Welcome to issue 104 of Credit Insurance News Digest. The industry newsletter 
devoted to the global trade credit insurance industry. This issue is sponsored by CBF

Credit Insurance News
Surging UK bankruptcies boost the case for trade credit insurance cover. An article published by GTR (Global Trade Review) reports that in Q2 this year – the latest period for which data is available - company insolvencies were up 12% in England and Wales, up 18.2% in Scotland and increased by over 108% in Northern Ireland, compared to the same period in 2017. However, the article notes that "amid the carnage, trade credit insurers are diligently picking up the pieces," paying out the highest quarterly figure since the ABI started keeping records in 2007. Industry experts quoted in the article also discuss how recent high-profile bankruptcies have encouraged more companies to take up credit insurance, but caution: "whether credit insurers have the capacity and the appetite to cover them remains to be seen." To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/supplements/gtr-insurance-2018/surging-bankruptcies-boost-case-trade-credit-cover/.
Industry figures quoted in the article include Trevor Price - Managing Director of Managing Director of CBF (this issue's sponsor) and the Global Trade Credit Alliance, and Laura Ferguson and Rob Farquharson - Directors at Parker Norfolk.
How private carriers are ‘crowded out’ of the Canadian trade credit insurance market. Insurance Business has published an article in which David Dienesch, CEO of Euler Hermes Canada, says the Government of Canada needs to change to the mandate and activities of Export Development Canada (EDC) to open the trade credit insurance market up for private carriers. “It’s a completely uneven playing field for the private insurance companies who operate in this space,” he commented. Mr Dienesch notes that currently Canadian banks are only allowed to refer credit insurance business to the EDC because of the way the Canadian Bank Act is set up: “a huge disadvantage for other companies like Euler Hermes Canada." To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/ca/news/breaking-news/private-carriers-crowded-out-of-canadian-trade-credit-insurance-market-118380.aspx.
Roundtable discusses what is holding the US trade credit insurance market back. GTR (Global Trade Review) recently gathered prominent players in the US insurance market to discuss current trends in the US trade credit insurance market, including extended payment terms and low premium rates. The panel also examined why, in a world of economic and political uncertainty and with an unprecedented amount of capacity, the US market is still lagging far behind Europe with a relatively low level of credit insurance utilisation among US corporates. The discussion was chaired by Gary Mendell, President of Meridian Finance Group, who concluded: "Whether the persistent underutilisation of credit insurance is due to lack of education or cultural, regulatory, or other issues, the challenge to develop the US market is still before us." To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/supplements/gtr-insurance-2018/credit-where-its-due/.
Supplier fallout reported at Debenhams following trade credit insurance cuts. Drapers has learned that following cuts to Debenhams' credit insurance, some high street suppliers have stopped working with the retailer. It is understood that two London-based suppliers have walked away from Debenhams and another has reduced its exposure after credit insurance for the retailer was reduced by several leading providers, including Atradius, Euler Hermes and Coface. A Debenhams supplier told Drapers: “The credit downgrade is affecting brands like us, as we will not get enough insurance coverage. Debenhams might be OK for the short term, but it is hard to plan growth knowing you are not covered by the insurance . . ." To read Drapers' article go to https://www.drapersonline.com/news/exclusive-supplier-fallout-at-debenhams/7033034.article.
Monsoon Accessorize is the latest UK high street retailer to see its trade credit insurance cover scaled back. Retail Gazette has published an article, 'Monsoon Accessorize credit insurance cut', which has reported that Monsoon Accessorize has seen its credit insurance cut as concerns continue to grow about the retailer’s financial health. According to The Sunday Times, Euler Hermes has scaled back its cover by up to a half. This comes as its parent company Drillgreat reported pre-tax losses of £10.5 million in the year to 26 August, with sales remaining flat at £424 million. The article also notes that during this year alone, trade credit insurers have withdrawn cover on Poundworld, Debenhams, Footasylum, House of Fraser, New Look and The Original Factory Shops (Tofs). To read Retail Gazette's article go to https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2018/11/monsoon-accessorize-credit-insurance-cut/.
The dawn of an exciting period for trade credit insurance. A recent article in Insurance Business describes some of the benefits of trade credit insurance and examines how technology in the new fintech world is impacting the trade credit insurance space. James Daly, CEO and President of Euler Hermes North America and the Americas, commented: “At Euler Hermes, we believe there’s going to be a shift in the way trade credit insurance is distributed. We’re at the dawn of a very exciting period.” Currently, the global trade credit insurance market is worth about US$8 billion in written premiums. Of that total,  Marsh estimates premium totals of around US$1 billion in the US, US$2 billion in Asia-Pacific, US$4 billion in Europe and US$1 billion elsewhere. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/guides/what-is-trade-credit-insurance-116054.aspx.
China represents a strong potential market for trade credit insurers. Astreos Credit has reported that as the percentage of trade in China covered by trade credit insurance is still very low - in single digits, the potential for market growth is very strong. However, although all of the major global underwriters are represented in China, they issue their policies through fronting partners. This is mainly due to China being an “admitted market” with a nationwide insurance company license being difficult to obtain, as well as the high costs of operating in the country. Astreos Credit also notes that as a consequence of the current US/China 'trade war', recent reports indicate that most trade credit underwriters are now reducing their credit portfolio and exposure in China due their perception of increased risks. To read Astreos Credit's article go to https://www.astreos-credit.com/china-trade-war-and-its-impact-on-credit-insurance/.
OneSteel's trade credit insurance cover is reduced due to transparency concerns. Insurance Business Australia has reported that QBE has reduced the level of trade credit insurance cover it provides to some suppliers of Sanjeev Gupta’s Australian steel operation over transparency concerns around the steel tycoon’s GFG Alliance. According to the article, a person with knowledge of the situation said that QBE repeatedly requested that suppliers of Arrium, since renamed Liberty OneSteel, provide full financial information on the wider GFG group and parent company, warning them that failure to do so would result in the withdrawal of cover on 30 November. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/au/news/breaking-news/qbe-trims-trade-cover-to-steel-tycoons-suppliers-over-transparency-concerns-117778.aspx.
The value of trade credit Insurance was "amply demonstrated" in Q2 2018. GTR (Global Trade Review) has published an article in which AIG's Marilyn Blattner-Hoyle, Head of Supply Chain and Trade Finance, and Sharon Giddings, Head of UK Trade Credit, discuss how recent geopolitics are driving the need for well-thought-out trade credit and finance insurance products. This includes AIG's provision of non-cancellable trade credit coverage (in which overage remains intact even if a country or entire industry sector hits bad times). The article also notes how the value of trade credit insurance was "amply demonstrated" during the second quarter of 2018 in which trade credit insurers paid £92 million to help British firms cope with bad debts. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/supplements/gtr-insurance-2018/solutions-uncertain-world/.
Since 2017 there has been a real growth in short-term trade credit insurance. Trade Finance Global has reported that Vinco David, Secretary General of the Berne Union, noted at Knect365’s 'Insuring Short-Term Trade Finance' conference that around 13% of world trade is now insured by members of the Berne Union, and that since 2017 there has been a real growth in short-term trade credit insurance - by US$1.6 trillion compared to the previous year. This was driven by a small increase in Asia and Latin America which slightly offset a decline in Europe (particularly Southern Europe).  For the UK market, he noted that H1 figures have indicated a considerable increase in short-term claims paid out in the UK compared to 2017, and that as result of Brexit and trade wars, the credit insurance market is now showing signs of deceleration. To read Trade Finance Global's article go to https://www.tradefinanceglobal.com/posts/where-is-trade-going-a-trade-and-credit-insurance-perspective/.
Now is a good time for suppliers to the retail sector to maximise their trade credit insurance cover. Although Sports Direct has purchased bike retailer Evans Cycles out of administration for £8 million, figures released by InfolinkGazette reveal that the 341 Unsecured Creditors of the old defunct business will be left with losses of over £19 million. The three largest unsecured creditors are Specialized (UK) LTD, Cycling Sports Group UK and Trek Bicycle Corporation LTD, with unsecured losses of £3.9 million, £2.9 million and £1.9 million respectively. Other notable brands with six-figure losses include: Zyro PLC, Endura Ltd, Raleigh Uk Ltd, Extra (UK) Ltd, Saddleback Ltd, and Brompton Bicycle Ltd. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, concluded: "with so many heavily indebted, thinly capitalised businesses trading on the UK High Street, together with an uncertain economic outlook, and HMRC about to take greater priority in UK insolvencies from 2020, now would be a good time for suppliers to the retail sector to seek to maximise credit insurance cover.” For more information on InfolinkGazette go to www.infolinkgazette.com.
Brexit: UK trade credit insurers take steps to ensure business continuity. GTR (Global Trade Review) has reported that as the UK’s departure from the European Union fast approaches, UK trade credit insurers have been readying themselves to continue to write risks from the European Economic Area. Many insurers and brokers have already put together contingency plans for a 'no deal' scenario and advise that they are prepared for the likelihood of a hard Brexit. Some trade credit underwriters had already existing European entities that they will use to conduct their EU business, while others are redomiciling their existing UK company to an EU jurisdiction. Others are establishing new business subsidiaries within the EU, which will operate via a branch in the UK. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/supplements/gtr-insurance-2018/insurers-brace-brexit/.
4 in 5 Belgian companies think the world is becoming increasingly unstable. Credendo's recent Trade Forum: 'America first or America alone?' noted that 4 in 5 Belgian companies are convinced that the world is becoming increasingly unstable. This is mainly the result of the policies of US President Donald Trump (72%), the weakness of European Union policy (68%) and climate change (41%). In consequence, Credendo found that 85% believe that the European Union should take measures to protect its businesses - a significant increase on the figure that emerged during last year’s survey (75%). Also, almost half of the companies surveyed indicated that they had previously suffered damage or loss as a result of an unpaid invoice. To read Credendo's news release go to https://www.credendo.com/press/4-5-belgian-companies-believe-world-becoming-increasingly-unstable.
Roundtable discusses new technology and platforms in the trade credit insurance industry. GTR (Global Trade Review) recently bought together a large group of industry experts (including representatives from AIG, BPL Global, RKH Speciality, Chubb) to consider whether the current flurry of new technology and platforms in the trade credit insurance industry is destined for greater success than previous attempts. Items discussed included the conceptual premise behind some of the platforms that have been around for some time, and the issues addressed by new platforms (such as Toredo). The panel also examined the changing role of the trade credit insurance broker. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/supplements/gtr-insurance-2018/roundtable-giving-insurance-technology-another-chance/.
How Euler Hermes is embracing the digital revolution. Trade & Export Finance (TXF) has published an article in which Mark Schulz, Director of Risk, Claims & Collections and executive board member at Euler Hermes Switzerland, explains how Euler Hermes has "embraced" the digital revolution. Recent digitalised product solutions include Euler Hermes 'Simplicity' product for SMEs and the 'Duo' policy, a hybrid solution of standard limits in a whole turnover policy in combination with non-cancellable limits for key buyers. Looking ahead, with a launch date in one or two years, Mr Schulz also notes that Euler Hermes is currently working on a fully digitalised solution for single buyer, single cover on a pure risk-based pricing. To read TXF's article go to https://www.txfnews.com/News/Article/6599/Euler-Hermes-Embracing-the-digital-revolution.
US, China and the Eurozone are set to be the winners of global trade in 2019. Euler Hermes' latest Global Trade Report predicts that the US, China and the Eurozone will continue to be the best destinations for exporters in 2019, forecasting a rise in imports of US$193 billion in 2019 for the US, of US$260 billion for the Eurozone, and US$161 billion for China. In the Eurozone, where 60% of trade is intra-regional, Germany, France and Italy, in particular, are expected to post export increases of US$ 64 billion, US$28 billion and US$16 billion respectively in 2019. The report also finds that Services will be the top-performing sector, with export gains of US$365 billion. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/en_global/media-news/news/Press-Release-EH-Trade-Report-12032018-final.html.
Credit risk in the advertising and media sector may soon heighten as advertising spend comes under pressure from Brexit and digital disruption. QBE's latest paper provides an overview of the advertising and media sector, noting that it is somewhat surprising that advertising sales have remained resilient in 2018. As a result, QBE's full-year predictions for advertising spend in 2018 and 2019 have been upgraded to 6.3% and 4.9% growth respectively - although QBE stress that these upbeat predictions are dependent on a positive outcome from Brexit negotiations and clarity on what the future will look like. The paper warns: "if the UK economy struggles in 2019, companies may look to rein in any discretionary spend," and cites a recent Institute for Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Bellwether Report which found that UK marketing budgets are growing at their slowest rate since 2015, with just a 1.1% increase in advertising spend in 2018. To read QBE's report go to https://qbeeurope.com/news-and-events/blog-articles/advertising-sector-braces-for-brexit-turbulence/.
It's time for caution in the construction sector in Northern Ireland. Nigel Birney, Head of Trade Credit Northern Ireland at Willis Towers Watson, has published an article in the Belfast Telegraph which cautions that even though the construction sector seems relatively buoyant in Northern Ireland, the reality is an increasing level of late payments and administrations. Furthermore, the added uncertainty over Brexit has compounded the credit risk. As a result, there are a growing number of companies trading in the construction sector and many other trade sectors now using trade credit insurance. "For a small investment, they can protect themselves from that one bad debt that could put them under." To read the Belfast Telegraph's article go to https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/analysis/its-time-for-caution-in-construction-37536504.html.
Trade war? Not really (or not yet). Euler Hermes has published a Global Trade Report which has found that although global trade of goods and services remained relatively resilient with 3.8% growth in 2018, in 2019 the picture is set to change. Euler Hermes predicts that trade momentum will soften in line with slowing GDP growth and the volume of global trade of goods and services will decelerate. Euler Hermes also warns that if push came to shove, further escalation to a trade feud (average US tariffs above 6%) could cost half a point of GDP in growth in the US, while a trade war (average US tariffs above 12%) would cost two points of GDP in the US and would trigger a global recession. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/content/dam/onemarketing/euh/eulerhermes_com/media/english/press-release-pdf/Press_Release_EH_Trade_Report_11292018_final.pdf.
No significant insolvency increases expected in the UK steel and metals sector in 2019. Atradius' latest Market Monitor Steel and Metals UK 2018 warns that if the EU and the UK fail to reach a comprehensive agreement on the post-Brexit EU-UK trade relationship or if there is a hard Brexit, British steel and metals exports could potentially become subject to the EU measures put in place to protect domestic steel. At the same time, with no preferential tariffs or simply no tariffs at all on non-EU trade, the UK and its steel/metals industry could become vulnerable to cheap imports from Asia and the Middle East. However, despite these challenges, Atradius anticipates that the steel and metals sector will not follow the deteriorating insolvency trend seen in other UK sectors. To read Atradius' report go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/market-monitor-steel-metals-uk-2018.html.
Market Monitors for the steel and metals sectors are also available for the following countries at https://atradius.co.uk/publication-search/: Czech Republic, Poland, Spain, Netherlands, France, Italy, China, Canada, Germany, US
Euler Hermes brings single invoice cover to Asia Pacific. GTR (Global Trade Review) has reported that Euler Hermes plans to launch its single invoice cover solution in Asia after a successful trial. The product, available as an API, has been available in Europe since 2017 and the US since 2018, and is being piloted with two of Euler Hermes’ customers in Asia Pacific to test market appetite and feasibility. GTR notes that the product is exactly the same as the one currently available in Europe, and will initially be rolled out in Hong Kong and Singapore. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/asia/euler-hermes-brings-single-invoice-cover-to-asia-pacific/.
Onguard begins a refinement of its credit insurance software for Aon customers. Onguard has announced plans to refine its credit insurance PolicyManager software for Aon customers. PolicyManager links data from trade credit insurers with receivable and invoice data from the financial systems of Aon’s customers so that, for example, credit limit shortages will be automatically identified. This upgrade is intended to enable Aon’s customers to obtain better information about insurance options more quickly and also automates the administrative actions involved in a credit insurance policy - such as policy applications and the management of credit limits. To read Onguard's news release go to https://www.onguard.com/media/news/press-release-refinement-of-credit-insurance-software-exclusively-for-aon/.
Evolution of the credit and political risk insurance market. GTR (Global Trade Review) has published an interview with BPL Global's joint Managing Directors Sian Aspinall and James Esdaile in which they discuss the significant growth that the Credit and Political Risk Insurance market has seen in the last 20 years to become the US$ 2.5-3 billion industry (in terms of annual premium throughput) that it is today. The directors also note that they are currently witnessing increased demand from banking and corporate clients for portfolio credit insurance, and for this reason this year created a specialist Excess of Loss credit insurance team. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/supplements/gtr-insurance-2018/evolution-not-revolution-credit-political-risk-insurance-market/.
French companies in 2019: Rise in insolvencies but higher margins will cushion the impact of slowing global trade. Coface's latest Panorama forecasts that 2019 will see a 0.8% increase in the number of insolvencies in France, after a decline of 3.4% in 2018. Due to the deteriorating international environment, linked in particular to the rise of protectionism, and the persistence of supply constraints, GDP growth is also expected to decrease to 1.5% in 2019, while the confidence index for construction (one of the indicators used by Coface in its model) should continue to decline as well. However, Coface notes that as French exporters appear to have chosen to restore their margin rate rather than gaining export market share, this should cushion the impact of slowing global trade in 2019. To read Coface's news release go to https://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/French-companies-in-2019-Rise-in-insolvencies-but-higher-margins-will-allow-cushioning-the-impact-of-slowing-global-trade.
How far will the Political Risk Insurance (PRI) market move away from wet ink signatures?' Trade & Export Finance (TXF) has published an interview in which Bernie de Haldevang, Head of Specialty at Canopius, talks about the digitisation of trade finance insurance, the growth of the PRI market, current challenges and how the market is still wedded to paper. He also examines how collaboration between brokers, banks and ECAs be further improved to support clients, discusses whether ECAs ever crowd out private insurers, and considers whether regulations such as Basel IV and from the PRA threaten the insurance market? To read TXF's article go to https://www.txfnews.com/News/Article/6616/How-far-will-the-PRI-market-move-away-from-wet-ink-signatures.
Congratulations to . . . 
BPL Global for winning the TXF's Traders Choice Award for Best Commodity Finance Private Insurance Broker in Geneva last month.
Atradius Collections for the nomination of 'Best use of Credit Technology' at the CICM British Credit Awards 2019.
Coface for being awarded 'Prime' status for its social responsibility performance by S-oekom, one of the leading rating agencies in the area of sustainable investment.
TRAINING: STECIS Training Seminars 2019
Training and education on Trade Credit Insurance and Surety is provided by STECIS, the educational foundation endorsed by ICISA. STECIS promotes knowledge and professionalism in the technical theory and practice (case studies) of trade credit insurance and surety underwriting. This includes in-depth analysis of industry developments, the terminology and the current market.
STECIS is happy to announce that it will, as usual, organize two-day training seminars on Trade Credit Insurance and Surety on both basic and advanced levels in 2019.
The STECIS training seminars are two-day events which are highly interactive. They cover technical and practical knowledge on respectively Trade Credit Insurance and Surety Bonds, the theory of underwriting, in-depth analysis of industry developments, the terminology and the current market. In addition, participants are asked to review case studies.
The basic training seminars are on 9 and 10 April 2019 and are open to participants with limited experience. The advanced training seminars are set for 11 and 12 April 2019 and are suited to participants who have attended the basic training seminar or have more experience. The seminar fee is €2200 - and includes all training material, the welcome cocktail & all meals (dinners & lunches). Travel costs and any additional expenses (e.g. hotel room, phone, (mini) bar) are not included.
Please go to the STECIS website for more information on the training seminars and to download the registration forms: www.stecis.org.
New Appointments
Coface has announced that Keyvan Shamsa has been appointed as its Business Technology Director and joins the Group’s Executive Committee. He takes over from Valérie Brami. 
QBE has announced the appointment of three new underwriters to its trade credit team. 
  • James Robertson joins the team as a new business commercial underwriter responsible for developing new opportunities in London and the South-East. He previously worked for QBE's trade credit team in Sydney. 
  • John Lott has been appointed as a risk underwriter. He has previously worked for a number of trade credit insurers. 
  • Harry Bennion has become a new business underwriter at QBE's Birmingham office. He joins from JLT, where he was a credit and political risk broker.
Marsh has advised Credit Insurance News Digest of three new starters who have joined the UK team and one promotion:
  • Mark Lynch joins as Business Development Executive in Marsh's Corporate Segment.He joins Marsh from Acumen. 
  • Jessie Salthouse joins the London Risk Management team reporting to Scott Walker. Jessie previously worked for NCIS in New Zealand. 
  • Emily Bocca joins the London team as a Client Advisor, reporting to Scott Walker.
  • Anthony McKinnon has been promoted to Business Development Executive in London.
Groupama Assurance - Credit & Caution has announced the appointment of Valerie Talbot as its new Head of Special Risks. Formerly Head of UK for Euler Transactional Cover, she led the Single Risk activity for Credendo Geneva and previously worked for Coface Paris/NY.
Business Information & Reports
UK companies aged 4-9 years old or with a turnover of £0.5-1 million have the highest rate of insolvency. Commenting on new statistics published by the Government on the number of England and Wales corporate insolvencies in 2017, broken down by company age, size and location, Duncan Swift, Vice-President of R3 noted that enterprises aged 4-9 years old, or with turnover of £0.5-1 million, or employing 20-49 people have the highest rate of insolvency. “These companies are reasonably well established, but it’s at this point that things can come unstuck. The economies of scale enjoyed by very large companies aren’t necessarily there, while these companies aren’t as nimble as smaller counterparts. Fixed costs will be much harder to deal with." The latest statistics for 2017 also found that insolvency rates were highest in Yorkshire and Humberside, and estimated that the combined turnover of UK enterprises entering insolvency was £23.4 billion. To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/index.cfm?page=1114&element=32714&refpage=1008.
GDP is predicted to be 4% lower in the longer term than it would have been had the UK stayed in the EU. A new report from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) estimates that if the government’s proposed Brexit deal is implemented, GDP in the longer term will be around 4% lower than it would have been had the UK stayed in the EU. NIESR advises that this is roughly equivalent to losing the annual output of Wales or the output of the financial services industry in London. Even if the UK were to stay in a customs union with the EU, or if the Irish backstop position was to be invoked, NIESR still predicts a hit to GDP per capita of 2%. Furthermore, NIESR's recent estimates, based on the UK’s performance relative to other similar economies, suggest that Brexit uncertainty has already reduced UK GDP by about 2% relative to what it could have been if the UK had stayed in the EU. To read NIESR's news release go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/media/gdp-be-4-lower-longer-term-it-would-have-been-had-uk-stayed-eu-new-niesr-report-reveals-13565.
Even with a soft Brexit, the UK looks sets to become the EU's slowest growing economy. The European Commission has warned that the UK will rank jointly with Italy as the slowest-growing economy in the EU in 2019. Then, while growth in Italy looks set to pick up to 1.3% in 2020, the UK will become the slowest growing EU economy with 1.2% growth - far behind Germany and France who will see growth of 1.7% and 1.6% respectively. UK growth is also forecast to be well below the 2.2% forecast for the EU27 in 2018, 2.0% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020. Furthermore, the European Commission warns that these predictions are based on a "benign" soft Brexit and that the risks to the 2019 and 2020 baseline forecast are "large and predominantly to the downside." To read the European Commission's report go to https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/economy-finance/ecfin_forecast_autumn_081018_uk_en.pdf.
(c) European Union, 1995-2018. Please note that the text above is a summary of Eurostat's news.
The average UK SME is owed nearly £25,000 in late payments. New research from Xero has found that as a result of late payments, UK small businesses are owed £24,841 on average. This causes a cash-flow squeeze which, Xero reports, contributes to some 50,000 small business failures in the UK each year. The data is revealed as the government announces new ideas (see below) to arm small businesses against unfair contracts that stop them raising money from unpaid invoices, as well as a call for evidence (which closed on 29 November) to help protect small businesses against large companies that abuse their position in the market. Xero notes that previous efforts, such as the Prompt Payment Code, which was introduced ten years ago, have so far made little impact. To read Xero's news release go to https://www.xero.com/blog/2018/11/cash-mountain/.
UK MPs demand late payment and retentions reform. Construction Enquirer has reported that a new report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has called for 30-day payments to be enforced and demanded an end to early payment schemes which charge suppliers a fee to get their payment. The report also noted the practice of big companies holding on to owed money for as long as possible to maximise interest and advised that this "could be addressed by the introduction of independently managed project accounts to hold retention money." To read Construction Enquirer's article go to https://www.constructionenquirer.com/2018/12/05/mps-demand-end-to-late-payment-and-retentions-reform/To read a full copy of the report go to  https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmbeis/807/80709.htm#_idTextAnchor062.
Worst November in three years as UK sales slump continues – but online sales rally. According to new figures released by BDO, retailers have experienced the worst November in three years - despite Black Friday efforts, with a decline of in-store sales by 2.6% year-on-year. The slump follows a poor October (down -2% year-on-year) and marks the tenth consecutive month of negative in-store growth. In contrast, online retail had a bumper month. Non-store sales increased by 18.2% - the best monthly like-for-like result for non-store sales this year. In addition, Black Friday brought about the best weekly non-store performance in 2018 to date and marked the strongest result for a Black Friday week since 2014 (up +30.8% compared to last year). To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2018/bleak-friday-fails-to-spark-high-street-revival.
Independent UK retail hit by a loss of 1,554 units in first six months of 2018. New data released by the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) and the Local Data Company (LDC) shows that independent retailers opened significantly more shops in H1 2018 than in the same period last year. However, a record number of stores were closed over the same period, resulting in a total decline of 1,554 independent shops (-0.5%) - a significant reduction from the increase of 762 shops (+0.27%) seen in H1 2017. Bira also reports that the net loss of 695 units located on high streets alone was the primary driver of this decline, and that independent units categorised as ‘Service Retail' (including retailers such as barbers, hairdressers and dry cleaners) were the only category to see growth, with a net increase of 104 units in H1 2018. To read bira's news release go to https://bira.co.uk/openings-closures-h12018/.
The UK is in 9th place in the World Bank's 'Ease of Doing Business' rankings. The World Bank has published the latest annual ease of doing business ranking and has ranked New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark in first, second and third place respectively. Hong Kong SAR, China; Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; the US; the UK and FYR Macedonia follow in the top ten. The report also found that the United Arab Emirates (11th place) joins the top 20 for the first time, while Malaysia and Mauritius regain spots, being placed in 15th and 20th places, respectively. This year’s top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken, are Afghanistan, Djibouti, China, Azerbaijan, India, Togo, Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire, Turkey and Rwanda. To read the World Bank's news release go to http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/10/31/doing-business-report-new-record-set-as-314-reforms-introduced-to-improve-business-climate-around-the-world.
The UK economy experiences 0.1% GDP growth in October, following two months of zero growth. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicates that UK GDP grew by 0.4% in the three months to October 2018, driven mainly by the services sector (0.3% growth) - though the production and construction sectors were also positive contributors. However, the statistics also indicate that growth continued to slow, indicating that after a strong performance in the early Summer months the UK economy has been weakening. GDP grew by just 0.1% in October 2018, and saw no growth at all in August and September. To see the ONS' latest data go to https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/bulletins/gdpmonthlyestimateuk/october2018.
2018 has been the worst year for UK shops since 2008. A news release from the Centre for Retail Research Retail's Crisis has reported that 2018 has been the worst year for UK shops since 2008 - the height of the recession, "and there is no reason to think that 2019 will be any better." Up until November of this year, there were 38 medium or large business failures, affecting 2,892 UK stores and 43,292 employees. Recent editions to the 'Who's gone bust in retailing' list include: Red Dog Music (an independent music store), Berketex (bridalwear retailer), Crawshaws, (butchery chain) and Evans Cycles. So far, the biggest retail failures of 2018 are Toys 'R' Us, House of Fraser, Maplin and Poundworld in 2018. To read the Centre for Retail Research's latest analysis go to http://www.retailresearch.org/2018yearofcrisis.php.
Career Opportunities
Regional Manager Manchester 
Commercial UK & Ireland
About Atradius
The Atradius Group provides trade credit insurance, surety and collections services worldwide, and has a presence through 160 offices in 45 countries. Atradius has access to credit information on 100 million companies worldwide and makes more than 20,000 trade credit limit decisions daily. Its products help protect companies throughout the world from payment risks associated with selling products and services on credit.
Job Description
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Regional Manager in our Commercial UK & Ireland Unit in Manchester.. Reporting to the Head of Commercial, the role provides the opportunity to strategically manage the regional portfolio for sales and servicing in line with agreed targets and across a portfolio of national and independent brokers based in the area.
Job Requirements
This vacancy is open to all candidates with a proven record at senior management level or as a development opportunity based on experience. The successful candidate will have an excellent command of strategic business processes and first class organisational abilities.
The role demands expertise in setting the agenda and leading negotiations at a senior level with our distribution partners, both with existing and potential clients at MD or FD level and with our Atradius colleagues. Due to this it is essential that the successful candidate has highly developed interpersonal and presentational skills, together with a confident and persuasive manner.
The successful candidate will also have a proven record in developing relationships with high profile companies and dealing with the top decision makers. The ability to prioritise and achieve deadlines and work well under pressure, whilst remaining highly driven ,will also be a key strength.
Using your entrepreneurial and leadership skills, you will be managing, leading, inspiring and motivating the sales and servicing teams whilst maintain key customer and broker relationships. In addition to this you will have the opportunity to develop and implement challenging commercial plans for the Region.
Essential Skills
Our growth will only come through providing a ‘best in class’ service to both our customers and broker network. It is therefore essential that the successful candidate has the following: - A first class commercial background in a ‘business to business’ environment.
  • Proven staff Managerial skills
  • Proven sales management and leadership skills#
  • Strong relationship management and negotiation skills
  • The right attitude, commitment and drive to achieve target 
Please forward your CV and covering letter GBUKJOBS@atradius.com.
TL Dallas & Co Limited – Bradford Office
For more information on the company visit www.tldallas.com
TL Dallas is one of the UK's leading independent Insurance Broking and Risk Management companies with offices throughout the UK.  We have a long and distinguished heritage and have been providing insurance services and solutions since 1919. We believe it is the relationships we have with our clients that allow us to fully understand their insurance requirements and our pursuit of continued service excellence is at the heart of all we do. Our people are key to our success and our values; Trust, Collaboration, Integrity and Commitment are ingrained into the TL Dallas culture and we pride ourselves on providing the very best advice and service to our clients!
An opportunity has arisen to join the Credit team as a Credit Insurance Administrator / Account Handler, based in either our Bradford office.
The ideal candidate will have Trade Credit experience, or come from a banking or finance background. However, candidates with degrees in business, law, or finance will also be considered.

The Role
  • The role will involve, providing clerical/administrative support to Account Executives and the rest of the Credit team. Maintaining high service levels, ensuring we meet and exceed our client’s needs and expectations.
Key Responsibilities
  • Assisting Client Executives with the daily servicing of our clients and with the renewal process
  • Providing support and guidance to clients regarding their policy terms and conditions
  • Negotiating with insurers regarding client limit requirements
  • Preparation of renewal or new business reports
  • Assist with overdue reports and/or claims notifications
  • Monitor commission from insurers
  • Adhere to business processes, systems and procedures
  • Ensure complete adherence with other training and compliance requirements specified by management or the company
Candidates Skills & Competencies
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work in a fast paced driven environment, both autonomously as well as within an established team
  • Needs to be highly organised and needs to be able to monitor and manage multiple tasks, with a proven ability to work in a demanding environment
  • Has to be a flexible team player and skilled in developing and maintaining relationships at all levels
  • Have the ability to listen and acquire new skills
  • Able to evidence sound commercial and financial awareness
  • Clear understanding of regulatory issues within an insurance or financial services organisation
  • Excellent customer service skills and has an eye for detail and accurate data entry
  • Liaising with insurers and using specialist software to source products and competitive prices or solutions for customers or prospects 
IT literate in Outlook, Word & Excel and competence with the use of Acturis would be a particular benefit.
If you think you are the perfect candidate for this role, then please submit your CV to jonathan.smith@tldallas.com before the closing date of 31/01/2019.
Salary Competitive depending on experience/plus company benefits.

Atradius - Underwriter – Africa & Israel Team. 
Based in Cardiff
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Risk Underwriter in our Team in Cardiff .This role allows you to work with a dynamic, friendly and highly experienced team of risk staff underwriting the Africa and Israel markets. You will have the opportunity to work closely with Account Management/Global and New Business Teams to strengthen Atradius’ position in the market. We also closely cooperate with our Risk Teams in Mumbai and Dubai and in close cooperation with our Strategic Partners like in South Africa (CGIC) and Israel (CLAL). The role offers exciting travel opportunities to do market, buyer, customer and/or partner visits in our region.
You will also have the opportunity to learn more about the business as Atradius’ Cardiff office also houses Risk Underwriting - UK, UK Global, UK Commercial, Collections, Claims and IT. Experience life in one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, with the office being located in Cardiff Bay, an ever-expanding UK business hub.
Job Description:
The Risk Underwriter is responsible for reviewing requests for trade credit insurance cover from both new and existing customers. Includes financial and political risk analysis, applying underwriting principles and procedures to support a new risk or modify an existing strategy. Building and maintain good market and trade sector knowledge is key.
We are looking for someone who preferably has: 
  • a degree in Finance / Economics / Accounting
  • knowledge of relevant analytical techniques and ability to analyse financial statements
  • an understanding of worldwide economics & interest in worldwide current affairs
  • ability to interpret external reports and economic information
  • ability to manage a buyer/ country portfolio
  • ability to work independently and efficiently under pressure
  • ability to write and present proposals to our Credit Committee and produce Country Underwriting Guidelines
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • ability to work with MS office applications 
Candidates will ideally have at least three years risk underwriting, credit management or analytical experience. An ability to work within a team environment is key. Candidates should also be confident to work independently.
The ability to focus on service to customers is a key requirement and the successful candidate will be able to clearly demonstrate a positive attitude and proactive approach. Strong communication skills are pivotal to the role, including the ability to discuss complex risk issues confidently. The successful candidate will be able to assimilate information and process workflow quickly and arrive at decisions promptly without detriment to quality. From the start, you will obtain a Personal Development Plan and an experienced mentor.
Candidates should be aware that the position would involve overseas travel so a flexible approach to working hours is important. Fluent written and spoken English will be essential. An additional language (esp. French) would be a real plus.
Please forward your CV and covering letter GBUKJOBS@atradius.com. Applications must be submitted by 20th December 2018.
Events & Offers
Supply Chain Finance Summit, 24-25 January 2019. Amsterdam.
Now in its 4th year, this in-depth event tracks the transformation of supply chain finance (SCF); showcasing the latest innovations within the industry for both domestic and cross- border financing, examining the future of technology-enabled supply chain models, and driving the conversation on increasing access of SCF for SMEs and emerging markets.
As event partners, Credit Insurance News can offer their members a 10% discount on your delegate pass rate. To register please follow this link https://bcrpub.com/events/supply- chain-finance-summit-0. The Credit Insurance News delegate discount code is CIN19– please utilise the code upon booking.
GTR MENA, 18-19 February, 2019.
The most established and comprehensive trade finance market gathering for the Mena region, GTR MENA returns to Dubai on February 18-19, 2019.
GTR’s longest standing event, this high-level gathering is set to attract around 700 delegates, providing a comprehensive overview of the region’s economic health, focusing on key export and import trends as well as the impact of recent geopolitical developments.
Featuring an extensive exhibition, attending delegates will gain unrivalled access to hundreds of companies, all keen to discuss their financing priorities in the current climate, with opportunities for networking deemed a priority.
Last year, 50% of attendees were corporates & traders and 18% were bankers & financiers representing over 300 different companies from around the world. 82% of all attendees held a senior to a c-level position.  Click here for more information.
15% discount off the Standard Rate for financial service providers who subscribe to Credit Insurance News Digest. Enter code: CIN15 in Step 3 when booking online. (Available to all who fall outside the Corporate Pass terms. Cannot replace a current registration or combined with any other promotions).

* Limited 50% off passes *
Credit Insurance News has secured 2 passes to attend this event at 50% off. Standard rate is currently US$ 2,599 for the two-day event while Corporate rate* is US$1,599 per pass. The passes include access to over 80 speakers, the exhibition room, several networking breaks and peer to peer meeting options and over 20 different speaker sessions. (*Corporate rate passes are only available for those representing importers, exporters, distributors, manufacturers, traders and producers of physical goods.)
To redeem your pass, please email Elisabeth Spry at espry@gtreview.com and include your full name, company, job title and reference Credit Insurance News.
Offer valid for new registrations only and cannot be combined with any additional offers. 
ICC Academy’s 8th Supply Chain Finance Summit. 27-28 February 2019. Singapore.
Enjoy 20% off the original price with our Early Bird Discount using the code scf2019-earlybird valid until 3 December 2018. REGISTER HERE
Now in its 8th edition, the ICC Academy will host its next Supply Chain Finance Summit from 27-28 February 2019 in Singapore.
As Asia's principal trade and financial hub, Singapore has the potential to shape the development of regional supply chain financing. After the year on year marked success of the ICC Academy's supply chain finance summits - 2016 & 2017 in Singapore, 2017 in London and 2018 in Dubai - it is no wonder that the event would return to the island city-state in 2019, confirming its global status and marked industry growth.
The high-level event will serve as a global platform to exchange insights and ideas on the latest developments and challenges in the supply chain process. Over 200 top trade and supply chain finance specialists are expected to attend the flagship event. The two-day agenda will cover a wide range of issues: ranging from impact of protectionist on physical supply chain to the corporate treasury aspect of SCF; from the scope of alternative finance to supply chain innovations within the global regulatory environment; the belt and road initiative and digitalization of trade and SCF.
Participants will be able to gain valuable knowledge from in-depth panel discussions and examine key case studies. In addition to the formal sessions, this summit will also be a valuable platform for informal dialogue among the fellow delegates and experts to share ideas and experiences and enjoy an array of dedicated networking opportunities. 
 We look forward to welcoming you in Singapore! For more information go to https://whova.com/portal/registration/tfet_201811/.
Receivables Finance International Convention. 6-7 March 2019, London.
Receivables finance industry experts, government agencies, financiers, FinTechs, alternative finance platforms, banks, insurers, and corporates will be gathering in London for the 19th annual Receivables Finance International Convention (“RFIx”).
RFIx is the receivables finance industry's flagship event, which brings together market leaders and new entrants, providing an essential update on the latest invoice financing trends, market challenges, and financial innovation, as well as excellent networking opportunities. The 19th event will also include an Awards Gala Dinner to celebrate the RFIx Awards 2019.
As event partners, Credit Insurance News can offer their members a 10% discount on your delegate pass rate. To register please follow this link https://bcrpub.com/events/19th-rfix- receivables-finance-international-convention. The Credit Insurance News delegate discount code is CIN19– please utilise the code upon booking.
GTR Africa, 14-15 March 2019, Cape Town.
For well over a decade, GTR Africa has provided the annual highlight to domestic industry key-players and returns once again to Cape Town as the regional flagship event on March 14-15.
With extensive opportunities for networking and business development, the event will provide a comprehensive agenda covering all aspects of trade, commodity, export and infrastructure finance, whether it be funding options available to African corporates, key regional hotspots and opportunities for projects or the current risk environment and the various mitigation products and solutions being utilised.
Last year, 30% of attendees were corporates & traders and 21% were bankers & financiers representing over 160 different companies from Africa (72%), Americas (1%), Europe (19%), Mena (5%) and Asia (3%) were represented. 83% of all attendees held a senior to a c-level position. Click here for more information.
15% discount off the Standard Rate for financial service providers who subscribe to Credit Insurance News Digest. Enter code: CIN15 in Step 3 when booking online. (Available to all who fall outside the Corporate Pass terms. Cannot replace a current registration or combined with any other promotions).

* Limited 50% off passes *
Credit Insurance News has secured 2 passes to attend this event at 50% off. Standard rate is currently USD$1,999 for the two-day event while Corporate rate* is USD$499 per pass. The passes include access to over 80 speakers, the exhibition room, several networking breaks and peer to peer meeting options and over 20 different speaker sessions. (*Corporate rate passes are only available for those representing importers, exporters, distributors, manufacturers, traders and producers of physical goods.)
To redeem your pass, please email Elisabeth Spry at espry@gtreview.com and include your full name, company, job title and reference Credit Insurance News.
Offer valid for new registrations only and cannot be combined with any additional offers

About the Sponsor: CBF
Founded in 2000, Credit & Business Finance (CBF) quickly gained a top position in the UK Independent Broking League for Trade Risk Solutions, thanks to a focus on new business development – supported by a dedicated team providing specialist technical expertise.
Offering impartial advice and qualified guidance on Credit Insurance and risk mitigation to businesses in the UK and Ireland, CBF enables its clients to trade confidently in any economic climate, by providing access to the latest risk assessment and protection tools. Not only are policies tailored to clients’ specific business objectives, strategy and risk philosophy, but the company’s varied sector-specific knowledge offers optimum value to many different types of business. CBF is well-known for its success rates in claims payments and increasing Credit Limits, while its portfolio of credit management options supports finance opportunities as well as improving credit control procedures.
The company’s status as one of the industry’s leading lights has been confirmed with accolades including; CICM ‘Credit Insurance Specialist of the Year 2017 & 2018’ and the Wealth & Finance ‘Credit Insurance Specialists of the Year 2017’ awards.
In addition, CBF was instrumental in founding the Global Trade Credit Alliance (GTCA), which provides Credit Insurance specifically for multinationals. This international network of specialists, accessible through CBF, offers tailored policies for group structures delivering all the benefits of specific local knowledge along with the ease, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of a single point of contact provided in each country. A collaborative Broker project team co-ordinates the Client’s Credit Insurance program and helps reduce costs.

To find out more about CBF, call 01279 722555 or email info@cbfb.co.uk.
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