Welcome to issue 106 of Credit Insurance News Digest. The industry newsletter 
devoted to the global trade credit insurance industry. This issue is sponsored by InfolinkGazette

Credit Insurance News
Trade credit insurer reduces credit cover for Thomas Cook suppliers. TTG has reported that it has learned that Euler Hermes has decreased the level of cover it provides to a number of third-party suppliers to Thomas Cook. The article notes that Euler Hermes took a similar step in 2012, withdrawing cover for what Thomas Cook described as a “very small number” of its third-party suppliers after the company’s 2011-12 financial difficulties. However, TTG understands the recent cut is a reduction in the level of cover provided to some suppliers rather than a complete withdrawal of cover as it was in 2012. A Thomas Cook spokesperson said: “We see any limited move from Euler Hermes as consistent with global insurance providers’ changing view of the UK retail environment.” To read TTG's article go to https://www.ttgmedia.com/news/news/insurer-reduces-credit-cover-for-third-party-thomas-cook-suppliers-16815.
US trade credit insurers are expected to monitor their risk decisions for furniture retailers more closely. Furniture Today has published an article, 'Retailers should get proactive in their credit relationships', which warns that US furniture retailers can expect higher levels of scrutiny from trade credit insurers. Baron & Associates founder, Michael Baron, commented that as a result of slowdowns among some major world economies, particularly China, and recession concerns after a long run of US economic expansion, “we should expect the real risk-taking vehicles — i.e., the trade credit insurance companies — to more closely examine their risk decisions in order to avoid a potential repeat of 2008 and ’09." Mr Barron noted that he has already seen some insurers "over-react against solid retailers." To read Furniture Today's article go to http://www.furnituretoday.com/article/561131-retailers-should-get-proactive-their-credit-relationships/.
Challenges remain around common misconceptions of trade credit insurance. Trevor Williams, Head of Credit & Surety at QBE Europe, has published an article in which he reports that although the trade credit market is facing a challenging year ahead, the current economic environment and uncertainty mean businesses will need to consider this cover more than ever. However, challenges remain around common misconceptions of trade credit insurance. One is that it is "simply too expensive" and Mr Williams notes that more needs to be done in the industry to make customers aware of the costs vs benefits. Another incorrectly held belief is that trade credit insurers pulling cover means an insured’s coverage is suddenly taken away and not honoured. To read the article in full go to https://qbeeurope.com/news-and-events/blog-articles/trade-credit-insurance-do-you-know-what-it-is-and-how-it-helps-business-to-grow-and-protect-cash-flow-in-uncertain-times/.
The insolvency contagion effect. New analysis by this issue's sponsor, InfolinkGazette has described how such is the 'contagion effect' of insolvency that unsecured creditors are 3.5 times more likely to become insolvent than the general corporate population. A recent example of this 'contagion' is Proline Group, which lost its fight for survival after being left with over £1 million of unpaid bills when Herbert T Forrest went into Administration. In turn, Proline Group’s 225 unsecured creditors lost a total of £5.5 million, with the top six creditors facing combined losses of over £2 million. InfolinkGazette's Managing Director, Greg Connell commented: “trade suppliers have had to deal with a slowdown in global growth and Brexit uncertainties for some time. . . Add in the insolvency contagion effect and the beginning of 2019 might be a good time for suppliers of goods and services to review their credit insurance cover.” Click here to read the article.
Why US credit managers need to know about trade credit insurance. The National Association of Credit Management (NACM) has published an article which discusses the benefits that trade credit insurance can offer US businesses. Bill Houck, Regional Manager of the US Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade for the Mid-Atlantic region, said credit managers should regard credit insurance as “an integral part of their job when reviewing buyers.” Mr Houck noted that the insurance - whether for domestic or international business purposes - reduces credit risk for a low cost and helps alleviate pressure from sales to lock down a potential customer. For example, he said, it’s common for creditors to have relationships with customers based on cash-in-advance terms; however, it’s possible, over time, to lose those customers when they express interest in getting credit terms. "This is why credit managers need to know about trade credit insurance. In addition to protecting a company’s balance sheet, credit insurance allows credit managers to consider offering credit terms to customers they previously considered risky." To read NACM's article go to https://bcm.nacm.org/index.php/enews.
Trade credit insurance claims in Australia increased by 41% in Q4 2018. Insurancenews.com.au has published an article, 'Trade credit claims spike points to growing insolvency risk', which reports that new analysis by National Credit Insurance (NCI) has found that the number of trade credit insurance claims in Australia increased by 41% in Q4 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier. NCI's Managing Director Kirk Cheesman warned: “Generally, an increase in these areas typically results in increased insolvency activity within 6-12 months.” The article also notes that NCI's Trade Credit Risk Index went up by 4% to 798 points in the December quarter - the highest score in three years. The index is derived from combining insurance claims, collection actions and overdue payments data. To read Insurance News' article go to https://www.insurancenews.com.au/daily/trade-credit-claims-spike-points-to-growing-insolvency-risk.
A disruptive Brexit could result in UK corporate insolvencies being 14% higher. Building has published an article, 'Number of firms going bust after no-deal Brexit will rise, says report', which warns that according to a new report by Atradius, a “disruptive” exit could result in UK corporate insolvencies being 14% higher than under a smooth transition. Atradius noted that countries with strong trading links to the UK would also feel the impact, notably Ireland, which emerged as the most vulnerable EU member to a no-deal Brexit and could experience 4% more insolvencies than if a deal is struck. To read Building's article go to https://www.building.co.uk/news/number-of-firms-going-bust-after-no-deal-brexit-will-rise-says-report/5097588.article.
Prepare for another year of rising global insolvencies. Euler Hermes' latest analysis has found that after seven consecutive years of sizable declines, global insolvencies in 2018 confirmed the upward trend which started in 2017. Euler Hermes Global Insolvency Index (which covers 43 countries totalling 83% of global GDP), posted a 10% year-on-year global increase in 2018 and predicted a 6% increase in 2019. Furthermore, 2 out of 3 countries are expected to experience increased business insolvencies (compared to 2 out of 5 in 2018), and 1 out of 2 countries looks set to register more insolvencies in 2019 than observed on average between 2003-2007. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/en_global/media-news/news/The-collateral-damage-of-too-low-growth-and-tightening-financial-conditions.html.
The number of insolvencies in France is rising again. Coface's latest Panorama advises that since May 2018, the number of insolvencies in France has started to increase again; a trend that is expected to continue in 2019 (forecast increase of 1%). Two categories of companies were particularly affected in 2018: micro-enterprises with revenues of less than €250,000 and, "more unexpectedly", companies with revenues of more than €10 million - which saw a 16% increase. Coface's research also found that in the second half of the year, all the sectors that traditionally generate insolvencies experienced an increase: construction (+1.5%, after -7.1% in the first half), personal services (+4%, after -6.2% in the first half) and automotive (+7.5%, after +0.3% in the first half). To read Coface's news release go to https://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Corporate-insolvencies-in-France-The-rebound-that-began-in-May-2018-is-expected-to-continue-in-2019.
Global and US economies predicted to slow in 2019. Global Trade has published an article by David Culotta, Senior Manager of US Buyer Underwriting for Atradius, in which he warns that in the early stages of 2019 all signs are pointing toward slowing economic growth both in the US and internationally. He notes that global economic growth appears to have peaked in 2018 at 3% and analysts at Atradius estimate that global growth will ease to 2.8% in 2019. For the US, GDP growth is predicted to slow from 2.9% in 2018 to a still robust 2.5% in 2019, but with increased downside risks related to trade and monetary policy decisions.  Mr Culotta also notes that global trade growth is also decelerating, declining from 4.7% in 2017, 3.7% in 2018 to 3% in 2019. To read Global Trade's article go to http://www.globaltrademag.com/global-trade-daily/global-economy-expected-to-slow/.
UK business failures could increase by as much as 25% with a 'no deal' Brexit. GTR (Global Trade Review) has published an article, 'Euler Hermes sounds alarm on Brexit bankruptcies', which reports that the Euler Hermes' latest annual insolvencies analysis predicts a sharp rise in the number of UK business failures in 2019. Euler Hermes suggests that regardless of whether a Brexit deal is agreed before the 29 March deadline, an additional 23,600 UK businesses are expected to fail - 9% more than last year. This follows a 12% increase in insolvencies in 2018. Furthermore, in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit -  which Euler Hermes estimates has up to a 35% chance of happening - UK business failures could increase by as much as 25% To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/europe/euler-hermes-sounds-alarm-on-brexit-bankruptcies/.
Coface predicts insolvency increases in 20 out of 26 European countries. Coface's latest Panorama predicts that the number of business insolvencies is set to increase in twenty European countries (out of 26 analysed); equating to a 1.2% and 6.5% rise in the Eurozone and Central Europe respectively. This increased credit risk for businesses stems from a cyclical slowdown and persistent political uncertainties. The automotive sector is particularly affected and Coface advises that it has amended its ratings to high risk in Latin America and North America, and medium risk in almost all Western European countries as well as Central and Eastern Europe. Overall, Coface anticipates that during 2019 GDP growth will slow to 1.6% in the Eurozone and to 2.3% in the US. To read Coface's Panorama report go to https://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Two-pitfalls-for-businesses-in-2019-the-economic-downturn-and-political-risks.
US economy: 2019 Is likely to start clean and finish messy. Euler Hermes' North America Chief Economist, Dan North, has published an overview of the US economy which cautions that although Euler Hermes' economists expect the US economy to be vibrant for the next few quarters, it is starting to show signs of frailty. He notes that US GDP will likely grow over 2% for all of 2019, but the going could get rough, primarily because fiscal stimulus will be drying up and the Federal Reserve has been tightening monetary policy. Also, uncertainty - especially regarding President Trump's divided government and trade disputes with China - is expected to weigh heavily on the economy in the next year. To read Euler Hermes' analysis go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/en_US/resources-and-insights/economic-insights/2019-is-likely-to-start-clean-and-finish-messy.html.
Waldorf Trade Risk launches ReceivaSure. Waldorf Trade Risk (WTR) has announced the launch of ReceivaSure, an accounts receivable insurance program for US small-and medium-sized companies with US$100,000 or more in annual sales who are looking to do more business on open account terms, companies that export or are seeking to export for the first time and those looking for first-time loans. The policy includes commercial risk protection for businesses whose customers become insolvent, are in protracted default and continued delinquency or are unable to pay invoices. It also provides protection for political risk exposures such as currency inconvertibility, exchange transfer risk, import/export embargo and license cancellation. The new product is built on an end-to-end digital underwriting platform, is capable of processing most quotes in 24 hours and is offered through speciality insurance brokers. For more information go to https://receivasure.com/agents-brokers/#getting-started.
58% of US CFOs say their company isn’t fully prepared to meet the current risk landscape. Insurance Business America has published an article that reports that a new study from Euler Hermes has found that nearly 75% of US CFOs of companies with at least $5 million in annual revenue are concerned about the risks they may face over the next 12 months. Furthermore, 58% say their company isn’t fully prepared to meet the current risk landscape. Non-payment events are among the top concerns, with 70% of CFOs considering a non-payment event a threat to their businesses and 72% of respondents having experienced non-payment in the last three years. Trump administration tariffs were also considered a cause for concern, with 70% of those surveyed saying the tariffs could at least moderately impact their companies. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/risk-management/most-cfos-dont-feel-prepared-for-current-risk-landscape--study-157812.aspx.
A new supply chain insurance product for Canadian mid-market manufacturers and distributors. Insurance Business has reported that as geopolitical tensions and trade protectionism increase around the world, approximately 80% of Canadian manufacturers have had at least one supply chain disruption in the past 12 months. To address this risk, Cowan Insurance Group recently launched what it describes as “the first insurance of its kind in Canada” – a supply chain insurance product for Canadian mid-market manufacturers and distributors. Marcus Morson, Vice President of Manufacturing at Cowan Insurance Group, commented that although certain aspects of the supply chain fall within product recall insurance and also trade credit insurance, "overall I wouldn’t say the industry has come up with a holistic solution for supply chain disruption until now." To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/ca/news/breaking-news/protecting-the-key-artery-of-canadas-manufacturing-industry-123293.aspx.
The risk of an economic downturn coming sooner than expected to the US than expected has increased. Atradius' latest country report cautions that while the US energy sector remains a key driver of the US economy, its overall momentum is beginning to wane, as the lagged effects of tax cuts fade out, the strong USD weighs on export competitiveness, and higher oil prices and import tariffs increase domestic price pressures. As such, while Atradius forecasts that although the US economy will see GDP growth of 2.5% in 2019, it also notes that the risk of a downturn coming sooner to the US than expected has increased. To read Atradius' report go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/country-report-united-states-2019.html.
Euler Hermes finds that consumer satisfaction with the mobile apps of US retailers that went into insolvency in 2018 lagged behind the industry leaders. Euler Hermes has published a new study which indicates how vital it is for US retailers to have a good app. The research found that of the 13 main retailers in the US that became insolvent in 2018, only six had mobile purchasing apps. Also, 6 of the major retailers who filed for insolvency in 2018 had a much more significant proportion of customers unsatisfied with their mobile experience compared to the industry leaders (42% vs 8%). To see Euler Hermes' analysis go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/content/dam/onemarketing/euh/eulerhermes_com/erd/publications/snippets/pdf/US-black-friday-time-to-rethink-your-mobile-app-experience.pdf.
Interview: AIG’s Global Head of Trade Finance, Marilyn Blattner-Hoyle on Blockchain in 2019. Trade Finance Global (TFG) has published an interview with AIG’s Global Head of Trade Finance, Marilyn Blattner-Hoyle which takes a look at some of the real world applications of blockchain in trade finance and describes how AIG are utilising distributed ledger and other technologies to increase transparency, reduce friction and help streamline cash flow and working capital solutions in terms of payment terms and trade finance in the insurance world. Ms Blattner-Hoyle comments: "As the first insurer to do a mainstream pilot with receivables and insurance, we are engaging heavily with the industry and also even with our competitors to think about how we can expand this. We hope to influence the base of how trade finance and industry intersect." To read the article go to https://www.tradefinanceglobal.com/posts/aig-trade-finance-marilyn-blattner-hoyle-on-blockchain-in-2019/.
Strengthening trade credit insurance partnerships is vital for banks. An article in The Asset has described how although account receivable financing has been a longstanding and important way businesses shrink the debt on their balance sheet and expand their operational capacity, the financing solution often offered by banks has been criticised for being inflexible when it comes to supporting customers of a business with weaker credit. The article suggests that one solution that could ease the friction between banks and clients is trade credit insurance and notes that: "Aside from being able to onboard previously rejected buyers, a trade credit insured account receivables programme can also speed up the process for accepting receivables . . ." To read The Asset's article go to https://theasset.com/capital-markets/35702/cccc?id=35702&subm=capital-markets.
Mike Stott, an Associate Partner at Rycroft Associates, has recently published a book 'The Steel Trap' which we highly recommend. Mike told Credit Insurance News Digest that some of it (especially the first chapter) is based on direct experience and commented: "With 'The Steel Trap', I am trying to do for Credit Insurance what 'Wall Street' did for stockbroking and bring what is often perceived to be a mundane product to the public in a more exciting way." He continued: "With what has just happened to Patisserie Valerie, it also gives quite a detailed description of how financial accounts can be manipulated." To buy a copy in paperback or for Kindle go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steel-Trap-Threatened-gangster-would/dp/1794365478/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549922186&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Steel+Trap.
Credit Insurance News: Quiz 
We are delighted to launch our second News Quiz of 2019. 
Just nine short questions (most answers can be found in this issue), with the chance to win a small prize of a £10 Amazon gift card or a donation in your name to the charity of your choice! 
We will announce our next winner in the next issue of Credit Insurance News Digest on 13 March. 
Click here to take part. 

Thank you to readers who took part in January's Quiz.
We are delighted to say that the prize went to Atradius' Nicola Harris who correctly answered all ten questions and was the first faultless submission we received.  
New Appointments
Coface has announced a number of changes to its Western Europe management committee. 
  • Benoît Urbin becomes Director of Underwriting for Coface France and Western Europe. Benoît joined Coface in 2014 and was previously Commercial Director for France and Western Europe. 
  • Bruno Leray succeeds Benoît Urbin as Commercial Director for France and Western Europe. Bruno was formerly Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DLL France, a subsidiary of Rabobank. 
  •  Vanessa Regrain is now Marketing Director for France & Western Europe Region. Before joining Coface, Vanessa was Head of the Global Listing business' Marketing Department at Euronext.
Business Information & Reports
New analysis from the Bank of England, Office for National Statistics and The National Institute of Social and Economic Research indicates a substantially weakening UK economy. 
  • Latest forecasts from the Bank of England predict that 2019 will see the UK economy grow by 1.2% in 2019. This is not only a significant reduction to its previous estimate of 1.7% growth in November 2018, but also indicates that UK GDP growth will be at its slowest rate since 2009 - during the last recession. The Bank also noted that it believes that there is a 25% chance of the UK economy falling into recession following Brexit. For more information, go to https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/.
  • Latest data from the Office for National Statistics also points to a weakening economy, with new data indicating that GDP growth slowed to 1.4% between 2017 and 2018 - the weakest it has been since 20012. Similarly, the 0.2% growth recorded in Q4 2018 is a significant drop from the 0.6% growth seen in Q3 2018. For more information go to https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/bulletins/gdpmonthlyestimateuk/december2018Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
  • The National Institute of Social and Economic Research (NIESR) has reported that the UK economy has lost momentum due to ongoing Brexit uncertainties. As a result, NIESR has lowered its forecast for UK GDP for 2019 from 1.9% to 1.5%, with a slight recovery to 1.7% predicted in 2020. However, it cautions that this scenario is contingent on a 'soft' Brexit. To read NIESR's news release go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/media/press-release-prospects-uk-economy-13637.
UK corporate insolvencies rose by 10% in 2018. New data from the Insolvency Service has revealed that, excluding bulk insolvencies, 16,090 UK businesses entered insolvency in 2018 - the highest recorded annual figure since 2014 and 10% more than in 2017. Stuart Frith, President of R3, commented: "After three years of relatively flat numbers, 2018 saw insolvencies creep back up to levels last seen in 2014. The pressure point for businesses most frequently cited by our members is weak consumer demand. People just don’t have much spare cash at the moment, reflected in the rise in the number of personal insolvencies also confirmed today." To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/index.cfm?page=1114&element=33082&refpage=1008.
Global growth has hit a cyclical peak, and the pace is now slowing. The National Institute of Social and Economic Research (NIESR) has reported that the global growth cycle has probably peaked and now forecasts world GDP growth of around 3.5% a year over the next two years. This will mean that the average annual pace of GDP growth in the second decade of the 21st century (estimated at 3.8%) has been slower than in the ten years before the Great Recession (4.2%), but reflects the slowdown in economic growth in China, which was running at a 10% annual pace in the early years of the last decade. In the medium term, NIESR also expects a similar pace of global growth. To read NIESR's news release go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/media/press-release-prospects-world-economy-13638.
Fallen angels and zombies: Global downturn and rising rates to expose dormant corporate credit risks. Scope Ratings has warned that rising US interest rates and slowing economic growth combined with the unprecedented volume of corporate debt are set to challenge credit ratings, with risks related to “fallen angels” (investment-grade companies which have fallen to junk status) and “zombies” likely to prove particularly acute. The report notes that analysis indicates that 12% of all companies in industrialised countries in 2016 were 'zombies' - up from less than 6% in 2000, and the likelihood that a zombie remains a zombie (i.e., it doesn’t become profitable or isn’t shut down) - has increased to more than 85% from almost 75%. To read Scope Ratings' news release with a link to the full report go to https://www.scoperatings.com/#search/research/detail/158721EN.
Latest data indicates an 18.8% increase in the number of British retail units spit up, redeveloped or demolished. New data released by the Local Data Company (LDC) has indicated that the although the retail vacancy rate in Great Britain rose from 11.2% to 11.5% during 2018, this is still much lower than in 2013 (12.6%). Within this, both retail and leisure vacancy rates have been creeping up, with the latter now at 8.5% - the highest in five years. This is due to a flurry of recent CVAs and administrations in the casual dining sector, including Prezzo, Byron, GBK, Carluccios and Jamie’s Italian. The research also found that between 2017 and 2018, there was an 18.8% rise in the number of retail units (both live and vacant) which were either split into multiple units, redeveloped for warehousing, office or residential use, or demolished. To read LDC's news release go to https://www.localdatacompany.com/blog/press-release-ldcs-top-10-retail-trends-in-2018.
481,000 UK businesses are in significant financial distress. According to the latest Red Flag Alert research from Begbies Traynor, the number of UK businesses in ‘significant’ financial distress now stands at 481,000 - an increase of 15,000 during Q4 2018. The hardest hit sector was real estate and property, which not only saw a 7% (3,134) increase in the number of companies in significant distress from Q3 2018 to Q4 2018, but a 9% year on year increase - equating to 4,013 extra businesses. Companies in support services, construction and professional services were also noted to be in significant financial distress. Such was the impact of the slow end to the year that the number of companies in ‘Critical Distress’ has risen by 25% year-on-year to 2183. To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to https://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/news/firm-news/481000-businesses-in-significant-financial-distress-as-winter-freeze-impacts.
Global expansion is weakening and somewhat faster than expected. The IMF has reported that while global growth in 2018 remained close to post-crisis highs, the global expansion is weakening and at a rate that is somewhat faster than expected. The latest update of the World Economic Outlook (WEO) now projects global growth at 3.5% in 2019 and 3.6% in 2020, 0.2 and 0.1% below last October’s projections. Within the Euro area, the significant revisions are for Germany, where production difficulties in the auto sector and lower external demand will weigh on growth in 2019, and for Italy where sovereign and financial risks—and the connections between them—are adding headwinds to growth. To read the IMF's WEO go to https://blogs.imf.org/2019/01/21/a-weakening-global-expansion-amid-growing-risks/.
Three-point plan to avoid another Carillion payment practice scandal. One year on from the collapse of the construction giant, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the UK Government to implement a three-point plan which it believes will stamp out poor payment practices running rife in the UK. The proposal suggests that the Small Business Commissioner should use his new powers to strengthen the Prompt Payment Code, including tougher penalties for those companies that break the rules, and that non-executive directors who will be responsible for payment practices and supplier relationships should be appointed to the boards of big companies. In addition, the FSB recommends that the use of Project Bank Accounts should be enforced for all major public sector contracts. To read the FSB's news release go to https://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/three-point-plan-needed-to-avoid-another-carillion-payment-practice-scandal.
The UK’s most searched for UK companies and directors of 2018 revealed. A new study by Creditsafe has found that for the third year in succession, Lord Alan Sugar has been named the UK’s most searched for company director in 2018, with Interserve Construction named as the most searched for company - ahead of Carillion and Edmunson Electrical. Chris Robertson, CEO UK and Ireland at Creditsafe, said: “It’s encouraging to see that based on search volume, demand for services in the construction sector remains high, suggesting that UK businesses are keeping up momentum when it comes to investment in new facilities and infrastructure.” To read Creditsafe's news release go to https://www.creditsafe.com/gb/en/more/hub/newsroom/most-searched-companies-and-directors-2018.html.
Italy becomes Europe's first major economy to enter a recession in five years. According to the latest provisional data released by ISTAT, Italy's GDP dropped by 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2018 after a fall of 0.1% in the July-September period. This means that the Italian economy, having experienced two consecutive quarters of negative growth, is now technically in recession. This also makes Italy Europe's first major economy to enter a recession in five years. Meanwhile, figures from the Eurostat agency, both France and Spain saw growth rates of 0.3% and 0.7% quarter-on-quarter respectively. To see Eurostat's latest figures go to https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/9539637/2-31012019-AP-EN.pdf/fead6e91-cd7f-4654-b5d7-81fef584772d.
Please note that the text above is a summary of Eurostat's news.
The UK is currently the destination of choice in Europe for foreign investment. The UK attracted more foreign direct investment (FDI) than any other country in Europe between 2015 and 2018, with nearly four thousand projects bringing in more capital investment than second and third placed Germany and France combined. Analysis in Deloitte’s ‘Power Up: UK inward investment’ report also reveals that the UK ranks second only to the US on the global stage in terms of the number of inward investment projects. During this period the UK attracted 6.7% of global FDI (Germany and France attracted 5.7% and 3.6% respectively). To read Deloitte's news release go to https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/press-releases/articles/power-up-uk-inward-investment-report.html.
Businesses in London have the lowest average business credit scores. New research from Experian has revealed that businesses in the South West have the strongest average business credit scores in Britain, while London ranks as the lowest. Organisations in the South West have an average business credit score of 54.7 – up from 53.4 last year (a business with this score is considered a below average financial risk). At the other end of the rankings, eight of the ten postcode areas with the lowest average Experian business credit scores are in London, posting an average score of 47.2 out of 100.  To read Experian's news release go to https://www.experianplc.com/media/news/2019/experian-uncovers-the-state-of-the-nation-s-business-credit-scores/.
Career Opportunities
 This month's Featured Listing

Assistant Underwriter - Surety Bonds.
London, EC3M 3BD    

QBE’s European Operations, which accounts for over 27% of QBE Group turnover, is a leading specialist in London market and European commercial lines business. Active in both the Lloyd’s and company market, QBE offers considerable diversity to the broking community. We are a socially responsible company and give our customers the ability to invest a portion of their premiums in environmentally and socially beneficial projects.

The Opportunity:

We are looking for a Assistant Underwriter to join our Surety Bonds team, this is your chance to create your career in an exciting environment where anything is possible. Are you ready to grow your career with us? As an Assistant Underwriter within the Surety Bonds team you will be tasked with ongoing monitoring and technical tasks to ensure continued profitability in the portfolio, working alongside colleagues to ensure achievement of business plans whilst undergoing rigorous training to enable you to underwrite in this exciting niche line of business. Your responsibilities for this role may include, but are not limited to:
  • Drafting credit submissions for either credit committee review or team sign-off, including the detailed analysis of financial and non-financial information to underwrite both new surety facilities and monitoring the existing portfolio to maintain effective risk control;
  • Ensure that new facilities and bonds are accurately recorded on QBE systems, including liaising with our off-shore administration team, so that all decisions are clearly documented for internal audit purposes;
  • Assist the underwriting team to maintain relationships with key stakeholders such as brokers, clients and prospects by accurately handling general enquiries, requests and new bond issuances in a timely manner;
  • Attend broker, client and prospect meetings, including short trips within the UK and Ireland as required. You will need to be able to display you have the following qualifications and experience: 
  • Degree educated (or equivalent) level in Economics, Business, Finance or Law related, or relevant experience within the financial services or banking industries;
  • Previous experience in a client facing role with a strong focus on providing excellent client service
  • Ability to analyse and interpret data including basic financial analysis / credit risk assessment skills
  • Basic understanding of risk management concepts
  • Strong attention to detail, particularly with close regard to documentation, administration, processing and checking
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and ability to work within a team to achieve strategic objectives
  • Proficient with MS Office application, in particular Word and Excel
  • Proficient in French both written and verbal (desired but not essential)
At QBE, we view our people as our most precious asset. We understand the importance of fostering a work environment that is responsive to the changing needs of today's workforce. QBE aims to build a workplace that is fair and inclusive because we want to attract and retain the best people to do the job. Search for QBE on Vercida to learn more about our Diversity and Inclusion programmes and policies.
To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to Alexander Yates at alex.yates@uk.qbe.com.
Committee Support Manager / Associate Director (focus Short Term Insurance Committee), London, UK
The Berne Union – International Union of Credit & Investment Insurers – is the leading international trade association for the export credit and investment insurance industry, giving its members a unique forum to connect and exchange business experience since its foundation in 1934. Its membership includes 85 private credit insurers, national export credit agencies and multilateral institutions worldwide. These member organisations support international trade and foreign direct investment by providing risk mitigation products to exporters, investors and banks.
Based in London and under the supervision of the Secretary General, the Committee Support Manager / Associate Director is a member of the Berne Union Secretariat team and will be responsible for managing meeting content and other supporting activities for, and in cooperation with, Berne Union members. The Union currently consists of four committees, primarily relating to line of business distinctions, short term export credit insurance. This ST Committee is the forum for public and private trade credit insurers. The grading / positioning of this role (Committee Support Manager / Associate Director) will be subject to the successful applicants’ professional qualification and specific experience.

Roles and Responsibilities
  • Act as a Secretariat point of contact for Committee Chair(s) to ensure delivery of relevant and suitable meeting content at general and specialist member meetings; regularly and proactively communicate with a variety of stakeholders
  • Identify, develop, prepare and manage content related to export credit insurance for member events and meetings; ensure content relevance and audience suitability 
  • Actively contribute to planning, preparation and execution of member events and meetings; propose creative and innovative approaches to meeting programmes, including incorporating member feedback and recommendations as appropriate 
  • Co-lead and/or lead events and meetings with a focus on technical issues
  • Facilitate active engagement from participants in advance and at member events and meetings
  • Work with industry colleagues to further promote the profile of the Berne Union and its member organisations
  • Develop and implement strategies to meet the needs of both established and new generation credit and investment insurers 
  • Experience in the export credit insurance industry, preferably for at least 5 years, with experience in underwriting, claims or other related lines of business
  • Relevant degree of professional / academic qualification such as international affairs, business, finance and/or economics 
  • Self-motivated, resourceful, and well-organised; proactive with an ability to manage priorities
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a small diverse team; strong written and verbal communication skills including public speaking 
  • Fluent in written and spoken English; fluency in other languages is an asset
  • Proficiency with the standard Office software Word, Powerpoint, Excel as well preferably experience in using intranet communication platforms 
  • Affinity with work in an international and cross-cultural environment
  • Qualified to work in the United Kingdom and ability to travel internationally 
Please apply by enclosing a CV and a covering letter by email to Vinco David, Secretary General (vdavid@berneunion.org) by 28 February 2019. All applications will be treated in confidence.
Events & Offers
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

ICC Banking Commission Annual Meeting, 8-11 April. Beijing, China.
The Banking Commission of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), in collaboration with China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC) and ICC China, is pleased to invite you to the highly-anticipated ICC Banking Commission Annual Meeting to be held at the China World Summit Wing on 8-11 April 2019. 
This two-day flagship event will bring together over 600+ of the most influential trade finance experts, banking professionals, business leaders, lawyers and government officials from over 65 countries to debate the critical issues affecting the trade finance industry.  Objectives
  • Gain valuable insight into the latest developments in trade finance from prominent keynote speakers, industry experts and business and finance experts.
  • Exchange ideas in lively discussions specially designed to address the most topical themes in trade finance.
  • Influence the debates through active participation in the Plenary and breakout sessions - the Annual Meeting is the most open forum to influence policy and guidelines that govern the trade finance industry.
  • Learn about the policy and regulatory changes affecting the industry through ICC’s market- leading work in standard setting, market intelligence and policy making.
  • Extend your sphere of influence through our network of over 600 members in more than 100 countries. Be a part of the largest and most authoritative voice in the field of trade finance. 
Target Participants 
  • Financial institutions (sales and client relationship managers, product managers, back office managers, risk managers)
  • Multilateral development banks and export credit agencies
  • Government organizations
  • Corporates
  • Independent financiers
  • Insurance brokers
  • Underwriters
  • Lawyers and consultants
  • Service providers
Link to Program/Agenda.
To view the full programme, please click here
Register here to attend the 2019 Annual Meeting Registration deadline: 08 March 2019
BCR’s Consortia 2019. Blockchain for Trade and Receivables Finance, 21-22 May 2019. London. 
BCR’s Consortia 2019 is the first international conference to raise the profile of consortiums who are pioneering blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) for trade finance to the business and financial community. 
Consortia will provide a forum for the consortiums and their prospective partners and other interested parties to showcase and evaluate their development and the future. The event will provide opportunity for discussion on how blockchain and DLT are impacting trade finance and the business opportunities these new technologies offer to banks, funders, SMEs, government bodies, trade bodies and corporates etc. 
With case studies of live transactions, examples of POCs and insights from the leading consortiums, this is not an event to be missed. 
As event partners, Credit Insurance News can offer their members a 10% discount on a delegate pass rate. To register please follow this link www.consortia2019.com The Credit Insurance News delegate discount code is CIN19– please utilise the code upon booking.
Alternatively you can contact yongmei.he@bcrpub.com quoting your discount code for payment via invoice.
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.
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, ILG data quality editors process 3,000 insolvency files, with total unpaid/unsecured credit losses of over £1 billion, resulting from an average 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 0.9 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; 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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