Welcome to issue 93 of Credit Insurance News Digest. The industry newsletter devoted to the global trade credit insurance industry.
This issue is sponsored by Canopius.

Credit Insurance News
£574,000 was paid out by UK trade credit insurers every day in 2016. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has published some key facts for the UK insurance sector in 2016, one of which shows that £574,000 was paid out by UK trade credit insurers every day in claims. The ABI's research also showed that there were 12,000 trade credit insurance policies in place in the UK in 2016. Speaking of the general insurance industry, Huw Evans, the ABI’s Director General, commented: “The industry makes a vital contribution to the UK economy as a world-leading sector. This is why the cross-party Treasury Select Committee recently called for it to be treated as a ‘priority sector’ in Brexit negotiations so UK firms can continue to serve our wide customer base in the EU."  To read the ABI's news release go to www.abi.org.uk/globalassets/files/publications/public/key-facts/abi-key-facts-2017.pdf.
Why UK firms can’t afford to avoid a discussion about trade credit insurance. Amid worrying signs that businesses are struggling to stay afloat, Mike Hallam, Head of Technical Services at the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA), has published an article explaining why firms can’t afford to avoid a discussion about trade credit insurance - especially in light of the big-ticket insolvencies of Monarch Airlines and Misco. The article also includes a warning from Mike Clark, chair of the BIBA Trade Credit Working Group: “Recent statistics from the Insolvency Service show a 15% increase in company insolvencies for Q3 2017 which is troubling. The prospect of higher UK interest rates, uncertainty over Brexit, the impact of more restrictive US trading policies and even political uncertainties in Spain are reasons why companies of all sizes might want to consider reviewing the ways they can mitigate their exposure to bad debt.” To read BIBA's article go to https://www.biba.org.uk/press-releases/trade-credit-insurance-biba-opinion/.
Maplin is seeking to reassure suppliers about its financial health after credit insurers cut cover. Retail Week has published an article, 'Maplin bids to calm credit insurer concern after cover cut', which reports that Maplin is seeking to reassure suppliers about its financial health after credit insurers cut coverage of the electricals retailer. The Sunday Telegraph reported that QBE axed Maplin’s cover last month, and Euler Hermes and Atradius are also understood to have reduced their exposure. Maplin’s owner, Rutland Partners, is now expected to meet credit insurers to update them on Maplin's performance in the hopes of providing reassurance. To read Retail Week's article go to https://www.retail-week.com/companies/maplin/maplin-bids-to-calm-credit-insurer-concern-after-cover-cut/7027701.article.
Trade credit insurance is thrust into the spotlight after another high-profile firm collapse. Insurance Business has published an article, 'BIBA calls for more attention on insurance as Palmer & Harvey goes into administration', which reports that trade credit insurance has been thrust into the spotlight after the collapse of Palmer & Harvey - the largest tobacco supplier in the UK and the fifth-biggest privately owned firm. Such a high-profile collapse has caught the attention of  BIBA which has noted that the credit insurance market is likely to pay big claims to unpaid suppliers. “Without suitable insurance in place many other companies would also have been adversely affected by this collapse,” said Mike Hallam, Head of Technical Services at BIBA. “This serves to show the value of Trade Credit insurance which is available from many insurance brokers.” To read Insurance Businesses' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/hospitality/biba-calls-for-more-attention-on-insurance-as-palmer-and-harvey-goes-into-administration-86255.aspx.
Supply chain finance a ‘dominoes’ game for Toys R Us. PYMNTS.com has published an article which cites a recent report in the Financial Times which suggested that the delicate balance of payments through the supply chain led to what Toys R Us called a “dangerous game of dominoes.” In September, the toy retailer’s difficulties led suppliers to either stop shipping products to the company or demand cash on delivery. That meant Toys R Us’ inventory diminished, accelerating its financial struggles and jeopardising the finances of its suppliers. The article also highlights analysis by Moody’s Investors Service, which underlines how the balance of supply chain cash flow can be so quickly disrupted that quarterly financial reports can’t always catch it. Moody’s pointed to the 2002 bankruptcy of Kmart, which posted US$6 billion more in assets than liabilities but was reputedly forced to file Chapter 11 because it missed a $78 million payment to one of its grocery suppliers. To read PYMNTS.com's article go to https://www.pymnts.com/news/b2b-payments/2017/toys-r-us-supply-chain-finance/.
Trade credit insurance claims prompt discussions on potential rate increases. Insurance Insider has published an article, 'Trade credit insurance in the spotlight after claims', which reports that the UK trade credit insurance market has been hit by a series of claims in recent months (notably the collapse of the cigarette and food wholesaler Palmer & Harvey (P&H) followed the high-profile demise of charter airline Monarch in October), prompting discussions on potential rate increases. An estimate by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) put the cost of the P&H bankruptcy to trade credit insurers at £100.0 million ($133.6 million). Other firms to go into administration have included furniture chains Multiyork and Feather. To read Insurance Insider's article go to http://www.insuranceinsider.com/-1271383/8 (subscription required).
New credit insurance facility launched. GTR (Global Trade Review) has published an article which reports that Svensk & Company has launched a new credit insurance facility, Trade Credit Underwriters (TCU). Domiciled in Bermuda, TCU will focus on underwriting smaller one-off deals, both short-term and medium-term, including transactions generated by alternative lenders and smaller pre-export financing deals. TCU reinsures up to 90% of each risk on an excess of loss basis with Ironshore Specialty Insurance Company. The underwriting team will consist of Andrew Svensk, Bob Svensk, Tom Kane and Vic Pocius. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/on-the-move/new-credit-insurance-facility-launched/.
Euler Hermes now offers longer duration insurance for large orders. Euler Hermes has announced that it has launched a new product for businesses wanting to protect themselves against non-payment of large individual orders that they will deliver up to three years in the future. EH Cover One also insures companies against work-in-progress costs if they are unable to supply contracted goods or services if their client is unable to pay. Offering ‘medium-term’ insurance cover for non-payment of bad debts for a single large risk to mid-sized and smaller firms is a recent development in the market; traditionally it has only been available as a bespoke policy to large corporations through Lloyd’s of London. Up to 90% of the insured loss is paid out in the event of a claim, and the insured can have any outstanding balance with no minimum or maximum value. EH Cover One was first launched by Euler Hermes in France and more recently in Belgium and The Netherlands. It is available with or without trade credit insurance. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.co.uk/euler-hermes-UK-and-Ireland/mediacenter/news/Pages/171114-eh-cover-one.aspx.
Consider trade credit insurance before the realities of the New Year kick in. Degree has published an article, 'Plan against New Year business woes warns trade credit insurance chief' in which the head of Trade Credit Brokers, Nigel Birney, has warned that now is the best time for businesses to consider trade credit insurance. This comes ahead of the expected post-Christmas slump that many businesses will face, which often puts them under significant financial distress, resulting in increased levels of insolvency and a slowdown in the average number of days it takes to settle invoices. To read Degree's article go to http://www.thedegree.co.uk/money-finance/new-year-business-woes-trade-credit/.
APAC businesses are open to alternate debt collection. Atradius' Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand, Mark Hoppe, has published an article in The CEO Magazine which suggests that businesses in Asia Pacific (APAC) are more concerned about the complexity of payment procedures and, compared to their European counterparts, are more open to various methods of debt collection. The survey also found that using debt collection agencies to recover unpaid commercial debts is more common among businesses in the Americas and APAC, where around 40% of the companies chose external collections, and that companies in the region appear to be more aggressive than their European companies in trying to recover their money. To read The CEO Magazine's article go to http://www.theceomagazine.com/business/apac-businesses-open-alternate-debt-collection/.
Euler Hermes announces the French launch of TRIBRating, a new rating service specifically designed for SMEs and MidCaps. TRIBRating is a service developed through Euler Hermes' collaboration with Moody’s. First launched in Germany in June 2017, TRIBRating is now being introduced in France as the latest step of its wider European roll-out. The TRIBRating service aims to enable small and mid-sized businesses with revenues between €10-500 million to gain an internationally comparable credit rating using the well-known ‘AAA’ to ‘D’ full spectrum global scale. Research conducted by Euler Hermes Rating reveals that about one-quarter of the 42,000 companies used to develop the French TRIBRating methodology would have obtained a score of BBB or higher under the financial profile component of the methodology’s scorecard. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Euler-Hermes-Rating-Launches-New-SME-and-MidCap-Rating-Service-in-France.aspx.
For 77.6% of German companies payment delays are still a regular occurrence. The second Coface study on the payment experience of German companies has shown that, despite the solid position of the German economy and the decline in the number of corporate insolvencies, delays in payments are still commonplace. For 77.6% of the companies reviewed, payment delays are a regular occurrence, but this is an improvement compared to the 83.7% reported in 2016. Payment delays remain pronounced among companies that are mainly dependent on export business, where more than 87% are experiencing payment delays (2016: 90%), compared to 75.9% (2016: 82.8%) for companies that concentrate on the German market. Coface's research also found that the proportion of German companies with long overdues (of over 6 months) and which account for at least 2% of their annual turnover, decreased markedly to 8.7% (2016: 13.4%). For Germany’s export-orientated companies the picture is less positive, with around 12% (2016: 20%) of companies suffering from long overdues. To read Coface's news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Germany-s-corporate-payment-survey-2017.
What's next for trade credit insurance. Oliver Wyman InsurTech has published an interview in which Louis Carbonnier, Global Head of Euler Hermes Digital Agency, describes how new technology - cloud, AI, APIs, blockchain - is changing the face of trade finance and describes his challenge to reinvent credit insurance from scratch. Predicting what's next for trade credit insurance, Mr Carbonnier reports that research shows that SMEs have an increasing appetite for 'peace of mind' products providing cloud-based outsourcing of admin tasks, allowing business owners to focus on their core business. "We’ve reached the stage where most of the 'product bricks' have been reinvented as software as a service covering the full AP/AR cycle (e-invoicing, information, receivables finance, credit insurance, finance analytics, collections, etc.), and the industry is ready to move to the 'Autopilot' phase." Other trends he describes in detail include 'Wiki Data', (shared data) and blockchain. To read Oliver Wyman InsurTech's article go to http://insurtech.oliverwyman.com/louis-carbonnier-global-head-euler-hermes-digital-agency-ehda/. Copyright © 2017, Oliver Wyman.
The UK economy is set to become the worst performer in the EU next year. Euler Hermes' latest economic report, ‘Brexit: Taking the pulse of the UK economy’, forecasts that UK GDP growth will reach just 1% in 2018 - the lowest in the EU. In contrast, following strong growth of 2.1% in 2017, the Eurozone will continue to perform "above potential" with GDP set to expand by 1.8% in 2018. The report also warns that without a transition deal export losses in 2019 could be as high as £30 billion for goods and £36 billion for services. In real terms, this would mean a drop of 6% for total exports on the previous year. Katharina Utermöhl, senior economist for Europe at Euler Hermes, commented: "A transition deal once the UK formally exits the EU in March 2019 could help limit the negative impact on the [UK] economy. With such an agreement in place, the UK would see growth of 0.9% in 2019; compared with a -1.2% contraction should the UK leave the EU and trading on World Trade Organization terms." To read Euler Hermes' news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.eulerhermes.co.uk/euler-hermes-UK-and-Ireland/mediacenter/news/Pages/171121-eh-brexit.aspx.
Belgian insolvencies predicted to level-off in 2017. Astreos Credit has published a Country Focus report on Belgium which reports that after a decrease of the real GDP Growth in 2016 from 1.5 to 1.3%, the growth forecasts for the Belgian economy in 2017 have been revised upwards to 1.6 %. The same growth rate is also expected in 2018. The report also advises that although Belgian corporate insolvencies recorded yearly decreases in the years 2014-2016, in 2017 business failures are expected to level-off (to approx 9,150 cases). However, this will still be higher than the levels seen before the start of the global credit crisis in 2008 (about 7,700 cases in 2007). To read Astreos Credit's news release go to http://www.astreos-credit.com/belgium-country-focus/.
Global economic momentum has solidified through the year. However, now is not a time for complacency. Atradius has advised that global GDP growth is forecast to expand 2.9% in 2017 - a marked acceleration from the lacklustre 2.4% growth last year. The 2018 outlook is also stable, with 3.1% growth expected. In addition, economic policy uncertainty "has fallen off a cliff in 2017", with fears for large-scale US protectionism fading and European voters keeping populist parties out of the mainstream. However, despite better than expected global growth momentum and a more optimistic outlook for European integration, Atradius warns that complacency is precisely what we do not need at this stage. "The reasons are not so much the consumption-driven character of the acceleration or the still-muted level of growth. Rather, what deserves full attention now is awareness that in calmer waters we will certainly not remain." The current upswing, being largely cyclical, will undoubtedly be succeeded by a downturn. To read Atradius' news release go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/economic-outlook-november-2017.html.
Global protectionism and Brexit could dent UK trade prospects. According to Euler Hermes, the impact of protectionism on global trade and uncertainty about Brexit could reduce the volume growth in UK exports to £20 billion in 2018 - a slowdown from the £50 billion increase in exports forecast for this year. Euler Hermes advises that the number of global protectionist measures is at a record high and continues to grow with more than 400 new barriers set to be in place by the end of the year, including 87 in the US up to the end of October - nearly a quarter (23%) of all new measures. Regarding Brexit, Ludovic Subran, Chief Economist at Euler Hermes, warns: "The export sector is currently the bright spot of the UK economy as British exporters benefit from the cyclical upswing in Europe and a cheaper pound. Isn’t it ironic? The export success story could be short-lived if Brexit talks lack pragmatism and end up in a cliff-edge scenario with no transition deal by 2019." To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.co.uk/euler-hermes-UK-and-Ireland/mediacenter/news/Pages/171127-global-trade-report.aspx.
Insolvencies and restructuration proceedings in Poland increased by 14% in the first three quarters of 2017. Coface's latest report indicates that insolvencies and restructuration proceedings in Poland increased by 14% in the first three quarters of 2017 compared to the same period last year, and most sectors experienced an increase in the number of proceedings. “Amendments to insolvency laws have been one of the reasons – but not the only contributing factor”, commented Grzegorz Sielewicz, Regional Economist Coface Central & Eastern Europe. “Lower profitability, intense competition, pressure on margins, payment backlogs and labour shortages have also become constraints that often result in a squeeze on companies’ liquidity”. The greatest number of insolvencies and restructuring proceedings occurred among production companies - almost 28% of all those recorded. To read Coface's news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Poland-Insolvency-Report-Insolvencies-and-restructuring-proceedings-still-on-the-rise-despite-a-robust-economy.
Good news on global trade - although the rebound could be short-lived. After years in the doldrums, Euler Hermes reports that global trade has finally caught a decent tailwind. After an increase of 4.3% this year, global trade could expand by 3.9% in volume in 2018. This would represent an increase in value of 7.5% (2017) and 6.3% (2018), and is a stark turnaround to 2014-2016 when the value of global trade lost close to $3 trillion after a collapse in commodity price and a series of shocks, including a stock market rout in China and political surprises such as Brexit. Euler Hermes, however, also warns that protectionism, trade financing and geopolitics are hampering global trade growth acceleration and could lead to the rebound being short-lived. More than 400 new protectionist measures are expected worldwide this year and financial ‘balkanization’ also remains a concern. To read Allianz's news release go to https://www.allianz.com/en/press/news/studies/171123_euler-hermes-world-economy-2018/.
Challenges for the UK food sector are mounting. Atradius latest Market Monitor for the UK food industry indicates that while food demand and turnover remained robust in 2017, challenges for the sector have mounted due to its heavy reliance on imports (in 2016, 48% of food consumed in the UK was imported). Sterling's devaluation since the June 2016 Brexit decision (about 15% against the euro) has increased the costs of commodities and food items for many British food producers and processors reliant on imports, raising their input costs and negatively affecting their margins. Payments in the sector take between 45 and 60 days on average, and payment experience has been generally good over the past two years. However, due to inability to absorb higher input costs and increased pressure on margins, both payment delays and insolvencies have increased this year, and Atradius expects this increase to continue in the first half of 2018, with food business failures rising by up to 5%. To read Atradius' news release with a link to the full report go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/market-monitor-food-uk-2017.html.
Market Monitor reports for food are also available for the following countries: Brazil, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Portugal, Spain.
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 Q3 2017, an at-a-glance analysis of the major trends and the level of risks for each country based on real risk taken by major credit insurers collectively. In addition, the 'G Grade' includes seven key indicators for each country provided by the IMF Statistics Department which give a view on the trends and the level of risk per country. In this issue, in line with the improving economic outlook, more country risk ratings have been upgraded rather than downgraded. The most notable upgrade is Indonesia, which has been upgraded by three of the four underwriters. The most notable downgrade is Gabon. To download a copy of AU Group's free report go to http://www.au-group.com/how-to-monitor-country-risks/.
Atradius expands to Bulgaria and Romania. GTR (Global Trade Review) has reported that Atradius is opening new branches in Bulgaria and Romania. Effective immediately, the company will now be servicing its clients and business partners in the two countries from offices located in Sofia and Bucharest. The branches will operate a sales and account management team that will be responsible for customer communications and support, as well as a risk analyst team, which will evaluate the default risk of Bulgarian and Romanian customers. According to Atradius, the market volume of Romania’s credit insurance industry currently amounts to approximately €24 million, with an average yearly growth rate of 10%, while Bulgaria’s credit insurance industry’s market volume currently sits at around €6 million. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/on-the-move/atradius-expands-to-bulgaria-and-romania/.
Allianz aims to secure all outstanding Euler Hermes shares. Insurance Business has reported that Allianz wants to own the whole of Euler Hermes, announcing its intention to file an offer after recently securing significant share capital. “Allianz intends to launch a simplified cash tender offer to acquire all outstanding Euler Hermes shares not already owned by Allianz and held by minority shareholders,” stated the controlling shareholder, which expects to formally file the tender offer in the coming weeks. Euler Hermes said the offer would not impact the composition of its supervisory board, nor its strategy and operating model. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/breaking-news/allianz-aims-to-snap-up-all-outstanding-euler-hermes-shares-85947.aspx.
The effects of a hard Brexit will be decisive for the innovation capacity and competitiveness of the UK automotive industry. Coface's latest Panorama report on the UK automotive industry finds that after an exceptional peak in production of vehicles recorded in mid-2016 (up 8.5% for the January-August period compared to the same period in 2015), 2017 saw a drop in production of nearly 2%. The report also adds that the healthy dynamic of exports in this industry, strongly oriented toward the European market (79% of vehicles assembled in the UK are exported, 56% of which go to the EU), does not compensate the drop in internal demand generated by a loss of consumer confidence. In parallel, the prospects linked to the difficulties and the outcome of the Brexit negotiations risk are continuing to damage the appeal of the country for foreign investors, including the parent companies of a good number of British car brands.To read Coface's news release with a link to the full Panorama go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/The-effects-of-a-hard-Brexit-will-be-decisive-for-the-innovation-capacity-and-competitiveness-of-the-British-automotive-industry.
Aon completes acquisition of Henderson Insurance Broking Group. Aon plc has announced that it has completed its acquisition of Henderson Insurance Broking Group. Henderson Insurance Broking Group is one of the UK’s largest independent brokers, focusing on general insurance, health and benefits and trade credit insurance. Henderson Insurance Broking Group will be part of Aon Risk Solutions UK, which provides risk and insurance solutions and services to clients across an expansive range of industries and specialisms. To read Aon's news release go to http://aon.mediaroom.com/news-releases?item=137652.
A stable outlook for the UK Machines trade sector. Atradius' latest Market Monitor Machines report for the UK has found that while UK business insolvencies are forecast to increase in 2017 and 2018, the machinery sector is not expected to follow this deteriorating trend. Export-oriented British machinery businesses have benefitted from the weakness of Sterling following the Brexit decision in June 2016, recording higher demand and activity. However, this has to some degree been offset by increasing import costs. As a result, Atradius reports that for the time being, its underwriting stance remains open to neutral for the machinery sector. To read Atradius' news release go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/market-monitor-machines-united-kingdom-2017.html.
New Credendo Risk app now available from App Store or Google Play. Credendo has announced that it has launched a free app which aims to inform users in real time about the evolution of country risks, with a focus on emerging countries. The app includes a world map, which when the user clicks on a country, displays Credendo ratings (export transactions and direct investments) and risk analysis reports for the selected country. Reports are presented in chronological order and users can also watch various videos: TV and radio interviews with Credendo experts regarding country risks; videos about Credendo products etc. Credendo has also announced that it will deliver country risks reports twice a week.
Congratulations to the following companies among our readers who are all finalists in the CICM British Credit Awards 2018, to be held on 8 February at The Royal Lancaster, London: 
  • CoCredo, Credit Assist, Dun & Bradstreet, Graydon UK and PurplePatch: finalists in the 'Credit Information Provider of the Year' category. 
  • Credit & Business Finance and Nexus CIFS: finalists in the 'Credit Insurance Specialist of the Year' category. 
  • Atradius Collections: finalist in both the 'Commercial Credit Team of the Year' and 'Third Party Debt Collection Team of the Year' categories. 
  • Alan Norton of Graydon UK: finalist in the 'Credit Professional of the Year' category.
New Appointments
XL Catlin has announced the appointment of Dr Thomas Götting as Country Manager Germany effective January 1, 2018. He succeeds Dieter Goebbels who will retire in early 2018. Dr Götting will be based in Cologne and report to Kelly Lyles, Chief Executive Client & Country Management at XL Catlin. Dr Götting joins XL Catlin from Coface, where he was a member of the Management Board Northern Europe Region in his position as Regional Commercial Director.
Euler Hermes has appointed Virginie Fauvel, as Chief Transformation Officer as of January 15th, 2018, and Head of the Americas region as of April 1st, 2018. Once her nomination is approved by the Supervisory Board on February 9th, 2018, she will also join the Board of Management of Euler Hermes as of April, 1st, 2018. Ms Fauvel joined Allianz France in 2013 as member of the executive committee, in charge of the company’s digital transformation, direct, big data and AI, communication and Market Management teams. 
Avenue Insurance Partners has announced that in January 2018 they welcome Corran Barnes to their team, covering the North region and Scotland. Mr Barnes started his career at Coface as a new business manager, and most recently worked for an independent credit insurance broker.
Liberty Specialty Markets has announced that it has promoted Andrew Beechey to head of underwriting and strategic development for global financial risks, reporting to Peter Sprent. Mr Beechey previously worked for Zurich as deputy head of the London credit and political risk team.
Business Information & Reports
We are delighted to offer a small selection of some of the news items included in our new business information publication. Please go to Credit Management News Digest for more business information news.
The UK could lose 20 years of economic growth. In a post-Budget statement, Paul Johnson director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned that current forecasts for UK productivity, earnings and economic growth "make pretty grim reading". Not only is GDP per capita predicted to be 3.5% smaller in 2021 than forecast in March 2016 - a loss of £65 billion to the economy, average wages in 2021 also look set to be £1400 lower than 2008's levels. The IFS warns that the UK is now unlikely to lower national debt to pre-2008 crisis levels until the 2060s: "We are in danger of losing not just one but getting on for two decades of earnings growth." The UK’s economic forecasts from both the IFS and OBR are also the worst of any G7 country, with growth not predicted to exceed 1.6% in the next five years - "a far cry from the time when anything less than 2% was considered seriously disappointing." Only Canada's economic performance is with 'within touching distance", while growth in Germany, France and the US will far outstrip the UK's. To read or watch a video of the IFS' Statement go to https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/10188.
OBR predicts that the UK economy will see 1.3% growth in 2019 - the weakest rate since 2009. According to the latest analysis from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the UK's growth prospects are far weaker than previously thought. The government’s independent economic forecaster now expects the economy to average 1.4% growth a year over the next five years, slowing a little over the next two (as public spending cuts and Brexit-related uncertainty weigh on the economy) and picking up modestly thereafter as productivity growth quickens. Looking at the year-by-year profile, the OBR expects real GDP growth to slow from 1.5% this year to 1.4% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2019. 1.3% growth would be the weakest rate since 2009 when the UK economy was in the depths of the financial crisis. For a summary of findings and the OBR's full report go to http://budgetresponsibility.org.uk/efo/economic-fiscal-outlook-november-2017/.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
The UK's late payment culture impacts 4 in 10 businesses. Concur has released a report entitled: Invoice Utopia – A Vision of the Future for UK Businesses, which has found that 40% of UK businesses receive late payments on a monthly basis. Specifically, 63% of medium-sized businesses (50-249 employees) receive late payments at least once every month, compared to 40% of small businesses and 49% of enterprise (250+ employees). This highlights the difficulty that medium-sized businesses have with poor payment practices affecting their cash flow. The report also notes the knock-on consequences that this has; 21% of medium-sized businesses warn they would have to stop planned investment if their biggest customer fails to pay a substantial invoice for 90 days, 15% significantly would reduce innovation spend and 14% would not be able to pay salaries. In addition, 11% of medium-sized companies, 7% of large businesses and 6% of small businesses said they would also be forced to make redundancies. Such a high volume of late payments is significantly worrying when 57,960 businesses each year – 23% of the total number of business deaths – is currently caused by late payments. To read Concur's news release go to https://www.concur.co.uk/newsroom/article/uks-late-payments-culture-impacting-4-in-10-businesses.
The UK is in bottom place compared the world's largest economies. Although recent data from Eurostat for Q1-Q3 2017 has indicated that the UK is no longer the slowest economy in the G7 and EU, it nevertheless remains the second slowest behind Denmark. This year, Denmark has seen a cumulative growth of 0.9%, while the UK has grown by 1%. However, compared to the world’s larger economies, the UK is still in bottom place, significantly behind the US (1.8% growth), Germany (2.3% growth), the EA 19 (1.9%) and EU 28 (1.9%). Of all the results, Ireland's stands out as having seen some substantial quarterly fluctuations: 5.8% in Q4 2016, -3.5% in Q1 2017, 1.4% in Q2. At the time of writing, Q3 2017 results for Ireland were not yet available. To read Eurostat's news release go to http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/8444168/2-14112017-BP-EN.pdf/2de0034c-e53f-4bf7-ac31-c553a2ce7de5. 
Please note that the text above is a summary of Eurostat's news.
1.1 million fewer UK SMEs are trading internationally in 2017 than in 2016. According to the latest Global Trade Barometer from WorldFirst, UK SMEs remain pessimistic about growth for the third straight quarter as continued uncertainty hampers international export confidence. Continuing the downward trend for 2017, the number of SMEs trading internationally decreased slightly from 30% in Q2 to 28% in Q3 - a notable decrease of 20% compared to the same period last year. This translates in real terms to 1.1 million fewer SMEs trading internationally in 2017. The gloomy outlook continues into the year-end, with 70% of UK SMEs expecting international trade to decline or remain stagnant throughout Q4. To read WorldFirst's news release go to https://www.worldfirst.com/uk/blog/international-business/global-trade-barometer-uk-smes/.
UK business insolvencies rose by 15% in Q3 2017. Latest data from the Insolvency Service indicates that although total UK insolvencies in Q3 2017 decreased compared with the unusually high level in the previous quarter (when a large number of connected personal service companies entered liquidation as a result of tax changes), underlying corporate insolvencies rose 15% from Q2 to Q3 2017 and are 15% higher than this time last year. Commenting on the statistics, Adrian Hyde, president of R3, said: “Corporate insolvency numbers have bounced around over the last couple of quarters as a result of the impact of tax quirks and timely economic boosts, including summer’s surprise drop in inflation. This quarter’s rise in underlying insolvencies, however, moves things back towards the trend of growing insolvency numbers we’ve had since the middle of 2016. The prolonged fall in insolvencies we saw between 2010 and 2016 appears to have begun to change direction.” To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/index.cfm?page=1114&element=30899&refpage=1008.
Black Friday not enough to ignite UK sales in November. According to new figures released by BDO, a solid Black Friday was not enough to paper over the deepening cracks in consumer confidence. Overall like-for-like high street sales dropped -1.3% in November, which followed the worst October on record for ten years. Fashion sales for the month dropped -2.5% year-on-year, cancelling out positive like-for-like growth for sales of lifestyle goods (up 0.9%) and homewares items (up 2.2%). Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP said all the signs pointed to a potentially tough Christmas on the high street. “Many stores have struggled so far in the final quarter of this year, and a small rise in sales over Black Friday won’t be nearly enough to deliver a positive like-for-like result in the fourth quarter . . . We believe that the fall in consumer confidence combined with the drop in real earnings due to rising prices is very likely to lead to shoppers cutting back on their discretionary spending whilst maintaining their spend on festive food and drink." To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2017/black-friday-not-enough-to-ignite-sales-in-november.
SMEs in the European Union generate half of the intra-EU trade in goods. According to research released by Eurostat, 98% of companies trading goods within the EU are SMEs (up to 249 persons employed), including around 70% that are micro-enterprises (up to 9 persons employed). SMEs are also responsible for half the value of the intra-EU trade in goods, accounting for 51% of intra-EU imports and 45% of intra-EU exports. In five Member States, SMEs generate more than two-thirds of the total value of intra-EU exports of goods: Cyprus (88%) and Latvia (81%), followed by Belgium (70%), Estonia (68%) and the Netherlands (67%). At the opposite end of the spectrum, SMEs account for less than one third of intra-EU export value in France (21%), Germany (26%), Slovakia (30%) and Ireland (32%), followed by Poland (35%), the Czech Republic (36%) and Finland (38%). To read Eurostat's news release go to http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/8467294/6-21112017-AP-EN.pdf/ab123dd2-0901-4c64-95b0-f071a5f235e3
Please note that the text above is a summary of Eurostat's news.
Career Opportunities

Major Loss Claims Adjuster
The person will be the Major Loss claims handler for EMEA for the Trade Credit/Political Risk and Surety Lines of Business.  The person in the position is: 
  •  AIG’s focused resource for EMEA for Trade Credit/Political Risk and Surety claims, recoveries and loss related issues; 
  • Responsible for the accurate and timely processing of all major losses for Trade Credit/Political Risk and Surety in EMEA; 
  • Responsible for monitoring and overseeing the technical work product of AIG’s Complex Claims Handlers for Trade Credit/Political Risk and Surety claims in the UK and other offices in EMEA 
  • Manage and direct outside advisors including counsel, adjusters, and consultants for EMEA matters; 
  • Assisting underwriters, insureds and brokers in loss minimization on a pre-claim basis; • assisting Underwriting in policy language issues, including ad hoc questions and new product development; 
  • Responsible for all home office level reporting to AIG management and to reinsurers on losses and potential losses; 
  • Responsible for establishing or ensuring that appropriate reserves are raised on a timely basis within EMEA for major losses and to oversee and consult with Complex Handlers as needed. 
Job Requirements:
 Previous work experience in legal, international business, or in political risk, trade credit insurance and/or surety involving business to business credit sales, credit evaluation, export transactional documentation, domestic lending, bankruptcy processes , claims handling experience,  and recovery experience.  
Ability to analyze policy and claim documentation and reduce to clear/ concise positions.
Ability to present matters, sometimes contentious, in an even, unbiased, and courteous manner. 
Computer skills in basic Office or similar software.  
Work ethic to follow through on large case load.  Ability to negotiate and be open minded , but to hold on positions despite pressure from claimants, brokers  or internal interests when appropriate.
For more information  and/or to apply for this position please contact Wesley Bates, Talent Acquisition Manager at AIG on (0)208 680 7253 or email wesley.bates@aig.com.

Account Executive
W Denis Credit Risks are a leading UK based specialist broker, founded in 2000, with offices in Leeds, Tamworth and London. We are a part of the Yorkshire based W Denis group, but also part owned by employees.
We are looking for an experienced account executive to join our team of credit professionals. 
Working out of either our office in Tamworth or Leeds, you should have a sound working knowledge of credit insurance, be self- motivated, and able to work in a close and friendly team. The role will be to develop a book of business with support provided from our in-house marketing team, and to service any business put on. You should be able to fully support both the sales and a servicing role, be familiar with FCA compliance requirements, and able to work closely with colleagues and insurers. Salary and benefits commensurate with experience.
To apply for this position please email your CV and a covering letter to john.cockshutt@wdenis.co.uk. Emails should be marked 'Confidential'. 
The closing date for applications is 31 December 2016.

Broker – Trade Credit, London

Willis Towers Watson is looking to recruit a credit insurance broker in London for our team of experienced trade credit and political risk brokers, to support the management of and help grow our bespoke and selective portfolio of major national and multinational corporate and financial institution clients.   
The position is within a specialist trade credit team which is part of the market leading political and financial risks division of a global insurance broker. We offer a challenging role to appropriate individuals who should be willing to support and assist in the marketing, negotiating, structuring, placing and servicing of global credit insurance programmes for the large national or multi national companies both in wholeturnover and excess of loss formats. Candidates will also get involved in political risks, credit risk management and other credit risk mitigation tools both for major corporates and financial institutions.   
Preference will be given to those with some experience of credit insurance and related IT platforms either as an insurer or broker.   
The role will include broking into the London insurance markets including Lloyds, as well as international specialist insurance markets, both on a face to face and electronic basis, supporting the creation of insurance structures to match complex contracts and financial structures.   
Candidates should: 
  • Be self motivated, and work independently
  • Be comfortable operating at all client levels
  • Be a good team player
  • Demonstrate initiative and innovation
  • Have an eye for detail and good word skills
  • Have a willingness to learn about the industry, our clients industries and trades, the insurance market and trade finance
  • Have a disciplined approach to work
  • Be willing to study towards relevant qualifications (ACII / CICM ) 
What can we offer you? 
In return you will be rewarded with a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package   Willis Towers Watson is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to, among other things, race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, status as a protected veteran, or disability.
To apply, please email your CV and covering letter to Alexander Yates at Alexander.Yates@willistowerswatson.com. For more information call Alexander on 07525775656.
Events & Offers
TXF Export Finance, 24 January 2018. Paris.
TXF France is always an unmissable opportunity to keep up-to-date with regional export finance and the latest market trends. This time around the one-day summit is set to focus exclusively on how to make French exports the most competitive in the world. You can expect the signature TXF experience alongside new policy announcements from Bpifrance and DG Trésor. The event will be attended by a range of exporters, borrowers, ECAs, banks, government representatives, law firms, insurers, advisers and others, so it is sure to be as vibrant as the city of Paris itself.
TXF France 2018 will be conducted entirely in French, but headsets for simultaneous translation into English will be available.
Attendance is capped at 170 delegates.
Credit Insurance News readers are entitled to an exclusive 10% off. Just enter the code CIN18 when you register here.
Blockchain for SCF Masterclass, 30 January 2018. Frankfurt. 
The Blockchain for SCF Masterclass is an advanced and comprehensive workshop that will review and assess the latest developments in blockchain technology for supply chain finance. 
Presenting both an introduction to blockchain and detailed use cases from the industry, the masterclass will provide attendees with a deeper understanding of how blockchain and distributed ledger technology are impacting the supply chain ecosystem and what this means for your business. 
The masterclass will bring together supply chain finance professionals and industry disruptors in an active discussion of the key opportunities and challenges: 
  • Reviewing latest developments in blockchain and DLT 
  • Using blockchain technology to create value for their customers 
  • Overcoming regulatory and legal constraints 
  • Working towards a standardisation 
  • Collaborating with fintechs to enable DLT 
  • Mitigating the risks of fraud and increasing security 
Held ahead of our Supply Chain Finance Summit in Frankfurt, the Masterclass will provide you with a complete overview of blockchain and equip you with the knowledge to future proof your business. For more information go to https://bcrpub.com/events/blockchain-scf-masterclass.
Supply Chain Finance Summit, 31 January - 1 February 2018. Frankfurt.
The Blockchain Masterclass is an advanced and comprehensive workshop that will review and assess the latest developments in blockchain technology for supply chain finance. Presenting both an introduction to blockchain and detailed use cases from the industry, the masterclass will provide attendees with a deeper understanding of how blockchain and distributed ledger technology are impacting the supply chain ecosystem and what this means for your business. The masterclass will bring together supply chain finance professionals and industry disruptors in an active discussion of the key opportunities and challenges:
  • Reviewing latest developments in blockchain and DLT
  • Using blockchain technology to create value for their customers
  • Overcoming regulatory and legal constraints 
  • Working towards a standardisation 
  • Collaborating with fintechs to enable DLT 
  • Mitigating the risks of fraud and increasing security 
Held ahead of our Supply Chain Finance Summit in Frankfurt, the Blockchain Masterclass will provide you with a complete overview of blockchain and equip you with the knowledge to future proof your business.
BCR are delighted to offer Credit Insurance News members a 10% discount on booking. Register now using code CIN17 at www.bcrconferences.com.
TXF Moscow: Export Finance, 13 March 2018. St Regis Nikolskaya Hotel, Moscow.
TXF is delighted to invite you to join us for this exclusive, capped attendance event.
With focused and informative content, honest discussion of financing trends & opportunities, plus excellent networking opportunities, it is an event not to be missed if you are active in the region. We will be helping Russian borrowers understand the kinds of financing available to them, giving borrowers the chance to explain their needs, as well as providing timely updates on regulation and policy. The perfect meeting point for all stakeholders doing business in Russia.
To take advantage of your exclusive 10% off offer contact Lucy at lucy.morris@txfmedia.com or click here for further information.
About the Sponsor: Canopius
Sompo Canopius AG (‘Canopius’) writes global specialty (re)insurance. 
Our group was formed via a management buyout in December 2003, with £25m equity capital. Since then we have achieved significant growth through a mix of organic expansion and acquisition. Canopius is now one of the top 10 insurers in the Lloyd's insurance market and across the group wrote in excess of $1.3 billion premium in 2016.
Having been part of the Sompo group for several years, in September 2017 we announced a private equity backed management buyout that is due to close in the first quarter of 2018.
Canopius is domiciled in Zurich and operates in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Bermuda, US and Singapore. At Lloyd's, Canopius operates through Canopius Managing Agents Limited, which manages Syndicate 4444. 
We offer a variety of insurance and reinsurance lines, covering Credit & Political Risk, Property, Marine, Energy, Engineering, Casualty, Accident & Health and Specialist Consumer Products. 
Our Trade Credit insurance team provides a world-class receivables and payables solution for businesses and banks. We are experts in offering bespoke cover across trade credit, supply chain finance and trade finance and across a wide number of sectors and markets. The team writes comprehensive cover for: 
  • Excess of loss insurance, covering both private and public buyers across the globe.
  • Single risk or named buyer insurance.
  • Captive solutions.
  • Cover for non-honouring of letters of credit, either individually or on a facility basis.
  • Supply chain finance solutions.
  • Supplier default insurance.
  • Structured trade finance solutions in conjunction with major banks.
  • Non-cancellable or cancellable buyer limits, depending on structure#
  • Policy tenor of up to seven years 
With close to 100 years’ combined experience, we take a tailored approach while always maintaining the highest of service levels. 
The Canopius group is known for its superlative claims service, with a number of recent awards wins bearing testament to our reputation. 
And finally…our name: Nathaniel Canopius was a Cretan scholar studying at Balliol College, Oxford, who is reputed to have brewed the first cup of coffee in England in 1637. Then in the 17th century, Edward Lloyd's coffee house became recognised as the place for obtaining marine insurance in London. Our name thus provides a strong association with the Lloyd's market, which remains at the core of our operations.
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