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Welcome to issue 98 of Credit Insurance News Digest. The industry newsletter devoted to the global trade credit insurance industry.
This issue is sponsored by Nexus Trade Credit

Index
Credit Insurance News
Are you a credit insurer? Or a bank which relies on credit insurance? Now is the time to respond to the PRA’s consultation on unfunded guarantees. A paper by Hogan Lovells advises that it has now been two months since the PRA opened a consultation on the eligibility of unfunded guarantees as a form of credit risk mitigation for banks. Although the consultation relates to banking regulation, it has caused deep concerns for credit insurers and, if brought into force, some of its proposals would appear to make many traditional credit insurance products ineligible as a form of credit risk mitigation for banks. Following discussions with its clients, Hogan Lovells examines the background to the PRA and explores its potential impact. (Note: The consultation will remain open for responses until 16 May 2018). To read the paper go to https://www.hlinsurancelaw.com/files/2018/04/HL-Insurance-blog-PRA-consultation-paper-on-unfunded-guarantees.pdf.
Credit insurance saves Prater from Carillion fall-out. Construction Enquirer has reported that building envelope contractor Prater insulated itself from the fall-out from Carillion’s collapse with credit insurance and now expects to avoid any bad debt. Prater's latest accounts for 2017 showed pre-tax profit up 3% to £5.8 million on revenue slightly down at £98 million, with directors stating that they had assumed that outstanding contract balances of £3.5 million would be recovered. To read Construction Enquirer's article go to http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2018/04/12/credit-insurance-saves-prater-from-carillion-fall-out/.
HSBC withdraws New Look credit insurance. Retail Gazette has reported that New Look faces more difficulties as, less than a month after a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) was approved by creditors, its credit insurance has now been cut again. Although HSBC’s withdrawal will only impact a small number of New Look’s suppliers, it’s thought the CVA could have prompted HSBC’s decision to stop selling New Look’s suppliers cover against insolvency. Retail Gazette reports that the move comes only a few months after Euler Hermes also halted the sale of protection against insolvency to suppliers of the retailer. To read Retail Gazette's article go to https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2018/04/new-look-credit-insurance-cut/.
Dark clouds settling over the UK highlight the value of trade credit insurance. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, has published a news release listing some of the 'dark clouds' facing the UK. For example, InfolinkGazette's statistics for Q1 2018 show a 40% increase in the claim value of unsecured creditors (the average unsecured creditor claim value now exceeds £32,000), while latest Registry Trust data indicates a 10% increase in the value of CCJs and a 30% increase in the number of CCJs compared to 2016. Furthermore, on top of a stalling economy, with UK GDP growth in Q1 2018 the slowest since Q4 2012, the end of the Term Funding Scheme is expected to prompt a rise in businesses borrowing costs. Mr Connell commented: “we seem to be entering a new risk climate, and when you add a stall in economic growth, together with an adverse trend in commercial CCJs, and a pronounced increase in the value of unsecured creditor claimants, the reasons for taking out trade credit insurance begin to crystallise.” To read InfolinkGazette's news release go to http://www.infolinkgazette.co.uk/?pid=6.
Euler Hermes confirms that it is targeting a 5% price increase. Insurance Business has published an article, 'Credit insurance giant: Expect price hikes' which reports that trade credit insurance premiums may increase. Euler Hermes' Chief Executive Wilfried Verstraete told the Financial Times: “On average we are targeting a 5% increase in pricing" and noted that this was driven by pressure on the UK retail sector and the impact of Brexit.” He also cited noted the impact of the rise in import prices and increased losses in the UK due to “high severity” bankruptcies. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/breaking-news/credit-insurance-giant-expect-price-hikes-99939.aspx.
Credit insurers prosper as tech investment increases. An article in Reinsurance News has reported that new research from Moody’s Investors Service has found that the global credit insurance sector is currently benefitting from both a supportive economic environment and new technologically-driven capabilities. Consequently, the underwriting profitability for the credit sector has been strong since the financial crash, and the average combined ratios of the three leading insurers (Atradius, Coface and Euler Hermes) are well above their long-term average. Looking ahead, Moody's predicts that the future growth for the sector is likely to continue to be driven by investment in technology, with potential for credit players to further integrate themselves into customer supply chains. To read Reinsurance News' article go to https://www.reinsurancene.ws/credit-insurers-prosper-as-tech-investment-increases-moodys/.
Economic development and protecting trade: the case for credit insurance. The Berne Union's latest BUlletin has reported that cross-border world trade amounted to over $14 trillion in 20161, about 13% of which is supported by members of the Berne Union. Vinco David, Berne Union Secretary General, commented "Without their support, this trade would often not take place. . . the exporters or their financing banks would deem the payment risk on the importer as too high. The transaction would then simply not occur." The article also notes that just over half of the near $2 trillion in cross-border trade that credit insurers support is currently covered by the private market, and there are now some 60 private providers of credit insurance worldwide. To read the latest BUlletin go to https://www.berneunion.org/Newsletter.
Gibson Brands reports decreased sales due in part to the loss of credit insurance. Following a period of financial difficulty, on 2 May Gibson Guitars posted a statement on Facebook to advise that has filed to reorganise "around its core businesses in the Musical Instruments segment" under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. According to a court statement (listed on United States Bankruptcy Court: District of Delaware's website) from the Managing Director at Alvarez & Marsal who will serve as the company’s chief restructuring officer, Gibson Innovations (acquired in 2014) was the source of its financial decline after the business faced significantly decreased sales. According to the statement, this was due in part to the loss of credit insurance overseas. To read Gibson's Facebook post go to https://www.facebook.com/Gibson/posts/10155384414960718.
Coface introduces a new tagline: "Coface: For Trade". Coface has announced that it has launched a new tagline “Coface: For Trade”. Coface reports that the new tagline reflects the transformation that the company is undertaking in line with its strategic plan, Fit to Win, and highlights that Coface's primary focus is to help companies trade better, to help them grow and create prosperity. For more information and to watch a video explaining the new tagline go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Coface-s-purpose-new-tagline-for-trade.
Zimnat sets up trade credit insurance unit. TXF has reported that Zimbabwean insurer Zimnat has recently established a specialist division offering trade credit insurance. The new stand-alone division also provides surety bonds and guarantees. The General Manager of Zimnat’s Trade Credit, Bonds and Guarantees Division Shepherd Tembo, said the new division intends to remodel the way trade credit insurance and surety are transacted in Zimbabwe through tailoring what otherwise would be generic products to suit particular circumstances. To read TXF's article go to https://www.txfnews.com/Tracker/Details/c83c27fd-5cc4-444e-80a3-dd8940b0412e/Zimnat-sets-up-trade-credit-insurance-unit.
Payment terms reached a ten-year high in 2017. Euler Hermes' latest annual review and forecast of global average Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), based on a sample of 20 sectors and 36 countries, has found that in 2017 DSO reached its highest level since 2007 at 66 days. The research also found that this lengthening of DSO in 2017 is widespread, occurring in two out of three sectors and countries. For sectors, the Electronics, Machinery and Construction show the highest DSO (all above 85 days). For countries, China stands out with a +3 day rise, reaching a ten-year high at 92 days, with France (74 days) and Italy (83 days) among the 12 other countries with an average DSO greater than the global average. The UK's DSO is 53 days. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Payment-terms-reached-a-ten-year-high.aspx.
Aon Meets - Paul Overeem. Aon has published a video in which Elizabeth Jenkin, (Chief Broking Officer of Aon Credit Solutions), interviews Paul Overeem (Euler Hermes' newly retired Head of Market Management, Commercial and Distribution). The wide-ranging discussion ranges from Mr Overeem's 29-year career with Euler Hermes, Euler Hermes' use of new technologies, robotics and AI and the importance of the broker (65% of Euler Hermes business is through the broker channel). Mr Overeem also discusses some of the challenges facing the changing credit insurance market, as well as answering some lighter questions. To watch the clip go to http://www.aon.com/unitedkingdom/insights/aon-meets-paul-overeem.jsp.
How poor credit management is leaving Britain’s businesses with millions of pounds of unpaid bills. An article in Financial Director examines why UK businesses are behind the rest of Europe when it comes to adopting credit management software. The article reports that such software is more widely used by Benelux and Nordic countries, closely followed by France and Germany, while the UK is trailing behind - often still relying on spreadsheets. Furthermore, when UK firms do use technology for credit management, the article notes that it’s frequently part of a larger ‘one size fits all system’ rather than a more specialised, configurable system enabling sophisticated data management and segmentation to prioritise and minimise risk. To read Financial Director's article go to https://www.financialdirector.co.uk/2018/04/05/ongoing-struggle-credit-management/.
New Innovation Lab will focus on technologies and innovation for the insurance and the trade finance industry. Tinubu Square has announced the launch of its ‘Innovation LAB’, focusing on key issues, including blockchain, the externalisation of data to the distributed ledger, powerful data security, cryptocurrency implications, automation and multiparty workflows. Jérôme Pezé, CEO and Founder of Tinubu Square, commented: “The LAB will create value for the credit insurance and trade finance industry to further support trade and corporate development across the world.” To read Tinubu Square's news release go to https://www.tinubu.com/tinubu-square-launches-innovation-lab-focusing-on-technologies-innovation-for-insurance-and-the-trade-finance-industry-2/.
Euler Hermes sets up ‘digital and transformation team’. GTR (Global Trade Review) has reported that Euler Hermes has established a new digital and transformation team to “activate the group’s transformation and materialise its ambition of becoming the most innovative B2B insurance company.” The new team is headed by Virginie Fauvel who was appointed the group’s chief transformation officer in January, joining from Allianz France. The Euler Hermes Digital Agency, a project established in 2015 with the goal of partnering with innovators to better manage credit risk, will be part of the new team. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/on-the-move/euler-hermes-sets-up-digital-and-transformation-team/.
Business confidence is starting to be affected by the risk of a trade war. Coface's latest Panorama report on country and sector risks in Q1 2018 reports that global growth seems to have reached its peak and is beginning to show some signs of weakness in advanced countries, with the downward trend in company insolvencies also expected to run out of steam. Coface notes that the US economic cycle is experiencing a fall in corporate profits (-10.3% year-on-year at the end of 2017) while business confidence indexes in the eurozone now clearly show that the peak of economic growth has passed. This turning point coincides with strong supply constraints and a level of political risk that remains high. Coface adds that the spectre of a global trade war may partly explain this impairment of business confidence. To read Coface's news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Country-and-sector-risks-worldwide2.
US policy uncertainty and a potential trade war could quickly darken the bright global economic outlook. Atradius' latest Global Economic Outlook predicts that 2018 should be another year of strong global growth, with GDP growth pushing up to 3.2%. That would be the highest level since 2011. Growth, moreover, is broad-based and includes advanced as well as emerging economies. However, at the same time, Atradius cautions that US policy uncertainty and a potential trade war, "could quickly darken the bright skies". The remaining risks are a hard landing in China, a financial market correction, heightened geopolitical risk, and oil price volatility. To read Atradius' report go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/economic-outlook-may-2018.html.
Euler Hermes is now fully part of the Allianz Group. Following the completion of the simplified tender offer opened from 9-20 April 2018, Allianz reached 94.91% of the share capital and theoretical voting rights of Euler Hermes and implemented a squeeze-out on the remaining shares. This was followed by a delisting from Euronext Paris. As a result, Euler Hermes has now fully become part of the Allianz Group. In total, Allianz will have invested €1.85 billion in this transaction. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Euler-Hermes-to-become-fully-part-of-the-Allianz-Group.aspx.
Atradius has published its latest Country Reports for South America 2018, with standalone reports on Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Columbia. The reports include Atradius' STAR rating, which runs on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 represents the lowest risk and 10 the highest risk. Each country is also categorised as either 'Low Risk’, ‘Moderate-Low Risk’, ‘Moderate Risk’, ‘Moderate-High Risk’ to ‘High Risk’, with a separate grade reserved for ‘Very High Risk,’ with additional rating modifiers (Positive’, ‘Stable’, and ‘Negative’) for each scale step. Using these ratings, Atradius reports that currently Argentina is has a STAR rating of 6 (Moderate-High Risk) - Stable, Brazil has a STAR rating of 5 (Moderate Risk) - Positive, Chile has a STAR rating of 3 (Moderate-Low Risk) - Positive and Colombia has a STAR rating of 4 (Moderate-Low Risk) - Stable. To read Atradius' report go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/results.
FREE Webinar. US Retail Examined: Trends and Perspectives. Thursday 17 May 17. 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT.
Euler Hermes has announced that it will be holding a 60 minute webinar on 17 May to discuss and examine how current events are impacting businesses in the retail sector, the challenges US retail companies are experiencing in 2018 and the latest trends in the online retail subsector. An overview and forecast of the US economy will also be given. To sign-up for the webinar go to https://info.eulerhermes.com/retail-examined-sign-up-page.html.
Bobby Moore Golf Day - Friday 8 June 2018. Fundraising for The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK.
Tony Smith, Export Underwriting Manager at Nexus Trade Credit, is organising a Golf Day at Theydon Bois Golf Club in Epping, Essex on Friday 8 June in aid of The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK. Upwards of 80 golfers will compete in both individual and team events, with a raffle and memorabilia auction.  
Readers of Credit Insurance News Digest are very welcome to buy raffle tickets or receive details of the memorabilia items. Please contact tw.smith@nexusunderwriting.com.
Donations for this fantastic cause would also be greatly appreciated and can be made directly to http://www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/Tony-Smith2018.
Tony commented: "This is the 10th year of this event, which started out with 32 players in year one, but more recently has grown to 70+. Over 200 people have attended over that time, and I continue to remain extremely grateful to everyone who turns out for the day and to support this great charity. Together, we've raised almost £32,500 from the golf days alone."
Congratulations to  . . .
GTR Leaders in Trade: The Winners 
Congratulations to the following winners and nominees of Leaders in Trade awards among our readers: 
  • Best trade credit and political risk insurance broker: Shortlisted nominees: BPL Global, PIB, Texel. Winner: BPL Global. 
  • Best trade credit and political risk insurance underwriter: Shortlisted nominees: Chaucer, Euler Hermes, XL Catlin. Winners: Euler Hermes - Best trade credit insurance underwriter, and Chaucer - Best political risk insurance underwriter.
  • Best trade finance law firm: Shortlisted nominees: Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright, Simmons & Simmons, Sullivan & Worcester. Winner: Allen & Overy. 
  • Best export credit agency: Winner: UKEF.
  • Most innovative bank: Shortlisted nominees: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Commerzbank, HSBC. Winner: HSBC. 
  • Best supply chain finance bank: Shortlisted nominees: BNP Paribas, HSBC, Santander, UniCredit. Winner: BNP Paribas. 
  • Best export finance bank: Shortlisted nominees: BNP Paribas, SMBC, Standard Chartered. Winner: Standard Chartered. 
  • Best trade finance bank: Shortlisted nominees: BNP Paribas, Citi, Crédit Agricole, HSBC, Standard Chartered. Winner: HSBC
And Finally           
A message from Sally Brown, Editor of Credit Insurance News Digest.
I have been deeply dismayed to find that an approximation of the Credit Insurance News logo has been used to market an expensive report on the Credit Insurance Industry.
I would like to make it clear that Credit Insurance News and Credit Management News in no way endorse this report, have not contributed it in any way and have nothing to do with any of the companies or websites currently selling it.
Due to the wonderful industry support of our sponsors and advertisers, Credit Insurance News Digest and Credit Management News Digest are free services and will remain as such. 
I am absolutely delighted that Credit Insurance News Digest is now in its sixth year and would like to thank our sponsors, advertisers and readers for their help, support and encouragement along the way.
New Appointments
Markel International has announced that it has appointed Nicholas Davies as trade credit underwriter and senior risk analyst in Singapore. Mr Davies has over 20 years of experience in the financial services sector and, most recently, worked as a senior underwriter at AIG Europe in London. He will report to Abhishek Chhajer, head of Asia Pacific trade credit business.
Miller has announced that it has expanded its credit and political risks division in London with the appointments of Rosie Denee and Oscar Moseley. Ms Denee was previously in the same role with RKH Specialty. Mr Moseley joins from Marsh where he had been for eight years, including six as vice-president of political risk.
Coface has announced that it has appointed Hassen Bennour as CEO of its newly-established Middle East North Africa (Mena) segment. Mr Bennour’s last role was CEO of AXA Green Crescent  Before this; he served in several senior positions at AXA Gulf.
Euler Hermes has announced that following the appointment of Virginie Fauvel as Chief Transformation Officer in January, it has set-up a new digital and transformation team and has appointed Marion Silvain and Charles Ruelle as co-heads of the Digital Agency, while Nicolas Polaillon will lead the newly created Data Lab as Chief Data Officer. In addition, Valia Papadea will head a new structure named the “Continuous Productivity Improvement & Value Creation” team and Max Cadena will become Virginie Fauvel‘s Head of Office
Talbot Underwriting has announced two appointments to its global Political Risk and Credit team. Jonathan Goh has joined as Political Risk & Credit Underwriter and will be based in Talbot’s Singapore offices. Previously, he was with Zurich Insurance as a Senior Political Risk and Credit Underwriter. Russell Fisher has been appointed Senior Credit Analyst based in London, supporting the London, Singapore, and Validus Specialty New York offices. He was previously a Political Risk and Credit Underwriter at Ironshore Europe.
CMR Insurance Services has announced the promotion of Stephen Uwins to Marketing Manager. Mr Uwins has been with CMR for nearly ten years, and was most recently employed as Marketing and Accounts Executive.
Business Information & Reports 
PLEASE NOTE: We are delighted to re-produce a small selection of news items from our new business information publication, Credit Management News Digest below.
Our new publication offers a lengthier business information section, with additional information on useful tools, reports and apps. Click here to read the latest issue.
Thousands of UK businesses have experienced a deterioration in their financial health since Article 50 was triggered. According to Begbies Traynor’s Red Flag Alert research for Q1 2018, 477,210 businesses were experiencing ‘Significant’ financial distress at the end of March 2018 - up 33% compared to when Article 50 was triggered on 29 March last year. While ‘Significant’ distress rose in every sector and region of the UK over the past 12 months, the sectors with the largest volumes of businesses in distress were Support Services (115,249 companies, up 40% year on year), Construction (60,541, up 26%), Real Estate & Property (41,624, up 46%) and Telecommunications (32,538, up 47%). Regionally, London saw the largest increase in significant distress, up 42%, affecting 119,419 businesses in the Capital. To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to https://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/news/business-health-statistics/uk-corporate-financial-health-deteriorates-since-article-50-was-triggered.
UK store openings are at the lowest level in seven years. The number of new high street stores opening in 2017 fell to 4,083, from 4,534 in 2016, according to research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC) for PwC. The data also shows that the second half of 2017 saw substantially more closures and fewer openings than the first six months of the year. Altogether, 5,855 outlets closed on Great Britain’s high streets in 2017, a rate of 16 stores a day, and a slight increase on the 15 stores a day closing in 2016. This is the second consecutive year that the number of closures has risen, and the findings equate to an overall net loss of 1,772 stores disappearing from Great Britain’s town centres in 2017. To read PwC's news release go to https://www.pwc.co.uk/press-room/press-releases/store-openings-at-lowest-level-in-seven-years-as-digital-demands-and-appetite-for-experiences-continue-to-redefine-british-high-streets.html.
The IMF predicts that the UK economy will under-perform all of Europe except Italy in 2018. The IMF has advised that it has revised its growth forecasts upwards for 2018–19 for all major economies in the euro area. In France, growth is expected to firm up from 1.8% in 2017 to 2.1% this year, before softening slightly to 2% in 2019. In Germany, growth is expected to remain stable at 2.5% in 2018 and moderate to 2% in 2019. Italy’s economy is also set to grow at a steady rate of 1.5% this year, softening to 1.1% in 2019. In Spain, growth is projected to decline from 3.1% in 2017 to 2.8% in 2018 and 2.2% in 2019. In the UK, the IMF predicts that growth will slow from 1.8% in 2017 to 1.6% in 2018 and 1.5% in 2019, with business investment expected to remain weak in light of heightened uncertainty about post-Brexit arrangements. To read the IMF's report go to http://www.imf.org/en/publications/weo.
UK company bad debt rises by more than 366% year-on-year. The latest Creditsafe Watchdog Report has shown that debt owed to UK businesses across 11 core UK sectors was £580 million higher in the last three months than in Q4, 2017. After falling to a 12-month low in Q4 2017 of £157.9 million, bad debt filed in the first quarter of 2018 reached £738.7 million - a rise of 366.1% year-on-year. The average value of this debt also increased by 365.9% over the last 12 months to a high of £929,875 per outstanding payment. In addition, the number of companies that failed during the previous three months has risen by 28.3% to 4,567. To read Creditsafe's news release with a link to the full report go to https://www.creditsafe.com/gb/en/more/hub/newsroom/UK-company-bad-debt-rises-by-580m.html.
GDP growth of 0.2% in Q1 2018. The National Institute for Social and Economic Research (NIESR) has forecast that UK GDP growth slowed to 0.2% in the first quarter of 2018 - down from 0.4% for the final quarter of 2017. Amit Kara, Head of UK Macroeconomic Forecasting at NIESR, said: “The main reason for the weakness was severe weather in March which is likely to have disrupted activity in all major sectors of the economy." However, he also cautioned: "There is reason to interpret our forecast as well as official national accounts data for this period with some caution because of revisions that may well be larger than normal if previous severe weather episodes serve as a guide. Take for example the quarterly GDP growth for the final quarter of 2010 when the UK experienced a prolonged period of extreme cold weather. The economy was initially estimated to have shrunk by 0.5%, but subsequent data revisions show that the economy expanded by 0.1% over this period.” To read NIESR's news release go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/media/niesr-press-release-gdp-growth-02-2018q1-13322.
Uninspiring growth: UK economy forecast to grow by 1.6% in 2018. The latest EY ITEM Club has reported that the UK economy continues to display a lack of momentum and shows little sign of breaking the pattern of stunted growth seen in the second half of 2017. EY's latest Spring Forecast expects UK GDP growth in the first quarter of 2018 to have been 0.2% quarter-on-quarter and predicts that GDP will grow by 1.6% in 2018 (a downgrade from the 1.7% predicted in its Winter Forecast), and then by 1.7% in 2019. EY also predicts that the Bank of England will raise interest rates twice this year, from 0.5% to 0.75% initially and then to 1.0%. Furthermore, a recovery in sterling, particularly against the US dollar, means that the ‘sweet spot’ in exchange rates enjoyed by UK exporters is set to be soured. EY forecast that UK export growth will fall to 3.3% in 2018 from 5.7% in 2017. To read EY's news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.ey.com/uk/en/issues/business-environment/financial-markets-and-economy/item---forecast-headlines-and-projections.
52% of UK invoices were paid late in 2017. Bdaily has published an article, 'Goliath Still Winning in Late Payment Epidemic', which shows that new analysis from hundreds of thousands of small businesses that process their invoices through Xero indicates that despite policies to reduce late payments for the UK's small businesses, 52% of invoices were paid late in 2017. The research also revealed that UK small businesses experience the tightest cash-flow squeeze in the first quarter of the year, with only 45% of Xero subscribers starting the New Year cash flow positive in 2017. FTSE 350 companies in the Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology sector were revealed to pay the most inconsistently, with invoices being paid an average of 47 days in 2017, a low of 37 days in September 2017 and a high of 68 days in June 2017. To read the article go to https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2018/04/25/goliath-still-winning-in-late-payment-epidemic.
The UK economy is treading water despite the export boost. The British Chambers of Commerce's (BCC) latest Quarterly Economic Survey shows that UK economic growth remained subdued in the first quarter of 2018, despite a strong export performance. In the service sector, a key driver of the UK economy, the proportion of firms reporting improved export sales and orders rose slightly, although overall growth remained muted and relatively unchanged from the previous three months. Consumer-facing industries continue to report tougher trading conditions than B2B firms. In the manufacturing sector, the proportion of firms reporting improved export sales stands at its highest since Q2 2014. However, domestic factors continue to weigh on the UK economy. Fewer firms in the manufacturing sector saw an increase in domestic orders, and the balance of firms reporting an increase in domestic sales is now at its lowest level since Q4 2016. To read the BCC's news release go to http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/press-office/press-releases/bcc-quarterly-economic-survey-uk-economy-treading-water-despite-export-boost.html.
High level of retail profit warnings ‘a worrying omen’. According to EY’s latest Profit Warnings report, although UK quoted companies issued 73 profit warnings in Q1 2018, two fewer than the same quarter of 2017 and 10% less than the previous quarter, this masks one of the toughest quarters on the UK’s high street. According to the report, 13 profit warnings from almost a fifth (18%) of companies in the FTSE General Retailers sector in Q1 2018 points to the sector feeling the full force of the adverse headwinds battering the high street. In the year to date, 41% of FTSE General Retailers have issued a profit warning. The FTSE sectors issuing the most profit warnings in Q1 2018 were General Retailers (13), Support Services (10), Software & Computer Services (6), and Travel & Leisure (5). Cost and competitive pressures remain high on the agenda, cited in 32% of warnings. To read EY's news release go to http://www.ey.com/uk/en/newsroom/news-releases/18-04-16-high-level-of-retail-profit-warnings-a-worrying-omen.
Underlying UK company insolvencies rise to the highest level since Q1 2014. The latest figures published by the Insolvency Service for Q1 2018, indicate that total company insolvencies decreased by 1.1% compared to Q4 2017. However, in comparison with Q1 2017, UK insolvencies rose by 12.6% from Q1 2017 and the underlying number (excluding the effect of bulk insolvencies) of company insolvencies rose by 13% on the previous quarter and by 0.6% on the same quarter last year - to the highest level since Q1 2014. Commenting on the statistics, Duncan Swift, vice-president of insolvency and restructuring body R3, said: “Insolvency has risen up the agenda over the first quarter, with a roll-call of high-profile names – Carillion, Maplin, Toys R Us – entering a statutory insolvency procedure, and widely-reported restructuring efforts at a number of other chains, especially in the casual dining space. Crucially, any time a company encounters difficulties, there is a ‘domino’ effect on its suppliers and customers who may face their own financial problems as a result of lost income or key supplies." To see the Insolvency Services' latest data go to https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/703180/Insolvency_Statistics_Commentary-_Q1_2018_v3.pdf.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.  
For R3's comment go to https://www.r3.org.uk/index.cfm?page=1114&element=31961&refpage=1008.
Career Opportunities
Claims Underwriter Trade Credit
Nexus Trade Credit is seeking a Claims Underwriter for its international trade credit business. This exciting role will involve dealing with large value and complex claims arising from international trade.
While the role is based in London, many of the claims will originate from business underwritten from overseas underwriting offices of the Nexus subsidiary, Equinox Global Limited, in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the US as well as the UK. The successful candidate needs to be comfortable handling documentation in French, German, Dutch and Spanish and must have the mental flexibility to adapt to non UK legal and cultural practices, mainly but not exclusively, in Germany, France and the Netherlands including insolvency procedures. Debts reviewed can be from any territory around the world so modern commercial knowledge will also assist in functioning in the position. The candidate will report to the Nexus Claims Management team manager The role also involves directing proactive loss minimisation on larger potential losses. Some overseas travel will be required.
Person specification
  • Knowledge and experience of trade credit claims
  • Knowledge of the documentation involved in international trade, and how to demonstrate movement of goods
  • Ability to negotiate at CEO/CFO level
  • Good understanding of trade credit policy wordings
  • Some knowledge of European languages is desirable though not essential
  • Some knowledge of insurance law desirable but not essential 
Duties to include
  • Working within Binder constraints
  • Claim logging and documentation co-ordination
  • Claim examination and report generation
  • Manage the Lloyds payment process with Carriers via ECF
  • Management Information generation
  • Chairing monthly Carrier review meeting
  • Awareness of current legal regulations including Insurance Act 2015
  • Liaising with other Nexus Claims Adjusters
  • Client visits as required to discuss complex claims or review credit management procedures
  • To perform any other reasonable task as requested from time to time
Objectives
  • To work to company standards and manage annual performance related tasks
  • To record new claims and acknowledge them within three days of receipt
  • To provide an initial review to the client within 10 working days
  • To manage the claim settlement timetable and keep all parties advised of payment progress
  • To train other members of the team including underwriting with technical information as required 
Required Qualifications, Skills, Knowledge, Experience
  • Minimum 3 years’ 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.
Events & Offers
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
GTR Europe Trade & Export Finance Conference 2018, 22 May. Paris. 
Key market gathering for European trade, export finance specialists and business heads operating across the continent, GTR Europe Trade & Export Finance Conference returns to Paris on May 22.
Building on GTR’s unrivalled reach in the trade and export markets, the conference will welcome more than 200 delegates to the French capital. Delivering a comprehensive overview of European trade and manufacturing hubs, the adoption of technology & fintech, assessing the current performance of the insurance market, and much more, this year’s event has been accredited by the ICC Academy, making this the ideal networking, but also learning platform. Click here for more information and to register, or contact Judith at jmulhausen@gtreview.com
Note, Credit Insurance News readers enjoy a 15% discount to all GTR events. Quote code CIN15.
East Africa Trade & Commodity Finance Conference 2018, 22 May 2018. Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi.
GTR marks ten years in Nairobi with the East Africa Trade & Commodity Finance Conference 2018, the EAC’s most comprehensive gathering of commodity producers, traders, corporates and financiers.
Notwithstanding political risks and structural finance sector challenges impacting the region, a wealth of business opportunity is available to those with an understanding of East African trade. 
2018’s event will bring experienced trade and finance specialists to the stage to provide insights on operating in this exciting region, including geopolitical updates, innovations in financial technology, techniques enabling the distribution of finance throughout the manufacturing and commodity value chain, and credit and political risk insurance capacities. With over 300 expected to attend in May, this is an unmissable event for all those doing business in East Africa. Click here for more information and to register. Note, Credit Management Digest readers enjoy a 15% discount to all GTR events. Quote code CIN15.
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
UK Trade & Export Finance Conference 2018, 7 June. London. 
Promising to be another huge success, the UK Trade & Export Finance Conference 2018 returns to London, as the annual highlight with a high-class programme set to update over 500 domestic exporters, financiers and trade specialists. Approaching trending topics, such as the UK's status in the world of global trade, from various expert points of views, the event features more streams and interactive sessions than in previous years and will not only identify new export markets, making this the event ideal for UK corporates seeking to broaden their export horizons, but will also host the Open to Export Action Plan Competition!
Click here for more information and to register, or contact Judith at jmulhausen@gtreview.com. Note, Credit Insurance News readers enjoy a 15% discount to all GTR events. Quote code CIN15.
Commodity Trade Finance Conference 2018, 27 September. Lugano.
GTR’s annual Commodity Trade Finance Conference, organised in partnership with the Lugano Commodity Trading Association (LCTA), returns to Switzerland on September 27. Set to gather over 200 commodity trade experts from multinationals, trading companies, financial institutions and service providers, the event will assess the key trends impacting global commodity markets and trade, from geopolitical volatility to commodity financing appetite and liquidity. 
Established as the ultimate networking and learning platform for the industry’s key players, attendees will receive critical market insight, build business relationships and gain the inside track on the latest commodity financing trends and techniques.
Click here for more information and to register, or contact Judith at Jmulhausen@gtreview.com. Note, Credit Insurance News readers enjoy a 15% discount to all GTR events. Quote code CIN15.
About the Sponsor:  Nexus Trade Credit
Nexus Trade Credit is the longest established credit insurance managing general agent (MGA) in the market. We are proud to be backed by several leading Lloyd’s syndicates, thereby offering policies with a very strong “A” (AM Best) rating.
Our 50+ team of underwriters offer expertise in domestic and international whole turnover credit insurance, and single situation cover, which includes contract frustration and political risk as well as credit transactions. Our team has grown further during 2017 with the acquisition of similarly-minded Lloyd’s MGA, Equinox Global (http://www.equinox-global.co/), expanding both our presence overseas and our product offering. As well as offices in the UK, we now have bases in Germany, the Netherlands, France, and the US. Product specialisms added include Top-Up cover, Trigger Policies, and Non-Cancellable limits. We also offer Surety Bonds through our sister company, EBA.
In addition to the above, we provide a suite of products to enhance companies’ credit management, including, “First Collect” our highly regarded debt collection service and “First Limit” offering real-time credit opinions and 24/7 monitoring.
Nexus Trade Credit is part of the Nexus Group, a speciality MGA on a dynamic growth path, concentrating on niche classes of business and delivering excellent service and cutting edge products. The Nexus Group has 30 underwriting partners and underwrites PI, D&O, financial lines, accident & health, marine, and reinsurance as well as trade credit. Nexus Group were included in the 2018 Sunday Times ‘Fasttrack 100.
http://www.nexusunderwriting.com/trade-credit/.
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