index, Euler Hermes forecasts that although insolvencies are set to decrease globally by -1% in 2018, in one out of two countries surveyed the number of bankruptcies remains higher than in 2007. In 2018, the number of business failures will continue to rise in China (+10%) for the fifth consecutive year – after a significant pick-up in 2017 (+35%)- and the country is ranked as experiencing the highest increase in the number of insolvencies worldwide. Bankruptcies are also expected to rise across Asia as the region suffers from the deceleration in China. Similarly, in the UK, Euler Hermes forecasts an 8% increase in insolvencies in 2018. The UK is an exception in Western Europe where most countries should experience either a decrease or stabilisation in the number of insolvencies thanks to the economic recovery and supportive monetary conditions. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Insolvencies-expected-to-rise-in-the-UK-and-China-in-2018.aspx.
Insolvent or distressed 'zombie' companies represent nearly 6% of the total in France. Coface's latest Panorama reports that the beginning of 2018 marked a clear improvement in French business insolvency indicators, with an 8.3% drop (to 53,414 cases) over the year to January 2018. In addition, although the number of business insolvencies remains higher than pre-crisis, the insolvency rate is lower (1.14% in 2016 against 1.35% in 2007) due to a larger stock of companies and is comparable to that recorded in Germany (1.2%). However, Coface stresses that the picture is far from idyllic because the number of so-called ‘zombie’ companies remains high. In fact, if unprofitable and insolvent ‘zombie’ companies (4.6% of the total number, according to Coface's estimates) are added to the insolvency rate, the share of distressed companies is 5.7% of the total number of business (as at end-2016). To read Coface's Panorama go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Insolvent-or-zombies-distressed-companies-represent-nearly-6-of-the-total-in-France.
Political risk surging in 2018. Insurance Business has reported that according to a new Political Risk Map by Marsh, political risk is going to be a major concern for multinational businesses this year, with tensions driven by events including the North Korean missile crisis, trade protectionism and the ongoing Brexit negotiations. “Social instability, adverse government actions and terrorist threats are the most common political risks that multinational organisations now face when trading or investing in foreign countries,” said Evan Freely, Marsh’s global practice leader for credit specialties. “While political risks are often not directly controllable in this complex and ever-changing environment, in many instances they can be mitigated through credit and political risk insurance, providing greater confidence in the benefits of these opportunities in potentially unstable areas of the world.” To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/war-political-risk/political-risk-surging-in-2018--marsh-92941.aspx.
Protectionism might hamper global trade. According to new research from Euler Hermes, more than 460 new protectionist measures were enacted throughout the global economy in 2017. The US remains the most protectionist trading nation in the world having implemented 401 new measures since 2014, followed by India (293) and Russia (247). The US was also the only nation in the top ten ranking to increase the number of new measures implemented between 2016 and 2017, introducing 90 trade barriers, representing 20% of the 467 new measures brought in worldwide. Of those new US trade barriers, 18 were against Canada, 17 were against China, and only two were against Mexico. The UK ranked tenth having deployed 96 new protectionist measures in the same period, although the number of measures fell by 34 compared to 2016. Germany, Argentina, Switzerland, Brazil, Indonesia and Japan make up the rest of the top ten. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.co.uk/euler-hermes-UK-and-Ireland/mediacenter/news/Pages/180312-eh-protectionism.aspx.
Atradius Collections expands its presence in Africa. Atradius Collections has announced that it has expanded its international presence through a cooperation with a local partner in Casablanca, Morocco. Atradius notes that the latest 'Doing Business 2018' report, published by The World Bank, confirms the leadership of Morocco on the African continent. and that for Atradius Collections, a presence in Morocco is strategic as it is a gateway to Northern Africa. To read Atradius' news release go to www.atradiuscollections.com.
Congratulations to . . .
The following Credit Insurance News Digest subscribers who have been shortlisted for Global Trade Review's (GTR) 2018 'Leaders in Trade' awards. Winners in all categories will be recognised and announced at the annual awards dinner in London on 26 April. For a full list of nominees and outright winners (where there are no other nominees) go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/global/gtr-leaders-in-trade-the-shortlist/.
  • Best trade credit and political risk insurance broker: Shortlisted nominees: BPL Global, PIB, Texel 
  • Best trade credit and political risk insurance underwriter: Shortlisted nominees: Chaucer, Euler Hermes, XL Catlin 
  • Best trade finance bank: Shortlisted nominees: BNP Paribas, Citi, Crédit Agricole, HSBC, Standard Chartered 
  • Best export finance bank: Shortlisted nominees: BNP Paribas, SMBC, Standard Chartered 
  • Best commodity trade finance bank: Shortlisted nominees: ING, Rabobank, Société Générale 
  • Best supply chain finance bank: Shortlisted nominees: BNP Paribas, HSBC, Santander, UniCredit 
  •  Best export credit agency: Winner: UKEF.
New Appointments
UK Export Finance has announced the appointments of Shalini Khemka to the Board and John Morrison and Roseline Wanjiru to the Export Guarantees Advisory Council.
  • Ms Khemka previously served on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Entrepreneurs and the Development Board of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Currently, she is a member of both the Mayor of London’s Business Advisory Board and the Advisory Committee of the Commonwealth Entrepreneurs. 
  • John Morrison is the founding Executive Director of The Institute for Human Rights and Business. He has over two decades of business and human rights advisory experience, including roles with the United Nations, UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, General Electric and the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Switzerland. 
  • Dr Roseline Wanjiru is a Senior Lecturer at Newcastle Business School, with interdisciplinary research interests in economic development, trade and industrial policy, foreign direct investment and innovation strategies.
AIG has announced two new appointments:
  • Phil Bloom joins as account manager from Chubb. In his 17 years in the industry, Phil has held senior positions at global underwriting companies including Euler Hermes, Coface and Chubb. 
  • Adam Knowles joined AIG in February 2018 after spending 3 years as a Senior Claims Assessor with Euler Hermes in London. Prior to this, Adam was a member of the Insolvency & Restructuring practice at Grant Thornton LLP, focusing on complex and international insolvencies.
Business Information & Reports
We are delighted to re-produce a small selection of the news items our new business information publication. Please go to Credit Management News Digest for more business information news.
OECD predicts a stronger world economy but warns that tensions are rising. The global economic expansion is strengthening, as robust investment growth, an associated rebound in trade and higher employment drive an increasingly broad-based recovery, according to the OECD’s latest Interim Economic Outlook. However, although the pace of expansion over the 2018-19 period is expected to be faster - at 3.9% - than in 2017, tensions (e.g., a rise in protectionism) are appearing that could threaten strong and sustainable medium-term growth. "Growth is steady or improving in most G20 countries and the expansion is continuing,” said OECD Acting Chief Economist Alvaro Pereira. “In this environment, an escalation of trade tensions would be damaging for growth and jobs." To read the OECD's news release go to http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/oecd-sees-stronger-world-economy-but-tensions-are-rising.htm© 2018 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Prospects for the UK economy. The National Institute for Social and Economic Research (NIESR) has forecast that UK GDP will grow by nearly 2% both this year and in 2019 and that there will be a 0.25% increase in interest rates in May and every six months thereafter until the policy rate reaches 2%. NIESR also notes that the economy strengthened in the second half of 2017, supported by the weaker exchange rate and by a buoyant global economy and that these two factors have helped rebalance the UK economy away from domestic growth and towards net trade. The report adds that had global growth remained in line with its earlier predictions, UK economic growth would have been around 1.2% in 2017 instead of 1.7 % [updated to reflect the ONS' second estimate]. Regarding Brexit, NIESR estimates that a scenario where the UK is unable to replace the existing trade deals will lead to a long-term annual loss in GDP per head of up to £2,000, or close to 6%. To read NIESR's report go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/media/press-release-prospects-uk-economy-13236.
The UK recorded the slowest annual growth in the OECD area in Q4 2017. According to the OECD provisional estimates, quarterly growth of GDP in the OECD area slowed slightly to 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with 0.7% in the previous quarter. Among the Major Seven economies, GDP growth slowed markedly in Japan (to 0.1%, compared with 0.6% in Q3). It also slowed, albeit marginally, in the US and Germany (to 0.6%, from 0.8% and 0.7% respectively in the previous quarter), and Italy (to 0.3%, from 0.4%). On the other hand, growth picked up slightly in France (to 0.6%, from 0.5%), and remained static in the UK (0.4% [updated to reflect the ONS' second estimate]). Year-on-year GDP growth for the OECD area decelerated to 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with 2.8% in the previous quarter. Among the Major Seven economies, Germany recorded the highest annual growth, while the UK recorded the slowest. To read the OECD's news release go to http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/gdp-growth-fourth-quarter-2017-oecd.htm. © 2018 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The UK is now the slowest growing major economy in the world. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its second estimate for UK GDP from October - December 2017 and has revised down its previous predictions. UK GDP in volume terms is now calculated to have increased by 0.4% between Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 2017; this is a 0.1% point revision down from the preliminary estimate, in part reflecting a small downward change to the estimated output of the production industries. As a result, GDP is now expected to have increased by 1.7% between 2016 and 2017, a downward revision of 0.1% from the preliminary estimate and slightly lower than the 1.9% growth seen between 2015 and 2016. In comparison, the German economy grew by 2.2% in 2017, French GDP increased by 1.9%, and the US economy expanded by 2.3%. Furthermore, UK economic growth has now slowed to its weakest rate in five years, and the UK has become the slowest growing major economy, behind both Italy and Japan. To read the ONS' detailed news release go to https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/ukgdpsecondestimateocttodec2017.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
Insolvencies in England & Wales increase during 2017 as uncertainty starts to bite. Analysis by KPMG has reported that the number of companies falling into administration across England and Wales rose over 2017. Notices in the London Gazette show that the number of companies entering administration increased from 1,156 in 2016 to 1,206 in 2017 – an increase of 4.3%. However, the final quarter of 2017 showed the fewest number of administrations (279) of any quarter during the year, and also fewer than the same period in 2016 (293). Blair Nimmo, global head of restructuring at KPMG, commented: “2017 saw an uptick in the number of corporate insolvencies, including landmark cases such as Monarch Airlines, Jaeger and Jacques Vert. There’s no doubt we’re seeing a subtle shift towards more difficult times for businesses across the board. The weak exchange rate, rising inflation and the negative effects of uncertainty on consumer and corporate confidence could certainly combine to prompt the number of insolvencies to climb more sharply in 2018." To read KPMG's news release go to https://home.kpmg.com/uk/en/home/media/press-releases/2018/02/insolvencies-increase-as-uncertainty-starts-to-bite.html.
2017 was the decade’s worst year for trade finance. GTR (Global Trade Review) has reported that new figures show that despite the fact that trade volumes performed remarkably well last year, big banks just had their worst year for trade finance since the turn of the decade. In 2017, trade finance revenues among the world’s top 10 banks fell by 3%, after a 9% tumble in 2016. It marked the fourth successive year of decline, with the combined volume of traditional and structured trade finance products now worth US$5.8 billion in the calendar year. In a release to accompany the data, analytics company Coalition says that structured trade products such as export finance and supply chain finance performed well, but commodity trade finance “remained challenged, subject to soft demand in a subdued market environment." To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/global/2017-was-the-decades-worst-year-for-trade-finance/.
Roses are red, the UK High street is blue. According to new research by BDO, Valentine’s Day failed to warm the hearts of UK retailers with like-for-like in-store sales falling -1.6% in February. The poor performance comes from a weak benchmark of -2.2% for the same period last year and is a further blow to a struggling UK high street which has seen the collapse of two household names, Toys R Us and Maplin, this month. According to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, this is the fifth consecutive year retailers have seen sales slide in February, with the decline reflecting the extent of the challenges facing the retail sector. As discretionary spend continues to slow, all three in-store indices – lifestyle, fashion and homewares - were negative last month (-0.6%, -1.9% and -4.2%) compared with robust volume sales in essentials, such as groceries. To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2018/roses-are-red-the-high-street-is-blue.
Britain’s manufacturers have begun 2018 in the same upbeat manner they left last year. According to the EEF/BDO Manufacturing Outlook Q1 survey, manufacturers are continuing to ignore the ongoing political uncertainty at home as improved global demand, from European and capital equipment markets in particular, continues to feed growth across most of the manufacturing supply chain. This strong performance, has led EEF to upgrade growth forecasts for manufacturing for this year with new forecasts for 2019 also indicating further expansion for manufacturing. However, while 2017 saw good growth across manufacturing sub-sectors, with only a few exceptions (pharmaceuticals and rubber & plastics) a few clouds are appearing on the horizon for some industry segments. There are some signs that automotive and construction supply chains are seeing signs of weaker demand, leading to greater sector variation in performance this year and next. To read BDOs news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2018/manufacturers-begin-year-with-foot-hard-on-the-pedal.
Trade collapse due to protectionism is “top risk” to global economy. GTR (Global Trade Review) has published an article which warns that a collapse in global trade due to US protectionism is the top risk to the global economy, alongside a prolonged fall in major stock markets. Research from the Economist Intelligence Unit shows that there is a “moderate probability” of a global trade slump. While analysts are currently forecasting strong global trade growth this year and next, buoyed by strong emerging market export growth and robust Chinese economic growth, the threat of the Trump regime looms large. “Despite the encouraging headline growth figures, the global economy is facing the highest level of risk in years. Indeed, this favourable economic picture appears to come from a completely different world to the one where headlines are dominated by protectionist rhetoric, major territorial disputes, terrorism, surging cyber-crime and even the threat of nuclear war,” the authors wrote. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/global/trade-collapse-due-to-protectionism-is-top-risk-to-global-economy/.
Career Opportunities
Nexus CIFS Risk Underwriter - Reporting to Risk Director
Job Summary: Expert analysis of credit risk in relation to enquiries from policy holders & generally managing the risk portfolio to achieve an acceptable loss ratio. Ideally to have previous risk underwriting experience in credit insurance or bank in environment.
Principal Accountabilities
The role is predominately London based although some UK travel will be required to visit clients/brokers/risks etc., on an ad hoc basis.
Main Tasks 
  • Manage a portfolio of clients, understanding both the nature of their trade and that of their customers to enable accurate limit underwriting of the risk;
  • Contact risks for more up to date information & to visit buyers where requested & produce a subsequent report;
  • Assess credit limit requests, including new business applications and action those within individual authority level & refer on recommendations for those above the authority level at all times in accordance with the CIFS Underwriting Authority Template;
  • Monitor the limits in appeal on the CIFS system & respond within a maximum of 5 working days;
  • Review monitoring alerts on a daily basis; 
  • Update notes section on the CIFS system with relevant information; 
  • Liaise with policyholders/ brokers regarding credit limit decisions, reasons for Nil limits, cancellations etc.; 
  • To monitor overdue on the CIFS system and take appropriate action and to respond to requests for payment re-scheduling with consultation with Directors where appropriate;
  • Progress limits reviews and communicate limit changes via the broker or client; 
  • Create reports on Buyers, Buyer Groups, Countries and Trade Sectors for presentation to CIFS personnel as required; 
  • Maintain a broad knowledge of the UK economy & more generally the European & global economy. Monitor the FT on a regular basis; 
  • To attend and contribute to the monthly Credit Committee meetings and act on decisions made and agreed upon in that meeting.
Communications and Relationships
Internal: To communicate internally through various meeting including Credit Committee, assisting the Commercial team at renewal stage of policies and the new business team in winning new cases. 
External: Daily communication with clients, brokers, and risks to discuss various maters as and when they arise.
Required Qualifications, Skills, Knowledge, Experience
  • Minimum 3 years risk underwriting experience
  • Educated to degree level would be preferable but not essential 
  • I.T. literate with knowledge of word, excel, Microsoft outlook.
  • Previous experience of the credit insurance industry would be beneficial 
Please email your CV and a covering letter to humanresource@nexusunderwriting.com.

Trade Credit Insurance Broker/Salesperson.
Meridian Finance Group - West Coast Team, U.S.
Meridian Finance Group provides credit, insurance, and trade finance tools that companies use to expand their U.S. and international sales. We broker trade credit insurance and political risk insurance, arrange cross-border financing, administer Ex-Im Bank programs, and offer a wide range of related services. There's a lot of potential for our services nationwide and we're committed to growth. 
We're in the process of filling several new positions. 
In California, we’re looking to add a trade credit insurance broker/salesperson to our growing West Coast team. This opportunity is open to experienced trade credit insurance brokers as well as qualified candidates from other sectors. Brokers on Meridian's sales team are responsible for growing our revenues by establishing and maintaining relationships with referral sources, engaging in direct sales, calling on prospects and clients, attending trade shows, making presentations, booking new business and renewals, partnering with fellow employees, and assuming other duties as assigned. 
Meridian's services are highly specialized and we provide comprehensive training and support for new employees. We're seeking a serious career-oriented professional with a successful track record selling sophisticated B2B financial services, someone with a combination of strong technical competence and even stronger people skills who we can develop to help us take Meridian's sales to the next level. 
For more information, please call +1 310 260 2130. To apply, please email your CV and a covering letter to gmendell@meridianfinance.com.
Events & Offers
Turkey Trade & Export Finance Conference 2018, 21 March 2018. Istanbul.
According to the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), Turkey’s exports rose to a 6-year high at $11.5 billion in July 2017 making it a key exporter of automobile, agriculture and mining commodities in the region and one of the fastest growing economies among OECD members in the next few years. 
For over a decade, GTR’s Turkey Trade & Export Finance Conference has provided Turkish corporates, financiers and investors with a key annual platform at which to make valuable business contacts and learn from the leading figures in international trade and investment. With a recent referendum increasing the executive power of Turkey’s President, political risk is likely to feature high on the agenda, as well as other geopolitical developments and emerging trade dynamics in global markets.
Discussions on current import-export scenarios, structured trade & export finance, infrastructure hotspots and treasury will also take place over the course of the day. If you have trade dealings with Turkey, this is an essential event for expanding your contact base, knowledge and trading position. 
Click here for more information.
Readers of Credit Insurance News receive a discount of 15% (discount code CIN15).
ICTF Global Credit Professionals Symposium, 22-24 April 2018. Chicago.
ICTF's Symposiums are known as the 'best in the industry' - the most superb educational and networking events for international credit management professionals - a forum for sharing of experience and exchange of best practices, providing unique practical insight and actionable ideas, real-time business intelligence, quality interaction and expert perspectives. Whether you are an experienced credit pro or new to the industry, attending the ICTF symposiums is a tremendous opportunity to learn from and network with over 150+ leading practitioners in the field. For more information go to http://www.ictfworld.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1007962&group=. 
ICTF International Credit Professionals Symposium, 13-15 May 2018. Budapest.
ICTF's Symposiums are known as the 'best in the industry' - the most superb educational and networking events for international credit management professionals - a forum for sharing of experience and exchange of best practices, providing unique practical insight and actionable ideas, real-time business intelligence, quality interaction and expert perspectives. Whether you are an experienced credit pro or new to the industry, attending the ICTF symposiums is a tremendous opportunity to learn from and network with over 150+ leading practitioners in the field. For more information go to http://www.ictfworld.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1030324&group=.
TXF Amsterdam: Natural Resources & Commodity Finance, 17 & 18 May, Amsterdam.
TXF is back in Amsterdam on 17 - 18 May for another two days of networking and analysis of the global commodity finance market. With senior speakers, interactive sessions and a guest list full of active deal-makers, TXF Amsterdam: Natural Resources & Commodity Finance has quickly established itself as the premier event in the commodity finance calendar.
Why attend?
  • A content-driven agenda featuring in-depth analysis of the market trends
  • A chance to get your groove on with potential business partners and make new connections
  • The perfect split between producers, traders, financiers, insurers, law firms and other key industry players
  • An expected 50% corporate attendance rate
  • Keynotes from industry heavyweights on new opportunities
  • Multiple session types with interactive innovative formats
  • he chance to earn 16 CPD points towards your professional development.
To find out more about the event, please visit the event website
TXF Global 2018: Export, Agency & Project Finance, 5-7 June, Prague. 
TXF Global 2018 has become the flagship event for the export, agency & project finance industry. Expect 1000 delegates, heaps of networking opportunities, stimulating content and industry-leading speakers!
If you work in export or project finance and are an exporter, borrower, bank, ECA, DFI/MFI, project sponsor, developer, law firm, insurer or government representative – this is the event of the year for you!
Why attend?
  • Meet with many potential business partners all under one roof, with multiple networking opportunities throughout the day
  • Closed door meetings for Borrowers, Private Insurance, Exporters and ECAs
  • SOEs and borrowers from fast-growing regions and sectors
  • An ideal demographic with an even split between corporates and financiers and large multinationals to smaller SMEs (50% corporate attendance expected)
  • Keynotes from export and project finance heavyweights: CEOs of ECAs, DFIs and large corporates
  • Multiple session types and dynamic networking formats to review product effectivity, innovation, and new markets
  • ECA direct lending, alternative lending and the changing role of commercial banking future mapped
  • A Highly-acclaimed industry event: ”Fantastic gathering of the industry leaders. A great place to find partners and future deals!” – International Business Development Director, BAM Nuttall. 
Find out more on the event website
About the Sponsor: 
Credit is vital to the commercial world. Markel International’s trade credit cover promotes international trade by ensuring that buyers and sellers can do business with confidence. The trade credit division has a wealth of experience worldwide and helps to control counterparty payment default risks.
Markel's trade credit team offers expert knowledge of commercial counterparty and country risks across a wide variety of trade sectors. The key benefits for clients include: security of non-cancellable credit and country limits; balance sheet and cash flow protection; improved terms for bank financing facilities; an effective alternative to letters of credit or other types of collateral; reduced need for bad debt reserves; increased potential for sales growth to new and existing customers because credit is based on a firm foundation; and risk transfer to satisfy capital adequacy requirements.
The team has extensive experience of providing global solutions for clients, but can also tailor policies for specific credit risks, markets and contingencies. Because of the complexity of trade credit risks which, amongst other things, span political, cultural, legal and social differences, it is important to choose an insurer that understands all the facets of international as well as domestic trade, and has a detailed understanding of insurance issues in a wide variety of contexts and geographies. Markel International’s trade credit division provides just such a service.
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