Welcome to issue 57 of Credit Insurance News Digest, 30 June 2015. This issue is kindly sponsored by Equinox Global.

Credit Insurance News and Reports
Improved global economic conditions lead to increased demand for trade credit insurance. At a recent meeting of the International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA) in Toronto, newly re-elected President Andreas Tesch commented that comparing the current situation in the trade credit insurance industry with the pre-crisis (2007) period, "members results continue to improve", with a 34.6% higher premium income [currently €6.07 billion] and 29.1% higher insured exposure [currently €2.21 trillion]. Mr Tesch also advised that an increasing number of companies, including a growing number of SMEs, now recognise the benefits of trade credit protection as more than just insurance. Click here to view the ICISA's news release.

AU Group provides a detailed overview and comparison of the main players in the credit insurance market. AU Group has published a new report, 'Credit Insurance Market 2015', which provides a detailed overview of the current credit insurance market including: the market share of the main players, details of their financial results (revenue, net profit, loss ratio and combined ratio, net equity) and geographical disparities and an analysis of their financial ratings. Au Group advises that the size of the global credit insurance market is €5.9 billion (source: ICISA 2013), with the global market shares of the leaders estimated at 35.7% for Euler Hermes, 24.5% for Atradius, 19% for Coface and 20.7% for Others. The report is free and is available to download on request at http://www.au-group.com/study-2015-credit-insurance-market.

Coface revamps its credit insurance offer for mid-market companies. Coface has modernised its flagship policy, renamed TradeLiner, and has announced plans to offer the service in 98 countries. Coface advises that key aspects of the product include a simplified credit insurance cover with complete transparency on services provided, premiums billed on the basis of actual turnover and the minimum annual premium automatically adjusted on an annual basis. In addition, if a company encounters cash flow problems as a result of unpaid debts, the indemnification time limit can be shortened from five, to four, three or even two months. TradeLiner can also be customised to cover various types of risks: political, natural disaster, pre-shipment, disputed debt, advances paid to suppliers or on consignment sales. To read Coface's news release go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Launch-of-TradeLiner-Coface-revamps-its-credit-insurance-offer-for-mid-market-companies.

One of the biggest claims that the trade credit insurance industry has ever experienced provides an interesting insight into the value of having effective credit insurance. Steen Parsholt, Chairman, and Mike Holley, CEO, of Equinox Global have contributed an article to Ship & Bunker , 'How the Collapse of OW Bunker Impacted the Insurance Industry', in which they advise that OW Bunker's sudden bankruptcy on 7 November 2014 led to one of the biggest claims that the trade credit insurance industry has experienced. However, Mr Holley and Mr Parsholt stress that for those that traded with OW Bunker there was little, if anything, they could have done to avoid the loss itself. "Nothing is risk free. . . these unexpected and unpredictable events do happen." Instead, they advise that the case highlights the potential value credit insurance and the importance of not simply relying for security on a company's size or an existing trading relationship. To read the article on Ship & Bunker's website go to http://shipandbunker.com/news/features/industry-insight/999088-industry-insight-how-the-collapse-of-ow-bunker-impacted-the39-insurance-industry.

ABI calls the latest in a row of construction company failures a "stark reminder about the vital role trade credit insurers play in protecting businesses." The ABI has repeated its message (see Credit Insurance News Digest - 9 June) about the vital nature of trade credit insurance highlighted by recent construction failures - on this occasion following the administration of Longcross Construction. Mark Shepherd, Manager of General Insurance, ABI, commented: “Trade credit insurers provided more than £16 million of cover for goods and services supplied on credit to Longcross Construction Ltd. This means their suppliers will have the protection of credit insurers to replenish the loss incurred. Without this insurance in place, many more companies would be at risk of large financial losses, and potentially further job losses." To read the ABI's news release go to https://www.abi.org.uk/News/News-updates/2015/06/ABI-comments-on-latest-in-a-row-of-construction-company-failures.

Call for credit insurers to put aside their competitive differences to promote and educate customers on the credit protection concept. Insurance Business has published an article, 'Promote the concept, not your company', in which the New Zealand boss of Atradius urges those working in the credit insurance sector to put their competitive differences aside and come together to promote and educate customers on the credit protection concept. Martin Jones told Insurance Business one of the biggest challenges they face is getting more people informed about the benefits of credit insurance, which businesses owners tended to view as a discretionary cost. “Brokers, insurance agents and insurers themselves could do more to promote and educate customers on the credit protection concept itself rather than on their own organisations,” Jones said. He cited examples overseas such as in Singapore where senior managers from all the main trade credit insurers got together with bankers and brokers to present seminars. To read Insurance Business' article go to http://www.insurancebusinessonline.co.nz/news/promote-the-concept-not-your-company-201705.aspx.

Political risk insurance prices fall to an 'all-time low'. Marsh's latest Political Risk Market Update reports that despite growing concerns about global political and credit risks and a recent increase in loss notifications, insurers generally view political risk as an attractive line of business. Furthermore, with pricing at an all-time low, multinational companies are increasingly purchasing political risk insurance to protect shareholder value, support growth in foreign markets, and help secure financing from lenders. Evan Freely, Marsh’s global credit & political risk practice leader, commented: “Although insureds can pick and choose specific countries to insure, political risk can often emerge in unexpected places . . . For this reason, most companies are now purchasing multi-country political risk insurance policies instead of single-country policies.” To read Marsh's Update go to http://uk.marsh.com/Portals/18/Documents/Political%20Risk%20Market%20Update-06-2015.pdf.

European economy now moving, but not without a push, says Coface. Global Trader has published an article, 'European economy now moving, but not without a push', which reports that at Coface's recent Country Risk Conference in London, Julien Marcilly, Coface's chief economist, warned that despite some positive signals, the conditions for strong long-term European growth were missing. Predicting a long period of low growth, Mr Marcilly commented: "The good news is that the car is now moving. The bad news is that this is only because it is being pushed from the back by oil prices and the low value of the Euro.” In addition, Andrew Goodwin, lead UK economist at Oxford Economics gave a generally upbeat assessment about the prospects for the UK economy but warned that pronounced regional imbalances would widen over the next three years as London, the south east and north west move further ahead of the rest of the UK. To read Global Trader's article go http://www.gtglobaltrader.com/news/european-economy-now-moving-not-without-push-says-coface.

Smart retail and wholesale firms are enhancing their credit and gaining more support from banks by implementing reverse credit schemes. Executive Client Director at Aon Trade Credit, Special Products, Barrie Watson has published an article which explains that this is a relatively new method in which buyers, typically in retail distribution, are approaching the insurance market to secure capacity against themselves which they can then offer to suppliers as an incentive. "Historically it would have been the supplier’s decision to buy credit insurance against their customer as a protection against bad debt. But in today’s fast moving environment insurers have come round to the idea of retailers themselves offering suppliers the opportunity to ‘credit enhance’ them." The net result is that suppliers are happier to extend credit terms to their customers and retail markets, where market dynamics are particularly challenging, can receive some welcome protection. To read the article go to http://www.thehub-aon.co.uk/media-centre/insights/insurers-relax-on-reverse-credit-for-retail-supply-chain.

Atradius advises that a ‘new normal’ of structurally lower economic growth rates has emerged in 2015. According to Atradius' latest biannual economic outlook report, global economic conditions have weakened despite the acceleration of growth in the Eurozone and the positive impact of low oil prices on many countries. Although growth is forecast to rise slightly next year, it will remain modest from an historical perspective, and the report suggests that this indicates a ‘new normal’ of lower potential growth in both advanced and emerging markets. Marc Jones of Atradius said: "The outlook for the business climate across the globe is mixed at best. For 2015 we’re forecasting insolvencies to fall 7% in the Eurozone, most strongly in Spain and the Netherlands. Conditions in the US and UK are expected to improve as well. In contrast, many of the most important emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia and China are projected to face increasing insolvencies, albeit from a relatively low level. Overall the business climate is likely to remain difficult with global growth expected to remain modest this year and into 2016.” To read Atradius' report go to http://www.atradius.co.uk/images/stories/Atradius_Economic_Research-Economic_Outlook_May_2015(1).pdf.

UKEF reports clear progress throughout 2014-2015. UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency and a government department, has advised in its annual report for 2014-2015 that it continues to provide strong support for UK exports of up to £2.7 billion (2013/14: £2.3 billion) with direct support to 160 UK companies (2013/14: 130). The report also tracks the progress UKEF has made supporting SMEs in the supply chain and estimates that for every company UKEF directly supports an additional 27 companies in the supply chain also benefit, with, in total, more than 6,000 companies having indirectly benefited from support in 2014-15. To see UKEF's news release with a link to the full report go to https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-export-finance-reports-achievement-of-enhanced-capabilities-in-2014-15.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Coface places oil dependent countries on negative watch. In its latest Global Country Risk Outlook, Coface has advised that many countries are facing the full brunt of the decline in oil prices and has advised that it has placed notable hydrocarbon-exporting countries such as Canada, Algeria and Gabon's assessments under negative watch. In addition, China’s assessment has been downgraded to A4 and Coface has lowered its growth forecast for emerging countries to 4% for 2015, compared to 4.2% in March 2015. In contrast, developed economies (2% growth forecast for 2015 and 2016) are benefiting from the slight recovery taking shape in the eurozone. To read Coface's news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Quarterly-updated-country-risk-assessments.

Euler Hermes Survey examines French SMEs and mid-tier companies. Euler Hermes has surveyed the investment plans, cash positions and order books of more than 800 SMEs and mid-tier companies in France and has found that, despite a slight year-on-year increase in insolvencies at the end of April (0.5%), some sectors such as the retail sector posted an improvement - with insolvencies down by 5.4%. Although Euler Hermes estimates that the number of business insolvencies will continue to decline in 2015 (-1%) and 2016 (-3%), it stresses that this trend cannot mask the current record levels of economic turbulence in France with insolvencies above the symbolic threshold of 60,000. To read Euler Hermes' release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-Euler-Hermes-Survey-2015-Corporate-investment-cash-reserves-France.aspx.

Atradius predicts that Japanese corporate insolvencies will decrease by 10% in 2015. Atradius' latest country report on Japan predicts that annual corporate insolvencies in Japan, which have decreased since 2009, will decrease by 10% in 2015, while the economy - which saw 0% growth in 2014 - is expected to grow by 0.9% in 2015 and 1.4% in 2016. However, smaller players in some sectors like retail and construction are more vulnerable due to shrinking margins. Additionally, businesses that rely on imported products also face increased expenses due to the depreciation of the Japanese Yen, which could hurt their financial resilience. Overall, Japanese industries' performance outlook is generally brightest in the agriculture, ICT/electronics, Financial Services, Food and machines/Engineering sectors (classified 'Good'). The textiles sector has the worst outlook (classified 'Poor'). To view Atradius' report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/CountryReports/Japan_June_2015.pdf.

Credendo Group's latest report advises that Romania is currently facing a period of robust growth. In addition, a price-competitiveness advantage continues to foster exports to an increasingly diverse range of countries. Credendo's short-term political risk assessment is in the lowest risk category (1 out of 7) largely due to Romania’s membership of the EU. Regarding the medium-to long-term assessment of the political risk (3 out of 7), Credendo advises that the country’s solvency remains negatively impacted by its rather high level of external debt. To view Credendo' full risk assessment report (which includes dedicated sections on Romania's risk drivers and outlook as well as well as facts and figures/pros and cons) go to http://cdn.flxml.eu/i-e3734f9368f624efe58b21fab698e3da00671420bcee7fb8ea931b30c9fffc3a.

Coface considers if India's economic revival is due to the Modi government. Coface comments that in May 2015, the IMF highlighted India as “one of the bright spots in the global economy”, mainly due to more effective policies and the end of political uncertainty, with GDP growth, according to Coface's predictions, likely to reach 7.5%. "But", Coface asks, "to what extent have Modi’s reforms contributed to the recent pickup in growth? Are the improvements in the economy without risks? To read Coface's news release with a link to a detailed economic report on India go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Is-India-s-economic-revival-thanks-to-the-Modi-government.

Clouds on the horizon for the German transportation industry. A new Study by Euler Hermes has found that current low oil prices have helped provide the German transportation industry with a brief respite and slightly lifted profit margins to an average of 2%. However, with crude oil prices again on the rise, Euler Hermes predicts that profit margins in 2016 will now fall back to 1.8% and there will be a slight increase in the number of insolvencies to 1,740 in 2016 (compared with 1,690 this year). Relative to its 5% contribution to GDP, the German transportation industry accounts for a disproportionately high number of insolvencies -7.2% of all insolvencies predicted in Germany in 2015 and 7.5% in 2016. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-german-transport-080615.aspx.

Atradius considers if there is change on the horizon for the chemicals industry. Atradius' latest Market Monitor on the chemicals industry advises that, at first sight, the chemicals sector seems to be a satisfyingly or even well-performing sector with continued growth in most subsectors, generally robust business financials, good payment performance and low insolvency rates compared to other industries. However, Atradius cautions that there are signs of a change on the horizon, especially for European chemicals businesses, and some segments are beginning to struggle with increasing international competition from China and knock-on impact of the shale gas boom in the US. As a result, Atradius forecasts that the industry is entering a phase of slower but still solid growth, with certain subsectors (such as synthetic rubber and polyurethane) likely to grow more strongly than others. To read Atradius' full report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/Market%20monitor/MM_June_2015_ENG.pdf.

Euler Hermes' CEO job swap program. Euler Hermes has announced that the latest extension of its leadership development program was a CEO 'job swap' program in which six CEOs from the company’s northern Europe region exchanged day-to-day responsibilities for one week.  After the exchange, the CEOs - from Belgium, The Netherlands, The Nordics, Poland, Russia and the UK –  shared their impressions and identified how to implement best practice transfers at home and in their host businesses. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-eulerhermes-CEO-job-swap-160615.aspx.

Coface describes how three East African economies are sheltered from the economic storm. Coface's latest Panorama describes how three East African economies, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda, have all the ingredients needed for dynamic growth in the short and the long term. Not only have they all been relatively spared by the decline in world commodity prices, their economies are diversifying. (manufacturing in Ethiopia and Uganda, services in Kenya). Recent figures confirm their potential with growth in GDP reaching nearly 7% on average in 2014 - comparable to that of China. To read Coface's news release with a link to the full Panorama go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Sub-Saharan-Africa-three-East-African-economies-are-sheltered-from-the-economic-storm.

Arkéa Banque Entreprises et Institutionnels and Euler Hermes announce a distribution agreement. Arkéa Banque E&I’s customers will gain protection against unpaid invoices through a credit insurance policy adapted to their specific customer risk coverage needs. "Through this new partnership, we provide our customers with easy access to a complementary service that helps them to secure their cash flow while at the same time supporting their export growth,” commented Gérard Bayol, chairman of the Management Board of Arkéa Banque Entreprises et Institutionnels. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-partnership-eh-arkea-240615.aspx.

Nexus CIFS Construction Seminar with Hawkswell Kilvington launches a new range of construction contract services and specialist services.  These include a health check of terms and conditions and a fixed fee adjudication service at concessionary rates. During the seminar, Nexus CIFS' Managing Director, Richard Marriage, also explained how CIFS could be of assistance if companies are experiencing issues with a contractor. “Speak to your underwriter - the more noise the better. It may be the case that other clients are having problems with the same contractor”. 31% of Nexus CIFS’ total claims paid between 2010 and 2015 were within the construction sector. To read Nexus CIFS' news release go to http://www.creditindemnity.com/news-and-comment/detail/nexus-cifs-construction-seminar-14th-may.

Atradius Collections publishes the 9th edition of its International Debt Collections Handbook. This new edition now covers 40 countries and explains the different stages of amicable settlement, financial regulations around collections, legal proceedings and insolvency procedures in every country. To download a free copy go to http://www.atradiuscollections.com/uk/updates-publications/international-debt-collections-handbook.html.

New Industry Publication
‘A Guide to Trade Credit Insurance’ is a new hardback reference book, written by ICISA from an international perspective, which provides a comprehensive overview of trade credit insurance, including the history of trade credit insurance, trade credit insurance providers, the underwriting process, premium calculation, claims handling, case studies and a glossary of terminology. The book [ISBN: 978-1783084821], priced at £50 / US$80, is published by Anthem Press - click here for more information and to order your copy.
Discounts are available on bulk book orders. Please contact orders@anthempress.com for further information.

Events and Offers
Asia Structured Trade & Commodity Finance, 30 June - 01 July 2015. Singapore.
CMT's Asia Structured Trade & Commodity Finance to be held on 30 Jun-01 Jul, 2015 in Singapore with its theme "Innovative Structures & Collateral Solutions for Importers, Exporters & Financiers€ ' will look in detail at challenges in China, developments in the metals, energy and softs/ag sector across the entire Asia region, bringing you the latest thinking and relevant case studies to show current techniques in a fast-changing marketplace. The key highlights will include the following: - Risk, collateral and structuring: what are the latest developments in SCTF in both the Asian and global context? - Trader Panel: international traders discuss financing needs and perspectives for 2015/2016 and beyond. - Africa panel: how is Asia shaping up in the competition for Africa's development challenges? Assessing the needs for continuing transformation in Africa. - Structuring supply chain solutions for working capital efficiency: where do traditional supply chain approaches meet innovation by banks to offer solutions across the value chain. - Risk management: how is the private insurance market shaping up to the Asian challenge? Where does that leave the ECAs? For more information go to http://www.cmtevents.com/eventschedule.aspx?ev=150629&.

GTR Asia Trade Finance Week 2015, 7-10 September 2015. Singapore.
GTR Asia Trade Finance Week 2015 will return to Singapore in September to further establish its standing as the largest trade finance gathering anywhere in the world. Enjoying full support and endorsement from IE Singapore, among many more of the market’s leading institutions, the event will bring together regional and global corporates, financiers, regulators and more to discuss trade priorities across the region. With 783 delegates in attendance in 2014, representing 31 countries, this should be a firm date in the diary for anyone looking to conduct trade in Asia. For more information go to http://www.gtreview.com/events/asia/gtr-asia-trade-finance-week-2015/.

Global Commodity Trade Finance Conference 2015, 29 September 2015. Lugano, Switzerland.
GTR‘s Global Commodity Trade Finance Conference 2015 will return to Lugano in September to provide timely insight on the condition of the global trading market and the challenges faced, both in local markets and further afield. Reflecting Switzerland’s role as one of the world’s leading commodity trade hubs, the event will see high level business leaders come together to explore the possibilities of strengthening links and encouraging growth within the global commodity market. For more information go to http://www.gtreview.com/events/europe/global-commodity-trade-finance-conference-2015/.

Mauritius Trade Finance Conference 2015, 1 October 2015. Port Louis, Mauritius.
Benefiting from its strategic location between Africa and Asia, Mauritius is rapidly developing into the primary trade, distribution, re-export and logistics hub servicing intra-regional commerce between the two high-growth geographies, while providing a launching point for local and international companies looking to move into the African trade space. GTR’s Mauritius Trade Finance Conference will survey the opportunities offered to companies and traders by this unique market, assess efforts to further establish the island as an international financing hub, and highlight the key role of the trade finance sector in enabling further growth. For more information go to http://www.gtreview.com/events/africa/mauritius-trade-finance-conference-2015/.

Mexico Trade & Export Finance Conference 2015, 6 October 2015. Mexico City, Mexico.
Building on the success of a growing portfolio of conferences in the Americas, this event will bring Mexico’s leading trade bodies and companies of all sizes (multinationals, mid-cap and SMEs), as well as top financial institutions, together to explore trade and export finance opportunities available in the region in today’s economic climate. As always, huge emphasis will be placed on the importance of networking, with numerous opportunities provided throughout the event to engage with key decision makers and establish new business contacts. Delegates will also be given the opportunity to organise private meetings with fellow attendees via the GTR Members Area, our exclusive networking site. For more information go to http://www.gtreview.com/events/americas/mexico-trade-export-finance-conference-2015/.

Global Trade Development Week. 27-29th October 2015, Ritz Carlton DIFC, Dubai, UAE.
Organised in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy, GTDW 2015 will be an unprecedented gathering of 1000 trade leaders from government and the private sector coming to Dubai from over 100 countries. The event will be addressed by 150 speakers whom are some the most influential leaders driving world trade today. GTDW is the world largest trade facilitation event and features a series of specialized trade summits that link key sectors across international trade; including business, banking, customs, corporate real estate, infrastructure, specialized economic zones, supply chain logistics and transport. ˜Innovation in Global Trade and Economic Development'™ is the theme for GTDW 2015, and innovation will underpin discussion in all of GTDW™s six trade summits. For further information and to register as a delegate visit: www.kwglobaltrade.com.

The future for general insurance in the UK: regulation, competition and innovation. 2 December 2015. London.
Attendees at this conference will consider the future of the general insurance sector in the UK, and key challenges ahead for supporting competition and innovation across the sector. The seminar will present a timely opportunity to examine the industry's regulatory framework, in light of preparation for an operational Solvency II framework in January 2016. It is also timed to consider the impact of a wide-range of policy and regulatory developments impacting on the sector - including implementation of the recent Insurance Act, the Financial Conduct Authority's forthcoming consultation on competition remedies for insurance add-ons and the Competition and Markets Authority's Private Motor Insurance Market Investigation. Sessions will bring out latest thinking on contract law, tackling fraudulent claims as well as consumer protection, developing skills and attracting talent to the sector.
Chris Moulder, Director, General Insurance, Prudential Regulation Authority and Mary Starks, Director of Competition, Financial Conduct Authority have kindly agreed to deliver keynote addresses at this seminar. David Hertzell, Chair, Insurance Fraud Taskforce; Paula Jarzabkowski, Professor of Strategic Management, Cass Business School, City University London; Geraldine Quirk, Partner, Clyde & Co; Dr Alexander Scott, Chief Executive Officer, Chartered Insurance Institute; Max Taylor, Chairman, Islamic Insurance Association of London; Geoff White, Underwriting Manager, Cyber, Technology and Media, Barbican Insurance Group and a speaker confirmed from the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland have also agreed to speak. Lord Davidson of Glen Clova QC, Shadow Treasury Spokesperson has very kindly agreed to chair part of this seminar. Click here for more information.

Business Information: Latest Reports and Business Shorts
UK business distress at record low. According to the latest Business Distress Index from R3, levels of business distress in the UK are at a record low, with only a quarter (24%) of businesses reporting a key indicator of distress. Every indicator of distress tracked by R3 is at its lowest since the research began: 10% of businesses are experiencing decreased profits, 11% are experiencing falling sales volumes, 6% are seeing market share fall, 8% are regularly using their maximum overdraft, and 6% are making redundancies. In addition, smaller businesses are recording the greatest drop in signs of distress, with only 20% of sole traders reporting one or more signs of distress - compared to 50% in November 2014. Phillip Sykes, President of R3, commented: “Although the largest businesses continue to experience the fewest signs of distress, it is encouraging to see difficulties for smaller businesses easing. It’s been a particularly difficult few years for many sole traders and they’re only now beginning to see recovery.” To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/index.cfm?page=1114&element=21619&refpage=1008.

CBI expects any slowing in UK GDP growth to be short-lived. The CBI has advised that although the UK economy seemed to start 2015 on the back foot, with the GDP rising by a modest 0.3% on the quarter — the slowest pace in over 2 years, this is at odds with their own findings. "For example, many construction companies are reporting a positive start to this year, at cross purposes with the official data which suggest the sector has fallen back into recession. And the service sector seems resilient: growth in business volumes in the business and professional services sector ramped up significantly to its fastest in over nine years in our May Service Sector Survey, while growth in consumer services has remained firm." As a result, the CBI expects any slowing in momentum to be short-lived and growth to rally in the second quarter of 2015, with average rates of 0.6% a quarter thereafter. To read the CBI's news release go to http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/economic-forecast-june-2015/.

More UK businesses are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to tackling late payment. According to new analysis by Lovetts, confidence to take a stand against poor paying customers seems to be growing as Lovetts has seen a gradual but encouraging rise in the number of businesses using the late payment legislation to claim compensation and interest from their customers for overdue invoices. In 2005, just 1% of Lovetts clients were claiming compensation, now the proportion has risen to 24%. Charles Wilson, CEO of Lovetts said: "These aren’t empty threats – we are now being instructed to pursue compensation and interest on almost 1 in 4 claims to recover debt. What businesses need to understand is that the entitlement to claim interest and compensation remains for six years on each and every invoice paid late, unless clear assent is proven against the claimant. That means you can recover compensation of between £40-£100 per invoice plus reasonable costs on any debts which are now paid, but were paid late over the previous six years." To read Lovetts' news release go to https://www.lovetts.co.uk/news/More-businesses-act-on-Late-Payment-Act.aspx.

Scotland’s economy will continue to grow in 2015 but has fallen out of step with the UK growth rate. According to EY’s latest Scottish ITEM Club report, while the Scottish economy matched UK growth in 2014, the expectation for this year is for an undershoot of UK growth of around 0.5%. However, Scotland’s predicted 2.2% growth for 2015 still represents a small half year upgrade to the original forecast of 2% highlighted at the end of 2014. “We previously predicted that while Scotland’s economy enjoyed its best year since the financial crisis in 2014 with 2.6% growth, the pace of expansion would ease. The resulting short-term stalling of the Scottish economy, compared to the rest of the UK, stems from a combination of factors”, says Dougie Adams, senior economic advisor to the EY Scottish Club. “The downside of the oil price fall is much more marked for Scotland than for the rest of the UK; the Scottish consumer appears to be pausing for breath; and the high employment rate could point to emerging capacity constraints.” To view the news release on EY's website go to http://www.ey.com/UK/en/Newsroom/News-releases/15-06-08---Scotlands-economy-off-to-a-slow-start-in-2015-but-solid-prospects-for-the-rest-of-the-year.

Billions in working capital is not being maximised across UK businesses. New research from Grant Thornton UK suggests that there is over £125 billion of excess cash tied up in working capital for UK headquartered companies that could be released through better focus on cash flow management. The firm's latest Capital Thinking report looks at the working capital performance of over 4,000 UK companies and finds that the companies included in the research (with annual turnover of over £75 million), held an average of £21.5 million excess working capital, which could be released to support growth without affecting operations. The research also highlights that delivering £1 million of turnover growth for a large company requires an additional £38,000 of cash investment in working capital. Whereas, for small companies this funding requirement nearly doubles to £73,000. To view Grant Thornton's news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.grant-thornton.co.uk/en/Media-Centre/News/2015/Cash-remains-king-as-companies-invest-in-growth-yet-billions-in-working-capital-not-being-maximised-across-UK-businesses/.

UK small businesses are in a robust mood, says FSB. The latest FSB Small Business Index (SBI) reveals that small business confidence has picked up markedly in the second quarter. Nearly two thirds (65.3%) of small businesses aspire to grow moderately or rapidly in the next three months - the highest figure ever seen in the SBI. The SBI also found that there has been a reported rise in small firms who are exporting, with 28.6% exporting this quarter, up from a consistent 25%. Rob Harbron, Managing Economist of Cebr commented: "These results give much cause for confidence and show that the UK's small business population will be instrumental in supporting economic growth in 2015." To read the FSB's news release go to http://www.fsb.org.uk/News.aspx?loc=pressroom&rec=9015.

Strong UK retail sales in May point to best year for the sector since 2007 - EY ITEM Club comments. Martin Beck, senior economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, commented: “After a strong rise in retail sales volumes in April, sales volumes rose again in May leaving the annual growth rate at 4.6%, the 26th consecutive year-on-year rise. Food volumes saw their strongest performance since last December and fuel purchases rose by 0.3%, with demand supported by a 10% annual fall in petrol prices. He concluded that overall the retail sector’s prospects remain at their brightest since 2007. To view EY's news release go to http://www.ey.com/UK/en/Newsroom/News-releases/15-06-18---Strong-retail-sales-in-May-point-to-best-year-for-the-sector-since-2007-EY-ITEM-Club-comments.

Career Opportunities:
New Business/Renewals Underwriter– The Midlands - Competitive Package including bonus - Ref 203.
Nexus CIFS, Credit Insurer of the Year is seeking an experienced New Business Underwriter to join our dynamic and high achieving team to cover the Midlands. With a target market of business with insurable sales of £15-£50 million turnover, the successful candidate will have a proven track record in “on target” / “over –target” new business success and also possess exceptional relationships with the broking market. The role will also extend to the management of a renewals portfolio over a broad range of sectors covering the Midlands area specifically. You can be based in the Midlands for this role, but candidates will also be considered that live a commutable distance to the Midlands.
Nova Search & Selection is acting as an Employment Agency in respect of these vacancies. All applications, without exception, should be forwarded to Kristina@novasearch.co.uk or M: 07931-371990. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Trade Credit Risk and Commercial Underwriting Opportunities at QBE. London and Manchester/Leeds.
Following continued success in attracting new business and to ensure continued excellence in management of the existing portfolio, we have opportunities in both commercial and risk underwriting roles.
QBE is looking to enhance its talented team with positions at all levels in both risk and commercial, based in London and Manchester/Leeds as it continues is continued growth plans in the UK.
A competitive reward structure together with excellent benefits and opportunities to growth your career with an established underwriter. A culture of high achievement, authority levels that allow you to make a difference, a client focused approach with an expectation of meeting both clients, brokers and risks. If you enjoy being part of a team, are confident in using your authority and want to be in the front-line with clients, please submit your CV to recruitment.uk@uk.qbe.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Risk Underwriters, City of London, £40,000-£60,000.
We are working on behalf of a number of credit insurers in the City who are seeking experienced Risk Underwriters / Credit Analysts, either from a credit insurance background or a financial services credit analysis background. You should have experience in carrying out detailed analysis of UK obligors either focusing within a couple of industry sectors or across a broad range. Experience of international obligors would be an advantage but wouldn’t be essential. As part of your role you’ll be expected to work closely with the commercial underwriters and advise them on potential risk issues whilst also helping them renew and close new business by offering the best possible credit limits to clients. Regular client, broker, buyer meetings will be expected to ensure you are communicating risk decisions effectively. For a confidential discussion please contact Kerren Leach on 0207 092 3283 /kerren.leach@eamesconsulting.com (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Senior Risk Underwriter, Atradius. Special Products Analyst team). Singapore.
The Senior Underwriter is responsible for approving /acceptance of new requests for credit insurance cover from both new and existing customers. Includes financial and political risk analysis, applying underwriting principles and procedures to support a new risk or modify an existing strategy. The Senior Underwriter will be responsible for a geographical area as well as being responsible for a trade sector.
The successful candidate will need to attend customer and broker meetings and present themselves in a knowledgeable and professional manner. Applicants must have: previous risk underwriting experience, an ability to provide comprehensive financial analysis (essential), knowledge of relevant analytical techniques, knowledge of political risk underwriting, an interest in worldwide current affairs.The ability to focus on service to customers is a key requirement and the successful candidate will be able to clearly demonstrate a positive attitude and proactive approach. Strong communication skills are essential to the role, including the ability to discuss complex risk issues confidently. The successful candidate will be able to assimilate information and process requests quickly and arrive at decisions promptly without detriment to quality. An ability to work within a team environment is essential, candidates should also be confident to work independently.
Candidates should be aware that the position would involve travel overseas. A flexible approach to work, including long working hours is essential. To apply, please email anthony.rasera@atradius.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Political Risk Underwriters, London, £50,000 - £95,000.
Major Political Risk & Structured Credit market in the City of London is looking to grow its team with the appointment of two underwriters. The organisation benefit from a very strong rating, significant track record and strong brand recognition. The key products underwritten will include Credit (Trade related), Contract Frustration, Confiscation, CCP, and all related products. They function as a lead market and expect high quality, diligent underwriting from their team to ensure a profitable account is written. You’ll be responsible for managing broker relationships, attending events, networking occasions, conferences and client / market presentations when relevant. Its key that you’ve got a solid understanding of the Political Risk & Structured Credit market, ideally from an underwriting perspective, however high calibre brokers will also be considered. Please contact Kerren Leach on kerren.leach@eamesconsulting.com or 0207 092 3283 to discuss. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

New Appointments
Nexus CIFS has announced the appointment of Gavin Brown on 22 June as Commercial Underwriter and Philip Oldfield on 29 June also as Commercial Underwriter. Richard Marriage, Managing Director, Nexus CIFS Limited commented: “I am very pleased that we have been able to attract two people with such a strong background in credit insurance, both of whom I believe have the experience and skill set to quickly establish themselves as valued and successful additions to the team."

Coface has announced the appointment of Daniel Tidman & Steve Redway to the UK new business team.  Daniel will be based in the Coface London office where his role will be New Business Manager working closely with a portfolio of brokers. Steve will also be working in the Coface London office and has taken on a portfolio of existing accounts. 

Euler Hermes has announced the appointment of David Dienesch as chief executive officer for the company's Canada operations. He succeeds Mike O'Brien, who has been appointed World Agency regional director for Euler Hermes Americas. Based in Toronto and reporting to James Daly, head of region for the Americas, Mr Dienesch's appointment is effective 1 July 2015.

XL Catlin has announced the promotion of Joe Blenkinsopp to the position of Chief Underwriting Officer for its Political Risk and Trade Credit (PRTC) team. Mr. Blenkinsopp will be responsible for managing a team of political risk and trade credit underwriters globally. He is based in London and reports to Neil Robertson, XL Catlin’s Chief Executive of Global Specialty.

About this issue's sponsor: Equinox Global
Equinox Global is a specialist trade credit insurer that offers its clients improved certainty of cover, increased transparency, the maximum extent of cover possible and a personalised service. It also offers top class security via the Lloyd’s credit rating.
Equinox is owned by management and by Beazley Group and has access to the key markets throughout its offices in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the US. It has attracted some of the most experienced and talented people in the industry due to its flexible, entrepreneurial and innovative approach and combined, this ensures Equinox offers the ‘best in class’ credit limit service in the industry.
For most companies, trade receivables are one of the biggest assets they own. Destruction of this asset, via insolvency of a customer or a political crisis in the customer’s country, is just as much a threat as a warehouse burning down. An Equinox trade credit insurance policy offers protection against the loss of this asset.
Its sophisticated underwriting platform uses an innovative, predictive, proprietary credit risk model which provides enhanced clarity when anticipating turns in the credit cycle. This clarity allows Equinox Global to provide greater levels of transparency and certainty of cover to customers.

Credit Insurance News Digests: Sponsorship
Sponsoring an issue of Credit Insurance News Digest is a great way to promote your company or brand to a committed audience of trade credit insurance professionals.
If you are interested in sponsoring an issue in 2015 see our sponsorship page for further information.
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