Welcome to issue 107 of Credit Insurance News Digest. The industry newsletter 
devoted to the global trade credit insurance industry. This issue is sponsored by Nexus

PLUS: 'What's New in the Nexus Trade Credit Team?' by Ian Selby, Commercial Director - Trade Credit at Nexus.
Credit Insurance News
Arcadia’s credit insurance 'to be cut' again. Drapers has reported that amid continued tough trading conditions on the UK High street, credit insurers are planning to cut cover for Arcadia Group for the second time. According to a recent article in The Sunday Times, Euler Hermes is reported to have written to clients saying that it plans to reduce levels of cover because of “weakening” consumer confidence and “deterioration” on the high street. Euler Hermes also cut cover to the group last year, as the accounts for the year to August 2017 demonstrated “a continued decline in revenues and profitability from continuing operations, impacted by [the] challenging trading environment.” To read Drapers' article go to https://www.drapersonline.com/news/latest-news/arcadias-credit-insurance-to-be-cut-again/7034571.article.
Systemic risk analysis coupled with political and trade credit insurance will be vital to minimising political threats. Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2019 indicates that rising geopolitical tensions and protectionist sentiments, coupled with ongoing trade disputes, are leading to an unprecedented breadth of challenges and increased uncertainty and risk for multinationals with direct foreign investments. The World Economic Forum’s recent Global Risks Report 2019 also ranked rising geopolitical and geo-economic tensions as the most urgent risk in 2019. Evan Freely, Global Practice Leader, Credit Specialties at Marsh, noted: “In uncertain times, vigilance and broad, systemic risk analysis coupled with political and trade credit insurance, will be vital to minimising these threats.” To see Marsh's latest Political Risk Map go to https://www.marsh.com/ca/en/campaigns/political-risk-map-2019.html.
Uncertainty: the new revolution in trade credit insurance. Insurance Business has published an article in which Tanya Giles of Atradius notes that while technology and innovation are recognised as two major influences which have shaken up the trade credit insurance industry over the last decade, another factor which is having a far more significant impact on the industry is uncertainty. Ms Giles comments: "Uncertainty has already led to an increased awareness of trade credit risks, resulting in a rise in demand for protection. It is therefore over to us as insurers and brokers to respond and demonstrate our worth, allowing us to drive a revolution in the industry." She continues: " With unique insight into global trading patterns, market conditions, payment behaviours and credit risk, trade credit insurers are in prime position to fulfil a greater, more proactive role." To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/opinion/uncertainty-the-new-revolution-in-trade-credit-insurance-158952.aspx.
Recent UK business failures illustrate the benefits of trade credit insurance. Research from InfolinkGazette has indicated that Mahabis went into Administration owing £2.2 million to unsecured trade creditors, while unsecured trade creditors lost just over £17 million following the failures of Hawk Plant Ltd and Hawk Plant Hire Ltd. Regarding Mahabis' failure, Greg Connell - Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, said: "The Mahabis insolvency was totally unexpected, the balance sheet looked great, with strong liquidity, low gearing, and it appeared to be profitable; this is the type of failure that perfectly illustrates the benefits of trade credit insurance.” He continued: "unsecured creditors will always be the biggest losers, averaging pay-outs of less than 9 pence in the pound for the creditors without trade credit insurance." To read InfolinkGazette's analysis go to https://www.infolinkgazette.com/?pid=6.
Area42 innovation lab prepares to shake up trade credit insurance. GTR (Global Trade Review) has reported that Credendo has launched an innovation lab - led by Lode Vermeersch and Christophe Spoerry (who co-founded the Euler Hermes Digital Agency) - that aims to “recode” trade credit insurance and related products for the digital era. Christophe Spoerry told GTR: “Area42 was formed because we are not sure that credit insurance and surety bonds are the answer to the mission of Credendo in the longer term, and it’s the same for the other credit insurers to be honest." He noted that trade is becoming more platform-based, with new paradigms such as blockchain, which facilitates significantly more open account trade, and 3D printing which shortens the supply chain. "The position of a trade insurer is clearly at risk,” he concluded. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/fintech/area42-innovation-lab-prepares-to-shake-up-trade-credit-insurance/.
Trade credit insurance - an “opportunity” for SMEs. Insurance Business Australia has published an article which reports that although trade credit insurance can be a tough pitch for brokers "as coverage often seems complicated and rarely comes cheap", many SME business owners don’t fully understand the benefits that come with trade credit insurance. Mark Hoppe, Managing Director of Atradius’ Oceania operations, commented: “Business owners do see it as an expense – and you can’t fluff around, it definitely is an expense – but trade credit insurance also provides an opportunity to grow, particularly for SMEs." He added: “This really is an area where brokers can add value because it can be a complicated product - but if brokers can help their clients understand what’s on offer and see the growth they can get out of it, then they’ll be helping them take that next step.” To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/au/news/breaking-news/trade-credit-insurance-an-opportunity-for-smes-160873.aspx.
Trade credit insurers remain on hand to support the UK retail sector. Jamie Calder, Credit Lines Underwriter at QBE, has published an article which notes that Centre for Retail Research research shows that 2018 was the worst year for UK retailers since the 2008 recession and that, according to the Insolvency Service, over 1,200 retailers became insolvent in the year to 31 December 2018 - an increase of 9% on 2017. The bad news has also continued into 2019, with the first two months of this year seeing a further seven notable retailers fold (among them, Oddbins, HMV and Hardy Amies), and even historically strong performers announcing plans to shut stores to reduce costs. Mr Calder stresses that although some credit insurers may be "pulling back", the current environment "demonstrates the value of the trade credit insurance product" and is creating an opportunity for other specialist credit insurers. To read QBE's news article go to https://qbeeurope.com/news-and-events/blog-articles/uk-retail-sector-is-looking-unpredictable-but-qbe-remains-on-hand-to-support/.
Acumen warns that the UK construction industry is likely to experience another Carillion sized failure in the near future. Acumen has published a news release which notes that according to data from Dun & Bradstreet in November 2018, the number of insolvencies in the UK construction sector has doubled in two years - from 340 in Q3 2016 to 677 in the same quarter in 2018. Acumen suggests that this is due in part to the continuing knock-on impact of the demise of Carillion, as well as historically low margins - of around 2% or less. Despite current efforts to reform UK payment terms and the manner in which tenders are awarded, Acumen warns that "it is more likely than not that we will see another Carillion-size failure in the near future." To read Acumen's news release go to https://www.credit-insure.co.uk/acumen-credit-insurance/carillion-plc-what-a-difference-a-year-makes/.
Corporate insolvencies begin to rise - especially in Europe. Atradius' latest Economic research has found that after nearly a decade of annual improvements, 2019 is expected to mark the first year of global insolvency growth (1% increase predicted for advanced markets) since the financial crisis. The aggregate growth in insolvencies is almost exclusively driven by Western Europe (2% increase), with several European countries expected to see significant rises in corporate failure, including the UK (+7%, +4% predicted in November 2018) and Italy (+6%), Sweden (+3%), Switzerland (+3%) and Germany, Austria, Norway and the Netherlands (+2%). Atradius also stressed that its new predictions are based on an orderly Brexit on March 29th followed by a smooth transition. However, "as this is increasingly uncertain, the downside risk to our forecast is high." To read Atradius' Insolvency Forecasts go to https://atradius.us/reports/economic-research-insolvency-forecasts-february-2019.html.
The Credit and Political Risk Insurance market is well-positioned to cope with the impact of Brexit-related uncertainty. BPL Global's latest Market Insight 2019 report stresses that whatever the outcome of Brexit, the Credit and Political Risk (CPRI) market is well prepared to continue extending high-quality service levels to EU based clients and will maintain a business-as-usual environment post-Brexit. According to the report, even though a few insurers have decided to discontinue writing CPRI in 2018, there have been some new joiners, and capacity and product offerings have also continued to grow. Furthermore, according to BPL Global, there has been an encouraging increase of around 15% in non-trade credit capacity and increases to both non-payment public obligor and political risk lines. James Esdaile, Managing Director, BPL Global, commented: “Despite the numerous challenges that have been facing our industry, we have identified significant growth across key business lines and an agility within the market to adjust to both shifting risk patterns and evolving client demand.” To read BPL Global's news release with a link to the full report go to https://bpl-global.com/2019/02/20/bpl-global-releases-its-market-insight-2019-report/.
The integration of Nexus CIFS and Equinox Global and the impact of Brexit. Credit Insurance News Digest recently interviewed Ian Selby, Commercial Director - Trade Credit at Nexus, in which Mr Selby discusses the recent and ongoing integration of Nexus CIFS and Equinox, preparations for Brexit and the impact of the current "tricky risk environment". Mr Selby reports that claims during 2018 were historically high, particularly in the UK, and this hasn’t shown much sign of abating in the first part of 2019. Although in some instances, this has led to increases in premium, Mr Selby stresses that Nexus is focused on exploring risk-share with clients - either via a change to the first loss or the introduction of an aggregate deductible. Regarding credit limits, he notes: "Yes, we do need to take action more frequently on limits in a heightened risk environment, but the focus is on communicating concerns to clients and doing whatever we can to maintain limit values. Click here to read the interview.
AIG/EEF survey stresses how with trade credit insurance UK manufacturers can protect their revenues, unlock trade finance opportunities and navigate new markets. AIG and EEF have published the eighth issue of their annual Executive Survey describing UK manufacturers’ expectations for the year ahead. Although UK manufacturers remain mostly positive for 2019, there are issues which could make 2019 more challenging than 2018. While Brexit is the driving force behind many of the risks and uncertainties, AIG Trade Credit's Andrew Baynes notes that several other dangers (notably cyberattacks, late payments and extended payment terms) are also of concern and highlighted the benefits of trade credit insurance to mitigate current challenges. The Executive Survey states that 37% have this insurance in place already with a further 15% planning to take action. To read AIG's viewpoint go to https://www.aig.co.uk/insights/eef-executive-report-2019?cmpid=SMC-tw-AIGemea-EEF_2019-20190206095000#viewpoint.
EFCIS gains approval for a professional services law firm. EFCIS Law has announced that it has become the first FCA regulated independent trade credit insurance specialist to have created an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) professional services law firm. As a result, EFCIS Law can now support clients with regulated legal services, predominantly dispute resolution and litigation, in addition to its existing pre-litigation collections and credit and risk management expertise. Andy Moylan, the Founder of EFCIS, said: "Having a regulated law firm servicing the existing clients of an FCA regulated Insurance Specialist can only be of significant benefit to them in mitigating credit risk and exposure. This reflects the way in which the trade credit risk sector has changed in recent years with an increasing emphasis on professionalism, client services and support." Click here to read EFCIS' news release.
Atradius' latest Market Monitor for the UK construction sector predicts a difficult year ahead. Average payment in the British construction industry is 75 to 90 days, and the level of protracted payments and payment delays remains high and is expected to increase further in H1 of 2019. Construction insolvencies were on a high level between January and September 2018, increasing by more than 16% year-on-year in Q3 2018 alone and Atradius notes that the insolvency outlook for 2019 is also negative, with further increases expected. The knock-on effect of the Carillion liquidation (the largest corporate insolvency ever in the sector) will also continue to impact suppliers and subcontractors (according to unconfirmed reports, retention payments outstanding from Carillion could amount up to £1 billion). Regarding Brexit, as more than 60% of building materials are imported from the EU, any increase in tariffs or limits on quantities imported after leaving the EU could lead to higher costs for British construction businesses and a shortage of building materials." To read Atradius' report go to https://atradius.us/reports/market-monitor-construction-united-kingdom-2019.html.
C2FO and Euler Hermes Americas launch a digital partnership to protect trade via EH Single Invoice Cover. Euler Hermes Americas and C2FO (the largest working capital market in the world) have announced a strategic partnership to provide C2FO customers access to Single Invoice Cover. Through the partnership, C2FO customers will be able to purchase credit insurance on individual invoices via a digital platform in less than two minutes. Euler Hermes commented that this a concrete illustration of its strategy to expand beyond its traditional and oldest business line, trade credit insurance, into complementary and innovative products. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/en_US/about-usa/press-releases/industry-leaders-c2fo-and-euler-hermes-americas-launch-digital-p.html.
The "sputtering" German-French growth engine. A new report from Euler Hermes notes that both the German and French economies are experiencing a significant deceleration of growth. According to Euler Hermes, in Germany one-third of the drop comes from political instability and 20% from trade uncertainty and in France, 40% of the downward adjustment comes from trade and 50% from political uncertainty. As a consequence, Euler Hermes has significantly revised downwards its 2019 GDP growth forecasts for both countries. Following GDP growth of 2.5% in 2017 and 1.5% in 2018, Germany is now forecast to see GDP growth of 1.0% in 2019 and 1.4% growth in 2020. Similarly, France - which saw 2.3% growth in 2017 and 1.5% growth in 2018 - is expected to slow down to 1.2% growth, before recovering to 1.5% growth in 2020. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/en_global/economic-research/insights/the-sputtering-german---french-growth-engine.html.
A condensed view of country risk assessments published by Atradius, Coface, Credimundi and Euler Hermes. AU Group has released its latest AU 'G Grade' for Q1 2019. The AU 'G-Grade' is based on the individual assessment of a country by each of the four main credit insurers and is calculated according to the real risk taken by these major insurers collectively. Also, seven key indicators provided by the IMF Statistics Department give a view of the key trends and the level of risk per country. In this issue, downgrades include Bahrain and Namibia. Significant improvements this quarter include Rwanda, where GDP remains very robust (the IMF predicts 7.8% growth in 2019 and 8% in 2020), and Montenegro (3.7% growth predicted by the IMF in 2019). To download a copy of AU Group's free report go to http://www.au-group.com/how-to-monitor-country-risks/.
Promising emerging markets for 2019. Atradius latest report notes that while the peak of this economic cycle is now over and increasing uncertainty continues to grab headlines, opportunities for trade in new markets can still be found. Atradius comments that while countries such as Bulgaria, Indonesia, Vietnam, Peru, and Morocco may not be the fastest growing markets, they are experiencing stable or accelerating growth coupled with favourable business conditions, robust payment behaviour, and growth opportunities across several sectors. For example, Bulgaria stands out in the Eastern European region with GDP growth forecast to accelerate to 3.5% from 3.3% in 2018, while Vietnam and Indonesia are forecast to see economic growth of 6.7% and 5.1% respectively. To read Atradius' report go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/economic-research-promising-emerging-markets-2019.html.
How to survive in the world of trade credit marketplaces. Excred Communities has published an article which examines how much of a threat the introduction of new platforms really present to the traditional trade credit market. The article notes that on the banking/trade credit insurance side, most of the current investment seems to be going into blockchain, but cautions that while blockchain has the potential to connect all the elements of a trade transaction, traditional players won't be able to reap the benefits of the 'new normal trade ecosystem' unless they adopt new business models. "It is clear that banks and trade credit insurers cannot just stand by while digital competitors eat away at their market share - and most don't intend to." To read Excred's article go to https://knect365.com/excred-community/article/4bc7ae23-175e-4f64-a281-38e80d50a2d3/how-to-survive-in-the-world-of-trade-credit-marketplaces.
Congratulations to  . . .
Euler Hermes for winning Trade Finance Global's (TFG) award for 'Best Trade Credit Insurance Firm'.
Credit Insurance News: Quiz. 
 We are delighted to launch March's News Quiz.
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 10 April.
Click here to take part.

Thank you to readers who took part in February's Quiz. We are delighted to say that the prize went to Mike Lawrence of Credit and Business Finance Limited.
New Appointments
Markel International has announced the appointment of Ramzi El Kadi as an underwriter within its trade credit, political risk and surety operation in Dubai. Mr El Kadi was most recently a credit risk underwriter at Coface, Dubai.
Coface has announced that it has appointed Oscar Villalonga to lead its North America region. Mr Villalonga takes over from Fredrik Murer, who has decided to pursue career opportunities outside the Coface Group.
Business Information & Reports
OECD cuts the UK and global growth forecast and warns of the economic consequences of a no-deal Brexit. The OECD has warned that the global economy will slow to 3.3% in 2019 (from 3.6% in 2018) and that prospects are now weaker in nearly all G20 countries than previously anticipated. Economic growth is also weakening much more than expected in Europe, with the UK forecast to see a 0.8% increase in GDP in 2019 (down from the 1.4% growth the OECD predicted in November) and 0.9% growth in 2020. However, these projections are conditional on the assumption of a smooth Brexit; if the UK and the EU separate without an agreement, the outlook would be significantly weaker with OECD analysis suggesting that the increase in tariffs as a result of WTO rules coming into effect would reduce UK GDP by around 2% (relative to baseline) in the next two years. To read the OECD's latest analysis go to http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/oecd-sees-global-growth-slowing-as-europe-weakens-and-risks-persist.htm.
© 2019 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
UK insolvencies creep up as uncertainty continues. A study by KPMG of notices in the London Gazette shows that a total of 368 companies went into administration between October and December 2018, compared with 322 in the previous quarter in Q3 2018 - an increase of 14%, and a significant increase from the 277 administrations seen during the same period in 2017. Blair Nimmo, Head of Restructuring for KPMG UK, said: “The latest insolvency figures reflect an annual and quarterly increase in the number of businesses becoming insolvent, which is disappointing but by no means surprising - particularly after what was for many a lacklustre festive trading period." To read KPMG's news release go to https://home.kpmg/uk/en/home/media/press-releases/2019/02/insolvencies-creep-up-as-uncertainty-continues-and-consumer-conf.html.
Sluggish but positive growth in the UK economy. New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicates that although the UK economy grew by 0.5% in January 2019 (a marked improvement on December 2018, when GDP shrank by 0.4%), the rolling three-month rolling figures remain subdued with 0.2% growth (the same as in the three months to December 2018). January’s figure was boosted by growth in the construction sector of 2.8 %, and 0.8% in manufacturing, both of which had contracted in December 2018. Chief Economist at PwC John Hawksworth said: "The volatility of the monthly data for December and January reinforces the importance of focusing most attention on the rolling three month average GDP growth rate”, he said. “The big picture, therefore, remains one of continued sluggish but positive growth in the UK economy, with business investment held back by ongoing uncertainty over Brexit." To read PwC's news release go to https://www.pwc.co.uk/press-room/press-releases/uk-gdp-data-mar-2019.html.
The Brexit stalemate means growing damage today and a weaker UK economy tomorrow. The CBI has reported that its recent survey of UK businesses has shown that current Brexit uncertainty has significantly affected UK businesses sales and investment plans over the last few months. Businesses also reported that their costs have increased significantly (+59%) as a result of Brexit uncertainty and that stockpiling of goods has become an everyday business reality (+43%) with ‘no deal’ still on the table at the time of writing (12 March). Furthermore, nearly 9 in 10 firms are concerned about potential delays at borders arising from a ‘no deal’ scenario, and 57% of respondents say they are ‘extremely’ concerned and 19% ‘moderately’ concerned about tariff changes. To read the CBI's news release go to http://www.cbi.org.uk/news/brexit-stalemate-means-growing-damage-today-and-weaker-economy-tomorrow/.
Worst February in a decade for UK retailers. According to new research by BDO, UK High street retailers suffered the worst February in a decade for in-store sales. Notably, lifestyle retailers suffered the worst monthly result for in-store sales since November 2008, with Valentine’s Day failing to provide any uplift. Fashion sales also fell in-store by -3.5% year-on-year in February - the worst February for fashion since 2009 due to three consecutive weeks of negative like-for-like in-store sales. Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said: “It has been a tough start to the year for the sector and retailers are continuing to fill headlines with poor performances. Brexit uncertainty is proving to have a disproportionate impact on discretionary spending and there’s an increasing sense of nervousness among retailers." To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2019/worst-february-in-a-decade-turns-up-the-heat-on-beleaguered-retailers.
UK small business confidence is stuck in negative territory. Data from FSB’s latest quarterly Small Business Index (SBI) indicates that confidence among smaller firms remained negative in Q1 2019 (-5.0), down from +6.0 in the same period last year. This marks the third consecutive negative SBI reading - the first sustained period of negativity for the index (which launched in Q1 2010). Currently, seven in ten small firms do not expect their performance to improve in the coming three months, and though Brexit uncertainty is weighing heavily on small businesses, they continue to flag the domestic economy as the number one barrier to growth with 58% reporting that it is stifling ambitions. Elsewhere, the proportion of small exporters reporting a decrease in international sales this quarter has hit a two-and-a-half year high of 27%, and 39% of those surveyed say exports are flat. To read the FSB's news release go to https://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/small-business-confidence-stuck-in-negative-territory-as-firms-call-for-action-at-spring-statement.
The UK's creative industries are owed more than £1 billion in late payments. Latest MarketInvoice Business Insights research has revealed that 48% of UK businesses in the creative industries (typically smaller companies, often agencies and consultancies, that provide services to a range of sectors from TV and film to design and publishing) were paid late in 2018. These smaller firms are typically beholden to lengthy payment terms meaning they must wait upwards of 90 days before their invoices are paid. In 2018, a typical invoice worth £38,137 was being settled 13 days beyond payment terms leaving the industry £1.1 billion out of pocket at any given time. Larger companies were more likely (51%) to pay the creative industries later than smaller businesses (41%). While some companies settle their invoices on time, one in seven (14%) take more than 14 days beyond agreed terms to pay. To read MarketInvoice's news release go to https://blog.marketinvoice.com/2019/03/11/18401/.
UK small businesses call for 'Fair Pay, Fair Play' in the fight against poor payment practices. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a Fair Pay, Fair Play campaign which calls on the UK government to enlist the help of Non-Executive Directors, strengthen payment enforcement and adopt Project Bank Accounts in public procurement, as three key reforms that will help end the poor payment crisis in the UK. FSB research shows that the vast majority (84%) of small firms report being paid late, with a third (33%) saying at least one in four payments they’re owed arrives later than agreed. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry, said: “Our reforms are not the silver bullet that will suddenly signal the end of poor payment practices but are certainly important and necessary steps towards this. I am calling on all politicians and big businesses to back these reforms and show that they believe in fair pay and fair play.” To read the FSB's news release go to https://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/small-businesses-call-for-fair-pay-fair-play-in-fight-against-poor-payment-practices.
UK Government consultation includes a proposal to repay HMRC ahead of pension schemes, trade creditors, and lenders in insolvency procedures. Commenting on the publication of a UK Government consultation on the plan to repay HMRC ahead of pension schemes, trade creditors, and lenders in insolvency procedures, Stuart Frith, President of R3, commented: “More money back to the Treasury increases the impact of insolvency on everyone else. It’s not just lenders who will be worse off, but an insolvent company’s pension scheme and trade creditors, too." He continued: "While the Treasury may see some extra money back every year as a result of the change, it’ll be counting the cost of missing tax income and added tax losses in later years." To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/index.cfm?page=1114&element=33105&refpage=1008.
The true cost of UK business fraud could be as high as £37.5 billion per year.  Research carried out as part of BDO LLP’s annual FraudTrack report has found that although the total value of fraud in the UK more than halved in 2018 to £746.3 million, as few as 1 in 50 cases of fraud in the UK are likely to be reported. Kaley Crossthwaite, Partner and Head of Fraud at BDO, commented: “The true cost of fraud could be as high as £37.5 billion per year, based on average fraud values found in our research. Increasingly we are seeing high-value complex fraud being dealt with outside the judicial system as companies prefer to deal with these situations behind closed doors to avoid reputational damage." In the last year, BDO found that the manufacturing sector witnessed the largest increase, with an increase in the value of fraud of 1014% (£22.8 million). Another dramatic increase in 2018 occurred in the Utilities sector, with the value of fraud rising over 1400% to £9.3 million. To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2019/bdo-fraudtrack-analysis.
7% of EU business turnover is through web sales. Eurostat latest report, 'ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises', has found that one out of every five EU enterprises with at least ten people employed made sales using computer networks such as the Internet or other forms of electronic data exchange in 2017. Electronic sales accounted for 7% of EU business turnover and were driven primarily through the enterprises' own websites or apps (6% of total turnover). Among EU Member States, the highest percentages of turnover realised through web sales were in Belgium and Ireland (both approximately 15%), while the Member States with the lowest proportion of total turnover from web sales were Bulgaria and Slovenia (both 2%). The level of business turnover realised through web sales in the UK was just over 9%. To read Eurostat's news release go to https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/DDN-20190227-1?inheritRedirect=true&redirect=%2Feurostat%2FPlease note that the text above is a summary of Eurostat's news.
UK retail sales stand still in February. UK retail sales volumes were once again flat in the year to February, confirming a subdued start to 2019, according to the latest quarterly CBI Distributive Trades Survey. However, for the first time since September 2018, the volume of sales was seen to be around the average for the time of year, while orders placed on suppliers also rose moderately. Looking ahead, retailers’ expectations regarding the business situation have stabilised for the first time in a year. Sales volumes are now expected to pick up sharply in the year to March, with growth expectations at their highest level since October 2015. To read the CBI's news release go to http://www.cbi.org.uk/news/retail-sales-stand-still-in-february/.
Honda closure could be devastating for small firms in the UK supply chain. Reacting to the announcement that Honda will close its Swindon car plant, Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “The planned closure of the Honda plant is not only devastating for the skilled workforce employed there, but a very worrying time for all the small businesses throughout Honda’s supply chain, and especially local firms in the surrounding area." He continued: "Across the region, there’s a huge network of businesses throughout the supply chain that will be impacted by the closure and will now be very concerned about their futures." To read the FSB's news release go to https://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/honda-closure-could-be-devastating-for-small-firms-in-the-supply-chain.
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 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

GTR Russia 2019, 27 March 2019, Russia.
Russia’s most established gathering for the trade and export finance industry, GTR Russia 2019, will return to Moscow on March 27 2019. Leading the discussion on Russian trade and export priorities for over a decade, the event will once again bring together a wide range of traders and financiers for a day of networking and debate.
Last year’s conference featured an esteemed line-up of speakers covering key themes such as global trade scenarios and opportunities for the Russian market and expanding Russia’s export finance sector while taking into consideration US sanctions and their impact.
Speakers addressed ECA support and financing, investment options for innovative mobility projects in smart cities, like Moscow itself, updates on existing blockchain technology trends and their implementation in corporate finance strategies for the new age.
Don’t miss your chance to network with peers, encounter new investors and financiers and position yourself as an expert in the industry.
Last year, 61% of attendees were corporates & traders and 26% were bankers & financiers representing over 100 different companies. 94% of all attendees held a senior to a c-level position.
Click here for more information.
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
GTR UK 2019, 8 May 2019. London.
With negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union set to conclude in March 2019, GTR UK 2019 provides one of the earliest opportunities for the UK business community to convene and discuss the country’s post-Brexit trade strategy, taking place in London on May 8, 2019.
Enjoying unrivalled support from the UK’s primary trade bodies and leading export-focused institutions and having welcomed around 500 delegates gathered across leading industries in 2018, the event provides a crucial forum for domestic exporters, financiers and trade specialists to network, discuss and debate.
Join GTR and over 50 speakers as we explore the future of UK trade and exports, examining the trading opportunities within and beyond Europe and the implications of this new economic landscape for businesses.
Last year, 54% of attendees were corporates & traders and 14% were bankers & financiers representing over 250 different companies from around the world. 84% of all attendees held a senior to a c-level position.
10% early booking discount available until April 5 when booking online with code: EBD10. Click here for more information.
GTR East Africa 2019, 21-22 May 2019, Nairobi.
For over a decade, the GTR East Africa conference has brought together leading commodity producers and traders, manufacturers, trade finance specialists, risk management experts, and trade tech innovators, providing unrivalled insight on operating in this exciting region.
Returning to Nairobi for 2019, a comprehensive two day agenda will provide a comprehensive view of the East African trade landscape, featuring in-depth analysis of geopolitical and macroeconomic trends, regulatory and finance sector developments, and the trade financing and risk mitigation techniques being utilised throughout key regional value chains, from agribusiness to oil and gas and value-add manufacturing sectors.
With over 170 different companies represented at 2018’s event including 50% corporate sector representatives, the GTR East Africa conference is established as the region’s leading gathering for all those seeking to build crucial contacts and gain the inside track on doing business across the region. 
10% early booking discount available until April 26 when booking online with code: EBD10. Click here for more information.
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.
TXF Global 2019: Export, Agency & Project Finance 12, 13 & 14 June, Grand Hyatt Berlin.
This 12, 13 & 14 June we bring your flagship export, agency & project finance show to Berlin! If you only attend one event of the year in this industry, TXF Global is ‘the one’. Join the gig and throw yourself into deal heaven with the CEOs of Corporates, ECAs, DFIs, SOEs and government ministers. 
3 days of epic headline acts, intimate networking, inspiring content and innovative session types await anyone brave enough to get themselves a ticket. 
Keynote speakers include:
  • Prof. Dieter Kempf, President, FEDERATION OF GERMAN INDUSTRIES
  • Dr. Christoph Herfarth, Head of Export Finance and Export Credit, Guarantee Department, GERMAN FEDERAL MINISTRY FOR ECONOMIC AFFAIRS AND ENERGY
  • Anna-Karin Jatko, Director General, EKN - THE SWEDISH EXPORT CREDIT AGENCY
  • Gabriel Cumenge, Deputy Assistant Secretary, MINISTRY OF FINANCE OF FRANCE - DG TRÉSOR
  • Jose Pedro Freitas, CFO, MOTA-ENGIL GROUP
  • Debora Revoltella, Chief Economist, EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK 
Visit the website for the full speakers list and agenda. To secure your ticket please book online here .
GTR US 2019, 13 June 2019. Chicago.
The GTR US conference is set to return to Chicago for its third consecutive year on June 13, 2019.
With the US midterm elections taking place in November 2018 amidst ongoing global geopolitical volatility and technological disruption across the trade sector, the strategic challenges surrounding trade financing, working capital optimization, and credit risk management remain a firm fixture on the boardroom agenda. A rapidly evolving market offering competing digital solutions across physical trade flows and the associated financing sectors only adds to the complexity faced by those tasked with financing US commerce.
Featuring a host of expert speakers, GTR US 2019 provides the latest business intelligence required to navigate trade-related risks, and the practical know-how enabling corporate treasurers, financiers and trade credit managers to form a resilient, bottom line-boosting business strategy.
An in-depth, interactive agenda spanning business-critical insights from geopolitical risks to the latest financing trends, liquidity sources and tech innovations in the trade space will furnish attendees with a comprehensive view of the key commercial trends emerging in 2019. 2018’s meeting saw record attendance from across the trade sector, welcoming companies including Microsoft, Mars Inc, Caterpillar, Motorola, Bunge, Siemens, Olam, Samsung, BP, Louis Dreyfus Commodities and IBM, as well as leading trade and supply chain financing practitioners, credit risk mitigation experts, government bodies and those tech companies leading the disruption of trade.
With a keen focus on networking, GTR US 2019 will once again provide the ideal forum for US companies and financial service providers to meet and discuss the next steps for US trade, and the evolution of the trade finance space.
Last year, 26% of attendees were corporates & traders and 24% were bankers & financiers representing over 100 different companies. 91% of all attendees held a senior to a c-level position.
Companies that attended last year included ArcelorMittal, BP, Caterpillar, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Mars Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Plexus Corp, and more. View the full list of companies that attended last year’s event here.
10% early booking discount available when booking online by May 17 with code: EBD10. Click here for more information.
GTR Asia 2019, 3-6 September 2019, Singapore.
GTR Asia 2019 (formerly known as Asia Trade & Treasury Week) will return to Singapore September 3-6, 2019. Recognised as the world’s largest international gathering for the trade, commodity, fintech and treasury community, GTR’s annual event in Singapore last year welcomed a record-breaking total of over 1,100 industry participants from local and international banks to multinational corporations and SMEs, independent financiers, commodity brokers and traders, insurers and risk managers, lawyers, consultants, ECAs and multilaterals and more!
2019’s event is set to be even bigger and better! Participants will have the chance to hear over 100 of the world’s leading trade, treasury and fintech experts reflecting on developments in the Asian market and more globally, whilst also having the chance to network and discuss trade priorities with over 500 different companies.
Delegates will also benefit from the use of multiple streams with coverage at the event focused on a range of topics and markets, whilst a variety of formats (breakouts, workshops, debates, formal launches, speed-networking) will provide excellent opportunities for engagement and knowledge sharing.
With the event once again enjoying unrivalled support from local government organisations and public bodies including the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Enterprise Singapore, as well as the world’s leading financial institutions, attendees will receive critical market insight, build business relationships and gain the inside track on the latest financing trends and techniques.
Use code: EBD10 for 10% early booking discount – expires August 2. Click here for more information.
GTR Europe 2019, 14 October 2019, Paris.
GTR Europe 2019 returns to Paris to welcome regional trade experts from across the continent. A key market gathering for European trade and export finance business heads and key relationship builders, the event will further expand on GTR’s unrivalled reach across the regional and global trade finance market.
Expected to welcome over 250 delegates from 15 countries, the conference will deliver a well-rounded outlook on Europe’s economic growth, trade concerns and priorities for the future, allowing representatives to share their insights on the most current topics.
This one-day event features sessions addressed by and for corporates and is one not to be missed by those looking to build trade relations across a range of exciting markets! 
Last year, the two largest sectors in attendance were corporates & traders (39%) and bankers & financiers (22%). Over 250 different companies from around the world were in attendance, 78% of all attendees held a senior to a c-level position. Use code: EBD10 for 10% early booking discount – expires September 20. Click here for more information.
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: Nexus
Our 50+ team of Trade Credit underwriters offer expertise in domestic and international Whole Turnover credit insurance. We continue to expand both our presence overseas and our product offering with offices currently in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, France, and US. Our specialisms include Single Risk, Non-Cancellable limits, Trigger Policies and Top-Up cover on both single risk and portfolio basis.
In addition to the above, we provide products that enhance companies’ credit management including First Collect, our highly regarded debt collection service, and First Limit, which is now being rolled out across our global operations, offering real-time credit opinions and 24/7 monitoring. 
We are proud to be backed by several leading Lloyd’s syndicates, thereby offering policies with a very strong “A” (AM Best) rating. We are the only Whole Turnover Trade Credit team operating in the Lloyd’s market.

About the Nexus Group
Founded in 2008, the Nexus Group is a specialty MGA on a dynamic growth path, focusing on niche classes of business and the delivery of underwriting excellence. Unlike nearly all other multi-product MGAs, Nexus is truly independent and can justifiably describe itself as a ‘virtual insurance company’. 
Nexus Group employs 219 staff with offices in UK, Ireland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, USA, Italy, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The Group underwrites 15 specialty business classes on behalf of over 30 underwriting partners.
For further details on Nexus and our Trade Credit offering, please visit: www.nexusunderwriting.com/trade-credit.
Copyright ©2019 Credit Insurance News. All rights reserved.
All news stories on Credit Insurance News' website are included with the prior permission of the copyright holder. Reproduction or redistribution in whole or in part, in any manner, without the express prior written consent of the copyright holder, is a violation of copyright law. If you, or your organisation wish to redistribute, republish or link-to all or any part of any Credit Insurance News Digest, you must first contact the copyright holder direct or email sally.brown@creditinsurancenews.co.uk for further information.

Terms and Conditions                         Privacy and Cookie Policy                    © 2018 Credit Insurance News