Welcome to the April 2020 issue of Credit Insurance News Digest. This issue is sponsored by InfolinkGazette

Please note: Amid such a fast-moving global pandemic, news stories of just a few days old quickly become outdated. Consequently, we have provided the publication date of the news releases or articles featured in this month's issue, with items closest to our publication date (8 April) displayed first.
Credit Insurance News
6 April: Coface predicts that 2020 will see the global economy's first recession since 2009. Coface's latest Barometer forecasts that as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic, 2020 will see the global economy's first recession since 2009, with a growth rate of -1.3% (after +2.5% in 2019). Coface also expects recessions in 68 countries (vs only 11 last year), world trade to fall by 4.3% this year (after a -0.4% drop in 2019), and a 25% worldwide increase in business failures (compared to Coface's previous January forecast of +2%).  Coface anticipates that this trend in business failures will affect the US (+39%) and all the main Western European economies (+18%): Germany (+11%), France (+15%), the UK (+33%), Italy (+18%) and Spain (+22%), although the shock could be even more violent in emerging economies. To read Coface's news release with a link to the full report go to https://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Coface-Barometer-COVID-19-heading-towards-a-sudden-global-surge-in-business-insolvencies.    
3 April: UKEF expands protection against non-payment for UK exporters. UK Export Finance has announced that, with immediate effect, it is expanding the scope of its Export Insurance Policy to cover transactions with the EU, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the US by offering insurance that can cover up to 95% of the value of an export contract. Exports from the UK to these markets totalled £499 billion last year, accounting for 74% of all international sales from the UK. Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, said: "Exports play a crucial role in our economy and it’s right that UK businesses trading internationally are protected during this challenging time. That’s why we are offering a guarantee to these businesses that they will get paid, so they can continue to export with confidence and support the UK economy." To read GOV.UK's news release go to https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ukef-expands-protection-against-non-payment-for-uk-exporters.
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6 April: Podcast: BPL Global on the impact of COVID-19 on the credit and political risk insurance sector. TXF has published a podcast in which James Esdaile, Managing Director at BPL Global, discusses the significant exposure private insurers have to short-term trade credit and supply chain finance risk amid the COVID-19 crisis. As ECAs re-enter the private market as concerns grow over the sector being under strain (the ratings downgrades of monoline insurers Coface and Sirius Bermuda Insurance are noted), he also examines whether the pandemic could change the dynamic of the credit and political risk insurance market and considers how the private sector could look in the wake of Coronavirus. To listen to the podcast go to https://www.txfnews.com/News/Article/6960/Podcast-BPL-Global-on-the-impact-of-Covid-19-on-CPRI.
3 April: Trade credit insurance squeeze could hurt the UK steel. Argus Media has reported that UK banks are trying to support stockholders, but warns that reductions to credit insurance could lessen the impact of their help. The article notes that some UK steel stockholders have been offered interest-free 12-month loans by banks after the government announced loan guarantees, but the increasing risk aversion of credit insurers could make such loans less helpful. One large coil supplier mentioned in the article estimates that 70% of stockholders have had their credit insurance reduced, if not pulled, by leading trade credit insurers. Another commented to Argus Media: "They give you an umbrella when the sun shines, then take it back when it rains."  To read Argus Media's article go to https://www.argusmedia.com/en/news/2093350-credit-insurance-squeeze-could-hurt-uk-steel.    
2 April: Trade credit insurers urged not to cut cover in 'critical' IT channel. A recent CRN article has reported that following generic warnings of cover reductions from Atradius and QBE seen by CRN, trade credit insurers have been warned that any move to reduce exposure in the IT channel could stifle essential supply lines during the COVID-19 crisis. Paul Cubbage, Managing Director of distributor Target Components, commented: "Underwriters have to be able to defend what they do on an ethical basis during this period. The usual rules, where someone just changes a number on a spreadsheet, shouldn't be applied." A second distribution boss, who preferred not to be named, said: "I would imagine that all insurers will try to reduce their exposure right now if they can, and will try a number of tactics." To read CRN's article go to https://www.channelweb.co.uk/news/4013506/credit-insurers-urged-cut-cover-critical-channel.  
2 April: Germany to provide credit insurance guarantees to keep trade flowing. Insurance Journal has reported that the German government and the country's credit insurance industry have agreed to help to maintain insurance cover for trade despite economic hardship related to the Coronavirus outbreak. Sources told Insurance Journal that under the plan, the German government would guarantee up to €30 billion (US$32.8 billion) for the commercial credit insurance industry. In return, trade credit insurers are committing to maintaining (or even extending) their coverage, and to paying the government two-thirds of their premiums this year. The credit insurers, along with the government, will also absorb the first €500 million in losses. To read Insurance Journal's article go to https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2020/04/02/563116.htm.
1 April: Trade credit insurers response to COVID-19: a summary. Clearview Credit & Financial Risks Limited has provided a useful summary of how trade credit insurers' Atradius, Coface, Euler Hermes, Nexus, QBE and Tokio Marine HCC have relaxed or amended their policy terms and conditions to help ease the burden for policyholders of reporting overdue accounts while maintaining cover. Some insurers also have indicated they may – on a case-by-case basis – consider offering short term deferred premium payments too. The summary is correct as of 1 April, and details are liable to change. Policyholders should refer to their insurer for full details and latest advice. To read Clearview's article go to https://www.clearviewcredit.co.uk/credit-insurers-response-to-covid-19.
1 April: Trade credit and political risk insurers are "typically honouring commitments". TXF recently spoke to Sian Aspinall, Managing Director at credit and political risk insurance broker, BPL Global, who stressed that as almost all parties have tried and tested business continuity planning systems, the specialty insurance market in London and globally is continuing to function well. Although she noted that for the single situation trade credit insurance market, the severe economic uncertainty and the disproportionate impact on certain industry sectors are proving challenging, she commented that "our experience to date evidences that insurers are typically honouring commitments and maintaining support on existing transactions." To read TXF's article go to https://www.txfnews.com/News/Article/6957/On-financial-triage-In-viro-veritas-3.  
1 April: Nexus broking division Xenia completes the acquisition of trade credit business from Howden UK. Further to the announcement made in early March 2020, Nexus Group has announced that its independent broking arm, Xenia Broking Group, has now completed the acquisition of the trade credit business of Howden UK Group Limited.  Xenia will integrate Howden's trade credit business with its regulated entity Credit Risk Solutions Limited (CRS). Nexus launched Xenia Broking Group Limited in March 2019 and Xenia currently comprises specialist trade credit brokers Credit Risk Solutions Ltd, acquired in October 2017, and Credit & Business Finance Ltd, acquired in March 2019. To read Nexus' news release go to http://www.nexusunderwriting.com/news/nexus-broking-division-xenia-completes-acquisition-of-trade-credit-business-from-howden-uk.
1 April: EU countries give guarantees to credit insurers to prevent coverage cuts. Insurance Journal has reported that European Union states are giving guarantees to trade credit insurers in a bid to keep Coronavirus-hit companies afloat. In France, for example, the finance ministry said credit insurers had vowed not to cut or curtail cover, in return for a reinsurance backstop worth up to €10 billion, while the French government announced €2 billion (US$2.2 billion) in short-term aid as part of a package to help French exporters with credit insurance. "It would be needed to convince credit insurers not to massively reduce the lines, otherwise we will have problems, especially if there is a delay in payments," a member of the French association of corporate treasurers, AFTE, said. To read Insurance Journal's article go to https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2020/04/01/562978.htm.
30 March: Euler Hermes downgrades the risk rating of 18 countries and 126 sectors and predicts a 14% increase in insolvencies in 2020. Euler Hermes has announced that it has downgraded 18 country risk ratings in the first quarter of 2020 due to the risk of a prolonged recession and a wave of bankruptcies caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. It also lowered 126 sector ratings across automotive, transportation, electronics, and retail in numerous countries and is predicting a global economic slowdown in 2020 (0.5% growth compared to 2.5% in 2019). In parallel, international trade is expected to contract by 4.5%, with an increase in insolvencies of 14% in 2020. In this weak international landscape, numerous countries and sectors will be hit hard. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/en_global/media-news/news/2020-risk-ratings-Euler-Hermes-downgrades-the-risk-rating-of-18-countries-and-126-sectors.html.
30 March: COVID-19 could drive significant losses for trade credit insurers. Reinsurance News has reported that although AM Best is expecting the unfolding Coronavirus pandemic to result in significant losses for trade credit insurers, the short-tail nature of the product - which enables the trade credit insurers to reprice and de-risk their portfolios - may partly offset the negative impacts. AM Best also notes that while the dependence of credit insurers on reinsurance leaves them subject to changes in terms and conditions and vulnerable to capacity withdrawals, this is partly mitigated through long-standing relationships with a well-diversified panel of reinsurance counterparties. To read Reinsurance News' article go to https://www.reinsurancene.ws/covid-19-could-drive-significant-losses-for-trade-credit-insurers-am-best/.
27 March: The European Commission anticipates a global contraction of the private insurance market for exports to all countries due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The European Commission (EC) has announced that it has decided to temporarily remove all countries from the list of 'marketable risk' countries under the Short-term export-credit insurance Communication. This follows a warning by some Member States that they expect a global contraction of the private insurance market for exports to all countries due to the Coronavirus outbreak. A subsequent urgent public consultation pointed not only to an imminent insufficiency of private insurance capacity for exports to all countries but a likely significant rise in demand for insurance as a result of the current crisis. The Commission's action will make public short-term export credit insurance more widely available. To read the EC's news release go to https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_542.
Please note that the text above is a summary of the European Commission's news release.
27 March: COVID-19 may have long-term implications on the trade credit insurance market. According to a new AM Best commentary, increased global insolvencies resulting from the Coronavirus crisis, along with disruptions in complex supply chains, are expected to lead to higher claims activity and pressure on trade credit insurers' profitability. AM Best warns that depending on the level of insolvencies, and on the success of the mitigating actions taken by insurers, claims ratios could inch closer to the mid-to-high 80% levels seen during the financial crisis of 2008-2009 from the 45%-50% level achieved in later years. In the short-term, this is likely to lead to a contraction in trade credit insurance capacity as insurers actively manage their risk exposures. In the longer term, trade credit insurers will need to reconsider their pricing, limits, recovery rate assumptions and reinsurance strategies. To read AM Best's report go to http://news.ambest.com/presscontent.aspx?refnum=29207&altsrc=9.
27 March: Moody's suggests that trade credit insurers will be "broadly resilient" as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on financial markets. Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) has warned that, because of their very high operating leverage, trade credit insurers' profitability and capitalisation will be sensitive to significant spikes in claims relating to the current pandemic. However, Moody's overall expectation is that the insurers' credit profiles will be broadly resilient to the widespread economic and financial markets disruption related to the Coronavirus. It also notes that trade credit insurers' credit profiles are generally supported by strong capitalisation levels, which, along with the short-tail nature of trade credit exposures, allows the insurers to quickly reduce limits and exposure in response to deteriorating market conditions. Furthermore, Moody's observes that credit insurers had already adopted a more conservative underwriting stance during 2019 in response to growing challenges evident in the global economy.  To read Moody's news release go to https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-takes-action-on-five-trade-credit-insurers--PR_1000002044.  
25 March: European ECAs unveil fresh support as COVID-19 impact deepens. GTR (Global Trade Review) has reported that several export credit agencies (ECAs) across Europe are responding to the Coronavirus pandemic by unveiling drastic new measures aimed at ensuring businesses still have access to finance and so can continue exporting goods. These include Polish agency Kuke, Norwegian credit agency Giek, Denmark’s EKF, Spain's export credit agency Cesce and France's export credit agency Bpifrance. In Britain, UK Export Finance had (as of 25 March) yet to set out any new measures, but noted that its export working capital and insurance schemes (including a £5 billion boost to UKEF's lending capacity announced in the 2020 budget) can ease cashflow restraints for businesses experiencing problems with delayed or disrupted payments.  A further announcement followed on 3 April (see above). To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/europe/european-ecas-unveil-fresh-support-as-covid-19-impact-deepens/.
25 March: COVID-19: Guidance on trade credit insurance policy compliance. Marsh has published an article by Eddie Feather, Claims Leader at Marsh's Trade Credit Practice, which suggests that re-examining how a credit insurance policy works will help policyholders understand how and when their policy may be triggered. He notes that currently many companies are asking how insurers will respond to claims under their credit insurance policy if customers are unable to pay due to the impact of COVID-19, and reassures that credit insurers will likely respond to legitimate claims from companies who are policy-compliant. "In our experience" he stresses, "credit insurers pay valid claims." To read Marsh's advice go to https://www.marsh.com/uk/insights/risk-in-context/covid-19-guidance-trade-credit-policy-compliance.html.
24 March: Lessons of '08 mean trade credit insurers are "battened down" for the coming storm. S&P Global has published an article which notes that trade credit insurers will suffer a jump in claims from the new Coronavirus outbreak, but are well-positioned to cope. And while they are reducing their exposures in response to the pandemic, insurers are also applying lessons learned in the 2008 financial crisis. Robert Nijhout, executive director of ICISA, said in an interview that the industry is "extremely well-capitalized" thanks to Europe's Solvency II regime and, further, that the industry's 2019 performance was "very, very good." Although the outbreak could prompt a wave of corporate insolvencies, trade credit insurers are "geared up for this". To read S&P Global's article go to https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/lessons-of-08-mean-trade-credit-insurers-are-battened-down-for-the-coming-storm-57720429.  
20 March: The top concerns for CFOs in the US. Insurance Business has reported that a survey by Euler Hermes has found that at the beginning of this year, more than 50% of CFOs cited high or moderate levels of concern - a percentage that the article acknowledges will likely increase throughout 2020 as the COVID-19 outbreak causes massive global disruption. James Daly, President and CEO of Euler Hermes Americas, commented: "The important thing is that SMEs start talking to us about trade credit insurance before their country, or a country they do business in, goes into recession. It's important to get a policy in place when there's capacity in the market. During times of economic slowdown, that capacity is either going to disappear, or it will be locked down." To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/breaking-news/revealed-the-top-concerns-for-cfos-in-the-us-217485.aspx.
20 March: COVID-19: Issues around trade credit insurance cover. McCann Fitzgerald has published an article which examines some of the key questions that businesses need to answer to determine if their losses are insured in the Corononavirus crisis. The analysis notes that in the case of credit insurance, both potential cover exclusions and the reason for the non-payment needs to be examined. "Was there actually an obligation on the debtor to pay the insured or could a force majeure clause in their contract have come into play releasing the debtor from that obligation?" To read McCann Fitzgerald's article go to https://www.mccannfitzgerald.com/knowledge/disputes/covid-19-issues-around-insurance-cover-for-business.
19 March: COVID-19 impact on trade: The role of credit insurance. A new C-Suite report from Aon examines the impact of the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and notes that the trade credit insurance market is expecting a significant increase in payment defaults due to the Coronavirus epidemic. As a result, Aon notes that trade credit insurers have started to implement plans to review and reduce their insured exposures in certain countries and trade sectors. In addition, going forward they will need transparent and up-to-date information - especially around liquidity and cash flow forecasts - to continue to support credit limits on higher risk businesses. Aon also advises that, unless advised otherwise, insurers' typical policy requirements apply. To read Aon's C-Suite report go to https://www.aon.com/getmedia/274a8aaa-cb44-4562-85e9-4b9dbb1a18cb/CSS_Credit_Solutions_Coronavirus_POV_v6.aspx.
18 March: 'Challenging year ahead' for UK exporters despite UKEF funding boost. GTR (Global Trade Review) has reported that although the UK government's decision to more than double the permanent funding of UK Export Finance (UKEF) is welcomed, any potential benefits risk being outweighed by falling demand from the EU and the Coronavirus crisis. "Our sense now is that events have largely overtaken what was announced in last week's budget," commented a spokesperson for Make UK. There is also the longer-term issue of falling European demand for UK exports. For example, a new report by Make UK shows that demand dipped after the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 and fell sharply again at the start of this year. Markus Kuger, Chief Economist at Dun & Bradstreet, told GTR: "Exporters are facing increasing headwinds, and not all of that is Coronavirus". To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/europe/challenging-year-ahead-for-uk-exporters-despite-funding-boost/.
17 March: Atradius declares solid full-year financials. Insurance Business has reported that Atradius' insurance premium revenue was up 6.7% year over year, with total insurance premium revenue of €1,759.5 million in 2019. Atradius also noted that the improvement in credit insurance was stable and consistent in almost every region, with Asia, UK and Ireland, Northern and Central Europe, and North America, along with the global unit, showing the strongest growth rates. Atradius posted a 43.8% claims ratio in 2019 as a result of fewer large claims than in 2018. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/breaking-news/atradius-declares-solid-fullyear-financials-217031.aspx.
12 March: Trade Credit Insurers face investment losses combined with increased claims. Insurance Journal has reported that as recession threatens and companies with trade credit insurance come under strain due to the Coronavirus pandemic, insurers' investments are also coming under pressure. "It's not a good time for anyone in the credit world," said Jeremy Shallow, Head of Specialty at Argo Global. He added that a possible recession was factored into the firm's underwriting of trade credit insurance. According to Bernie de Haldevang, Head of credit, political risk and crisis management at Canopius, trade credit insurers would be most cautious about sectors such as travel and entertainment. To read Insurance Journal's article go to https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2020/03/12/560940.htm.
Do insurers have COVID-19 covered? A new article by KPMG notes that while crisis such as COVID-19 affects all areas of the insurance industry, it especially puts a spotlight on non-life insurers. According to KPMG, one of the sectors most likely to be impacted is the $11 billion global trade credit insurance sector, which, KPMG warns, could face rapidly spiralling claims if increasing numbers of companies go out of business. However, the cost for the industry will, of course, very much depend on just how bad the pandemic becomes, the extent to which containment measures affect different kinds of businesses, and how long it lasts. On the positive side, KPMG suggests that the crisis could be the spur to look at moving more systems and applications to the cloud - "an area that insurers have lagged other sectors in". To read KPMG's news release go to https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/insights/2020/03/do-insurers-have-covid-19-covered.html
9 March: Tinubu Square announces the acquisition of US-based company eSURETY. Tinubu Square has announced its first corporate acquisition in the US. eSURETY is an award-winning provider of cloud-based surety solutions which enable MGAs to apply, quote, bond, issue, and support every form of surety and can be fully white-labelled. Dan Buckles, the former CEO of eSURETY, was appointed Deputy CEO of Tinubu Square Americas and President of Tinubu Square Surety Americas. Tinubu Square's latest advertising tile announcing the acquisition is displayed on our advertising banner (left) and homepage. To read Tinubu Square's news release go to https://www.tinubu.com/tinubu-square-announces-acquisition-of-u-s-company-esurety/.
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Industry Experts Comment on the Coronavirus Pandemic
For this issue, we reached out to a number of our supporters, sponsors, advertisers and readers for their view of the potential impact of the current Coronavirus pandemic on the trade credit insurance industry. We are tremendously grateful to everyone who has contributed their comments at such a busy time.
Vinco David, Secretary General of the Berne Union 
"The COVID-19 pandemic is obviously having a serious impact on credit insurers, the insured companies and their customers. In some affected industry sectors, a lack of liquidity is imminent or has already manifested itself. We welcome emergency government measures with the objective to provide this liquidity, including temporary ECA schemes and schemes jointly with private credit insurers to provide additional support to trade credit and working capital.”
John Cockshutt, Director, W Denis Credit Risks
"COVID-19 is the biggest crisis the credit insurance industry has faced since the credit crunch of 08/09. Like the credit crunch, it is unprecedented, but carries a much higher and tragic human cost. 
Insurers, worried about exposures are starting to remove cover. It feels more targeted than in 08-09, but it’s early days. It probably has little practical effect in that the claims that will come in have already been underwritten. Removing cover now only serves to increase cynicism about the product, without doing a great deal to mitigate risk. 
The removal of cover will leave the industry badly placed when we start to return to normal, unless there is a change in underwriting criteria. It has been said of credit insurance that it is the oil that helps the wheels of industry to turn, and when businesses start to trade again, insurers will be asked to reinstate cover being taken away now to help those wheels turn. If they insist on management accounts, and up to date figures credit insurance will prove a hindrance, not a help."
Karl Hague, Head of Sales & Partnerships. Nimbla 
"COVID-19 is likely to be a watershed moment for the credit insurance industry. The way we handle the crisis will be remembered for years to come. the number of new-to-market cases has declined significantly since the last recession, just ±14,000 businesses in the UK hold a policy. 
 It is in times like this that the service becomes much more relevant, but also when underwriters can be seen as ‘taking away the umbrella’. This is unfair — if you knew a storm was coming, would you go outside? Still, the industry has never been very good at appealing to SMEs, let alone helping them in their hour of need. We see this as a real opportunity to educate Britain's SMEs that this service is available."
Nabil Jijkali, Deputy CEO, Credendo
"In order to control the spread of COVID-19, European countries have taken drastic containment measures. All trade credit insurers have taken their responsibility and implemented the necessary measures to guarantee the safety of their employees while maintaining business continuity in order to further support the economy. (IT tools made possible a different way of working replacing physical meetings by video conferences). 
We understand that the business of our clients and partners is also being put to a severe test. As the COVID-19 situation evolves every day and poses a whole series of new challenges, now more than ever, we are here to listen to your thoughts and needs." 
Richard Talboys, Executive Director - Political and Trade Credit Risks, Willis Towers Watson 
"In the most damaging downturn we have ever known, supporting clients whilst working from home is a challenge. Virtual meetings with clients and with the team enable us to monitor the effect of COVID-19 on their business and ensure adequate levels of cover are maintained or in the case of XOL policies where we need to maintain insurer support and amend policies where necessary. 
We are seeing fewer blanket limit reductions compared to 2008/9 and insurers are generally trying to be supportive although responses vary. It’s a very different crisis now; in 2008 trade activity had not dropped like this due to Government-mandated shutdowns hence reduced limits can make sense. 
The focus for many clients now is on optimising cash collection whilst still trying to support customers. A common feature then and now is excess debt. We expect insurers to focus on sustainability of debt as well as cash flows, with cover cut back on a commensurate basis."
Greg Connell, Managing Director, InfolinkGazette. 
"Many of us are wrestling with the dilemma of whether the treatment for COVID-19 will produce a worse net result than the disease; the lockdown will slow down the rate at which a human tragedy unfolds, helping the health services cope, but at great risk to the economy. Without the lockdown, the human tragedy would unfold more quickly, overwhelming the health service but with less lasting damage to the economy. 
Thousands of distressed companies will fail as a consequence of the lockdown, but many thousands of viable companies will also decide to call time by placing their companies in to Members Voluntary Liquidation (MVL). Company directors are grappling with the quandary of whether to risk family homes, pensions, and savings by investing more money into a business that might not survive a prolonged lockdown. The longer this goes on the more likely it will be that more viable companies will cease trading immediately to protect their personal assets and retained earnings by placing the company into a MVL, with the consequent loss of jobs and tax receipts."
Ruben Nizard, North American Economist, Coface 
"Although the COVID-19 crisis is likely to be of an unprecedented magnitude, its effects might not be as long-lasting as those of previous recessions, including the 2008-2009 Great Recession, which was rather systemic in nature. With aggressive monetary policy responses globally and record-breaking stimulus fiscal packages passed in many countries, we can hope that – provided the health situation stabilizes – global economic activity will gradually pick up to pre-crisis levels."
Trevor Price, Managing Director, Credit & Business Finance Ltd 
"We do expect and have already seen credit insurers looking to reduce their exposures going forward, at least whilst the country remains in lockdown. This may be enacted in two ways. Firstly, we may see insurers reducing exposures across the board, in percentage terms, i.e. a reduction of an approved limit by say 15-25%. However, where limits had been written on buyers that were high risk before the crisis, we can expect to see more drastic reductions. 
Secondly, insurers will no doubt focus more extreme measures on certain sectors which have been especially affected by the crisis. The airline and travel sector is a case in point. and, in such cases, we will not be surprised to see insurers remove all cover for the time being. 
On a positive note, we have seen some insurers take action to reduce their client's administration. This has tended to involve relaxing of reporting requirements on over dues and repayment plans."
Gerard van Kaathoven, CEO, Trade Cover Exchange 
"During 2008 - 2009 trade credit insurance made it on the agenda of each government in Europe: claims doubled, trade credit insurers cut back cover and raised premium rates. While trade contracted strongly corporates were, at the same time, in higher need of credit insurance. When this is all behind us and corporates will start to recover slowly, we will realize this all has led to significant losses. It is our strong view that 'for every trade credit risk, somewhere cover is available, but at the right price'. New innovations, such as digital platform where companies can request quotes from multiple insurers will be used more frequently. Such digital platforms could also be used by Governments when they announce, together with credit insurers, emergency measures to support corporates as well as the trade credit insurance industry also known as 'the invisible bank'."
Jonathan Smith, Strategic Director – Trade Credit & Surety, T L Dallas & Co Ltd
"Some businesses have naturally been hit very hard as overnight they had to effectively close because all trade has ceased. Others have decided to furlough staff and or close for a period of time to preserve cash. When we move into the phase of restarting the economy, what will be equally important is how quickly and where cover is reinstated and this is a point we have voiced to some carriers already. The effects of a two month confinement period will potentially have a significant impact on GDP and this increases the likelihood of a recession so all underwriters are preparing for significant changes in the insolvency levels expected for the rest of 2020."
Igor Zaks, President, Tenzor Ltd 
COVID-19 present multiple challenges to the industry. 
    • Risk exposure. As with previous downturns (such as dot com crash or 2008 crisis), insurers with cancellable limits are trying to reduce exposures. The way it is going to be done will have a long-lasting effect on customer perception, particularly in the regions where credit insurance has limited penetration. This may potentially reverse a lot of industry gains in these markets.
    • Policy wording. Terms like non-cancellable limits are going to be tested - a lot of faith was put in the idea that they are what carriers and brokers market them for.
    • Banking vs. corporate clients. Insurance industry was moving to increase the share of financiers in their client base. In doing so, it often increases concentrations and significantly reduced its policy flexibility by adopting bank/regulator accepted wordings. This may significantly reduce ability of insurers to adjust their exposures (as many of these policies use non-cancellable limits) and dispute claims comparing with previous downturns. Attempt to disproportionally shift this to remaining corporate clients will aggravate the problems above.”
Richard Bishop, Director Financial & Specialty Risks, Parker Norfolk
"In these rather uncertain times, it has been rather concerning to see the response from some insurers has been to pull up the draw bridge and retreat wholesale from their markets. Whilst acknowledging that events have created great uncertainty, not all sectors are going to be affected to the same degree, and so the provision of support to those who ensure trade of essential goods is an imperative. This is particularly true of developing and emerging nations who do not have the ability to provide financial stimulus like some in the West.
It is therefore essential that insurers continue to support market participants such as banks and financial institutions, who are taking the primary risk by supporting trade finance, by providing considered terms to assist in ensuring essential goods reach populations who are in no position to pay over the odds for life’s basics.
Insurers who fail to step up and provide support will have only themselves to blame if public opinion turns against them for not doing their bit!"
Saleh Srour, Chairman, CST Lebanon SAL 
"The whole planet is in a very strange situation. Maybe this is the first time in the history that more than 4 billion people are at home. Even during the World War and other force majeure situations we haven’t seen this. Concerning the credit insurance providers, we must adapt the fastest we can to this special situation, in order to take many decisions: 
    • Review all the credit scoring we are using
    • Review all the information reports we are receiving from the credit bureau
    • Decrease all the limits we gave to our clients
    • Send updated news to the clients explaining the evolution of this situation
    • Stay safe working from home."
Simon A Moulson, Managing Director, Trade Credit Solutions Limited. 
"It will be important that Credit Insurers support their policyholders wherever possible to trade on credit terms with their customers as we move forward. Homeworking is not new for some. It does however question, how much time is spent travelling and the associate costs when today's technology remains unused. We all Facetime, Skype, Zoom etc. our friends and family. What is wrong with using this technology with our customers? Face to face meetings will always be necessary but some of my long standing clients are using today's technology with me to save time and get more done in a day."
Jérôme Pezé, CEO & Founder, Tinubu Square
"The spread of COVID-19 is fast and global, aftermaths trade effects are not yet fully tangible, but this might be a turning point for Credit Insurance industry. This crisis is far more important than in 2008, but Credit Insurers who already went through digitalisation are undoubtedly better prepared today to manage their risks. At Tinubu Square we have been approached for the past 10 days by customers to help them implement and deliver urgent actions into their risk management. Our teams have implemented functionality modifications to our customers systems in order to: 
  • For an ECA, enforcing their new State aid support mission by increasing the cap amount for their single risk product dedicated to micro exporters SMEs. 
  • For a global private credit insurer design a bespoke bulk functionality to review their limit portfolio. 
These 2 typical examples are standard actions taken by insurers having to cope with similar situations."
New Appointments
Nimbla has announced the appointment of Elizabeth Jenkin as its Chief Commercial Officer. Ms Jenkin joins Nimbla from Lloyds Broker RFIB and previously worked as Chief Broking Officer for EME at Aon. She began her career underwriting at Euler Hermes.
Coface North America has announced that it has appointed Ruben Nizard as its Economist for the North American Region, including the US and Canada. Mr Nizard originally joined Coface in 2016 with the Group Economic Research Department.
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has announced the appointment of two senior trade credit insurance and political risk insurance underwriters, based in London. Paul Barrett joins Swiss Re from Neon and Toby Marshall joins from AEGIS.
Channel Syndicate, which is backed by reinsurer SCOR, has announced that it has appointed Caroline Coulson as a Senior Underwriter on the political and credit risks team within SCOR Specialty Insurance,
GTR UK 2020 will take place in London on May 6, bringing the trade community together to discuss the potential implications for corporates, financiers and policymakers alike. The event will also consider the important role that all stakeholders have to play in promoting British businesses abroad and seizing on the huge opportunities to secure the UK’s future prosperity, with a strong focus on the role of the financial services community and the UK government in developing a global network to support trading companies. 
Don’t miss your chance to join leading corporates and trade specialists for a day of discussion, debate and networking. Limited amounts of complementary corporate passes are available to those who are exporters, importers, manufacturers, distributors, traders & producers of physical goods only. For more information, visit here.
GTR East Africa 2020, 14-15 May. Nairobi. RESCHEDULED TO 1-2 OCTOBER 
GTR East Africa marks its 11th annual conference in Nairobi, Kenya on 14-15 May 2020, where a cutting edge agenda will explore the key macroeconomic, geopolitical, financial market and tech trends shaping the East African trade finance landscape. This two-day conference provides GTR attendees with a unique opportunity to network with over 350 delegates all under one roof.
Don’t miss your chance to join leading corporates and trade specialists for two days of discussion, debate and networking. Limited amounts of complementary corporate passes are available to those who are exporters, importers, manufacturers, distributors, traders & producers of physical goods only. For more information, visit here.
 TXF Global 2020: Export, Agency & Project Finance, 3-5 June 2020. Madrid. RESCHEDULED TO 28-29 SEPTEMBER 
The global export, agency & project finance games return for 2020! Join TXF on 3-5 June in Madrid for the largest gathering of its kind with a vision to taking your network further than ever before.
With the CEOs of EKF, MIGA, US EXIM and more already in training for the Olympic games, along with 1000 of the industry’s key players, quite simply, this is the event you cannot afford to miss.
Packing the mightiest of punches, TXF Global will again combine keynote addresses from CEOs and state ministers outlining the future of industry, sustainability and digitisation, as well as infrastructure and project roadmaps. Mixed with detailed technical workshops, lively debate forums and regional roundtables TXF Global allows for an intimate networking environment like no other.
As a Credit Insurance News member, get an exclusive 15% off the standard ticket price using code: LETTHEGAMESBEGIN on the booking page.
Visit the website to find out more.
GTR US 2020, 17 June 2020. Chicago.  RESCHEDULED TO 28 OCTOBER 
GTR US 2020 will return to Chicago for its fourth year on June 17, 2020, where US companies and their financing partners will meet to discuss the evolution of the trade, supply chain and working capital space. Featuring a host of expert speakers, the event will provide the latest business intelligence required to navigate trade-related risks, and the practical know-how enabling those tasked with facilitating US commerce to form resilient, agile trade financing and risk management strategies. With leading corporates, banks, financiers, insurers and digitization specialists in attendance, this event is not to be missed for those looking to create crucial industry contacts and optimize their trade business. 
Don’t miss your chance to join leading corporates and trade specialists for a day of discussion, debate and networking. Limited amounts of complementary corporate passes are available to those who are exporters, importers, manufacturers, distributors, traders & producers of physical goods only. For more information, visit here.
GTR Asia 2020, 8-9 September 2020. Singapore.
GTR Asia will return to Singapore from September 8-9 to host over 1,300 decision-makers and leaders from the global trade, export and fintech community. A leading global financial hub and home to a dynamic and thriving financial ecosystem, Singapore provides the perfect backdrop to explore the future of international trade and investment. 
Offering a truly global perspective and tackling issues with a forward-looking outlook, GTR aim to create events for those passionate about issues that define the trade finance world. Hosted for over a decade, GTR Asia is recognised as the world’s largest international gathering for local and international organisations: from banks to multinational corporations and SMEs, independent financiers, commodity brokers and traders, insurers and risk managers, lawyers, consultants, ECAs and multilaterals and many more. 
Attendees will gain valuable business contacts and learn from the leading figures in the industry; Hear fresh and challenging perspectives from over 100 of the world’s leading trade, treasury and fintech experts; Enjoy innovative content designed to foster maximum engagement between speakers and delegates, bringing all parties involved in Asian trade together for a two-day focused conference and networking exhibition. 
Don’t miss your chance to join leading corporates and trade specialists for two days of discussion, debate and networking. Limited amounts of complementary corporate passes are available to those who are exporters, importers, manufacturers, distributors, traders & producers of physical goods only. For more information, visit here.
Commodities Trading Forum, 16 September 2020. Geneva.
Building on the success of 2019’s inaugural Geneva event and reflecting increased collaboration and partnership with the Swiss Trading & Shipping Association (STSA), GTR is delighted to announce that its newly expanded Commodities Trading Forum will be taking place at the Intercontinental Hotel Geneva on September 16, 2020. Co-hosted and held in partnership with both the STSA and PwC, and reflecting on Switzerland’s role as one for the world’s leading hubs for commodities from oil and gas to metals and agribusiness products, the conference will provide a comprehensive overview of the global commodities and commodity finance markets. Attendees will benefit from critical market insight and idea-sharing through a series of interactive and informative session formats, whilst unchallenged networking opportunities will provide access to over 200 different companies involved in the financing of global commodities. 
Don’t miss your chance to join leading corporates and trade specialists for a day of discussion, debate and networking. Limited amounts of complementary corporate passes are available to those who are exporters, importers, manufacturers, distributors, traders & producers of physical goods only. For more information, visit here.
GTR Nordics 2020, 12 November 2020. Stockholm.
After many consecutive years of attendance growth we are delighted to announce that GTR Nordics 2020 will take place on November 12, moving to the larger event space at the Radisson Blu Waterfront, Stockholm. While offering a more comfortable space to mingle, this also provides the opportunity to add some exciting new event features. GTR Nordics 2020 promises to be the biggest and best yet: Watch this space for more details as we move towards the conference date! Last year GTR Nordics returned to Stockholm and welcomed another record-breaking audience of over 500 trade finance experts, insurers, bankers, ECAs, technology innovators and corporates of all sizes. 
Don’t miss your chance to join leading corporates and trade specialists for a day of discussion, debate and networking. Limited amounts of complementary corporate passes are available to those who are exporters, importers, manufacturers, distributors, traders & producers of physical goods only. For more information, visit here.
About the Sponsor: InfolinkGazette
InfolinkGazette, a trading style of Connell Data Ltd was established in 2012 to collect and digitise all of the information available on UK Insolvencies, with the original aim of helping credit insurers, brokers, debt collection agencies and risk managers to find the optimum time to call commercial prospects, and present their company's solution; the time when the prospect has the greatest propensity to purchase a credit insurance or credit risk Management solution, which is shortly after the prospect has incurred an unsecured credit loss, following one of their customers going out of business.
In an average quarter period, InfolinkGazette data quality editors process 3,000 insolvency files, with total unpaid/unsecured credit losses of over £1 billion, resulting from an approximately 45,000 ordinary unpaid trade creditors, who have each lost an average of more than £30,000.
The information is available via our website 24/7, with extensive search, viewing & download facilities; the database of over 1 million records, increases at the rate of almost 15,000 unsecured creditors per month, which means we are constantly refreshing the supply of quality new business prospects and risk management data for credit professionals.
InfolinkGazette take data from print media, or other analogue sources, aggregate it with other relevant information from commercial registries, and supply it in a structured digitised format, to support risk, opportunity and compliance decision making.
Our information services include: UK & ROI Insolvency data and daily feeds; London Stock Exchange Profit Warnings & Acquisitions; Deliberate Tax Defaulters; IRS Registrations; Crown Dependency Registration Information.
We also provide bespoke product development, and application hosting services for our data customers, including: case management systems; credit scoring & decisioning systems; API’s and online web portals.
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