Welcome to January's issue of Credit Insurance News Digest. This issue is sponsored by Chubb

Credit Insurance News
Trade credit insurers provide a lifeline to help businesses cope with record levels of bad debt. Latest figures published by the ABI have highlighted the extent to which trade credit insurers have helped UK firms deal with a record level of bad debt. According to the ABI's data, influenced by the collapse of Thomas Cook the value of the average claim made in Q3 2019 increased by over 200% - to just over £67,000, while the average bad debt claim paid by trade credit insurers covering UK domestic and export markets was £67,300. This is the highest figure ever recorded, and an increase of 228% compared to the previous quarter. Furthermore, the value of new claims received in Q3 2019 leapt to £271 million, from £82 million in Q2 - nearly double the previous high of £137 million in Q1 2009. To read the ABI's news release go to https://www.abi.org.uk/news/news-articles/2020/01/trade-credit-insurers-providing-a-lifeline-to-help-businesses-cope-with-record-levels-of-bad-debt/.
Creating awareness with regulators: The challenge for the trade credit insurance industry. Trade Finance Global has published a recent video and interview transcript of a Q&A with Robert Nijhout, Executive Director, International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA), in which Mr Nijhout describes the increase of non-cancelable limits, 'platformization', blockchain, and regulation in the trade credit insurance industry. Regarding regulation, Mr Nijhout notes that the trade credit insurance sector is often "lumped together with the larger insurance sector for whom this regulation is usually drafted." As a result, he suggests that one of the industry's greatest challenges is creating awareness and "working with regulators on trying to get more recognition for the specific needs of credit insurance." To read Trade Finance Global's transcript or watch the video go to https://www.tradefinanceglobal.com/posts/video-industry-body-insight-innovations-in-trade-credit-insurance-surety-bonds/.
Empowering trade with trade credit insurance specialism. AIG has published an article which examines how trade finance and trade credit insurance empower trade and describes how companies with effective risk management processes may benefit from non-cancellable trade credit insurance cover. AIG notes that unlike traditional trade credit insurance, where insurers may from time to time reduce or remove credit limits to reflect changing risk, a non-cancellable policy requires a much higher level of risk-sharing between insurer and policyholder; empowering companies to maintain their trade flows as well as protect their customer relationships. To read AIG's article go to https://www.aig.co.uk/insight-page/article-empowering-trade-insurance-specialism?cmpid=SMC-tw-AIGemea-UK_Trade_Empower-20200103110700.
The number of US business insolvencies in 2020 looks set to far exceed the predicted global average. Global Trade has published an article in which Atradius' Chief Economist, John Lorié, cautions that even with the possibility that trade growth could rebound in 2020 to a modest 1.5%, economic uncertainty remains high. He also predicts that the number of US business insolvencies will increase by 3.9% increase in 2020 - far above the 2.6% global average - and warns that while "the clout" of those favouring a no-deal Brexit has been diminished, a no-deal Brexit is still possible. To read Global Trade's article go to https://www.globaltrademag.com/global-trade-2019-wrap-up-and-2020-forecast/.
Firms in Northern Ireland are warned to prepare for another difficult 12 months. Belfast Telegraph has published an article in which Nigel Birney, Head of Trade Credit Insurance at Willis Towers Watson, warns that turbulence in 2019 at major manufacturing firms in Northern Ireland (such as bus manufacturer Wrights Group), could herald more problems for other manufacturers and smaller firms in their supply chain. He also notes that there are indications Northern Ireland could already be in recession and that, earlier in 2019, trade credit insurance policy payouts had already hit a 10-year high. To read Belfast Telegraph's article go to https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/northern-ireland/northern-ireland-firms-warned-to-prepare-for-another-difficult-12-months-38794008.html.
Insolvencies to rise in 4 out of 5 countries in 2020. Euler Hermes' latest Global Insolvency Report has reported that global business insolvencies increased by 9% in 2019, mainly due to a prolonged surge in China (+20%) and, to a lesser extent, Western Europe (+2%) and North America (+3%). The outlook also remains poor for this year, with a 6% increase in global insolvencies predicted - which will make 2020 the fourth year in a row to see increased insolvencies. China will again be a key contributor to this increase (+10%) as will India (+11%), while Western Europe, will see increases of +1.7%. All in all, four out of five countries will post a rise in insolvencies in 2020, with Brazil (-3% y/y) and France (0%) as notable exceptions. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/en_global/media-news/news/euler-hermes-global-insolvency-index--insolvencies-to-rise-in-4-.html.
Atradius pulls cover on UK decoiler C Brown and Sons. Argus Media has reported that, according to market sources, Atradius has completely withdrawn cover on UK decoiler C Brown and Sons and one large mill selling to C Brown. C Brown and Sons Director, Tim Brown, told Argus Media: "We cannot comment on any relationship we have with Atradius, but we are sure you are aware of the current trading conditions that are affecting all within the steel stockholding sector." The article notes that UK decoilers have had a challenging year, with continuous declines in coil prices hitting stock value and weighing on margins and high-profile cases of Meridian Metal Trading and Parker Steel, and British Steel going into receivership. To read Argus' article go to https://www.argusmedia.com/en/news/2036854-atradius-pulls-cover-on-uk-decoiler-c-browns?
Euler Hermes announces a partnership with a new invoice-based insurance platform. Euler Hermes has announced a partnership with Moment, an invoice-based insurance platform, through which Euler Hermes will provide Moment with tailor-made, fixed price policies based on its Single Invoice Cover API. Euler Hermes Digital Agency (a structure dedicated to innovation to reinvent credit insurance) initially created the service, which has now been spun off as a fully-fledged company led by CEO and co-founder Raphael Kakon. To see Euler Hermes' news release go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/en_global/media-news/news/euler-hermes-to-partner-with-fintech-moment--an-original-innovat.html.
Members of the Berne Union report a lack of growth in underlying trade volumes. The Berne Union has announced that it has published its latest BUlletin for January 2020. Articles include an examination of mega-trends in trade and whether the global economy will improve in 2020, and a detailed study of the export credit insurance business in history, today, and in the future. The BUlletin also notes that insurers of short-term trade credit reported US$1.7 trillion aggregate credit limits issued at the end of June – no real change since the end of 2018 - reflecting a lack of growth in underlying trade volume. To download a copy of the BUlletin go to https://www.berneunion.org/Newsletter.
Nexus to underwrite their trade credit products on a fully admitted basis in the US. Nexus Specialty Inc has announced that it has reached an agreement with Crum & Forster that allows Nexus to underwrite their trade credit products on a fully admitted basis in the US. Antje Seiffert-Murphy, Head of Trade Credit USA and Canada at Nexus Specialty Inc., commented: "The uniqueness of the US market, where local competitors mainly place business on an admitted basis, provided us with the challenge to make more inroads into writing small and mid-market business. . . . we will be almost unique in combining non-cancellable limits with an underwriting system more prevalent with cancellable limit underwriters.” To read Nexus' news release go to http://www.nexusunderwriting.com/news/nexus-specialty-inc.-to-offer-us-admitted-paper-nationally-for-its-trade-credit-facility.
Bonmarche failure highlights the value of trade credit insurance. The recent administration of Bonmarche Limited, which went into administration owing £14,511,500 to 763 UK unsecured creditors, has highlighted the soaring cost of high street retail failures to unsecured creditors. Furthermore, according to Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, other well-known UK high street retailers remain under threat. “There are two or three large retailers in perilous financial positions (users of the InfolinkGazette Profit Warning analysis will know who they are)." He notes: "Suppliers trading without credit insurance will rack up significant losses when these troubled retailers disappear in 2020.” To read InfolinkGazette's news release go to https://www.infolinkgazette.com/?pid=6.
The number of large UK corporate failures spiked in Q3 2019. Insurance Business has reported that, according to Euler Hermes, the number of large corporate failures rose by 15% in the third quarter of 2019, with 88 such failures - including the high-profile collapse of Thomas Cook in September. Fabrice Desnos, Head of Euler Hermes in Northern Europe, told Financial Times: "The failure of a very large company like a Thomas Cook has a very big impact on the supply chain.” Euler Hermes now expects an overall 8% increase in corporate insolvencies this year, and another 8% increase in 2020. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/breaking-news/number-of-large-corporate-failures-spikes-in-q3--euler-hermes-194910.aspx.
What were the top trade finance topics of 2019? GTR (Global Trade Review) has advised that having monitored click-through rates and time spent on-page, the key topics that trade professionals are most interested in are: continued disruption from fintechs, changes in regulation, incidents of trade finance fraud, the ever-growing number of consortiums created to foster collaboration between rivals, and the need to accelerate sustainability. Throughout 2019, trade finance (and GTR’s editorial team) has also encountered a fair number of repeated buzzwords. The most popular terms include ‘network’, ‘platform’, ‘seamless’ (a reoccurring offender) and ‘portal’. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/global/5-hot-trade-finance-topics-of-2019/.
Business failures in France are less frequent but of a larger size. Coface has reported that although the overall number of corporate insolvencies in France declined for the fourth consecutive year in 2019, the first ten months of the year were marked by an increase in insolvencies of larger companies (those generating more than €5 million in revenue). Most notably, six companies (Orchestra, Arjowiggins, Thomas Cook, XL Airways, Aigle Azur, Toupargel) with a turnover of more than €200 million initiated insolvency proceedings during the period. Coface now expects a slight rebound in insolvencies in 2020 (+0.9%), mainly due to an anticipated slowdown in the construction sector. To read Coface's news release with a link to the full report, visit https://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Business-failures-in-France-are-less-frequent-but-of-a-larger-size.  
Lower Brexit uncertainty could lead to higher UK economic growth. Insurance Business has reported that Euler Hermes has noted that the Conservative Party’s recent landslide victory, and consequent certainty around Brexit, could lead to higher economic growth. As such, Euler Hermes has revised its 2020 growth forecast for the UK from 0.8% to 1.0% but warns that challenges around striking a trade deal with the European Union and implementing border controls in the Irish sea may still impact the economy. Euler Hermes also said that turning the UK into the “Singapore” of Europe may remain "a pipedream". To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/breaking-news/insurer-raises-uk-economic-forecast-on-the-back-of-lower-brexit-uncertainty-195005.aspx.
Atradius predicts that UK food business insolvencies will increase further in 2020. Atradius' latest Market Monitor Food for the UK notes that although the British food and beverages sector value added is forecast to grow by up to 2.5% in 2019, followed by a 1.6% expansion in 2020, significant challenges remain. Larger players continue to push the supply chain on price and longer payment terms, adding cash flow challenges to mainly smaller food businesses. Food business failures are expected to rise in the UK by about 8%. To read Atradius' report go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/market-monitor-food-united-kingdom-2019.html.
Global conditions to remain challenging for manufacturers in 2020. Manufacturing Global has published an article in which Shannon Murphy, Assistant Head of Risk Underwriting and manufacturing expert at Euler Hermes, examines the last 12 months and explains where the risks lie for the manufacturing sector in the year ahead. He advises that 2019 has been a difficult year  - especially for the UK’s manufacturing firms -  with the number of UK manufacturing businesses entering insolvency reaching its highest level in five years in 2019. Furthermore, looking ahead, 2020 is unlikely to see a marked improvement globally. To read Manufacturing Global's article go to https://www.manufacturingglobal.com/leadership/global-conditions-remain-challenging-manufacturers-2020.  
ECI and HSBC announce a plan to work together to help UAE organizations and exporters get to worldwide markets. CPI Financial has reported that Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI) has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with HSBC to help UAE organizations and exporters get to worldwide markets. Abdulfattah Sharaf, Group General Manager, Chief Executive Officer, UAE and Head of International, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, stated: “The UAE is the Middle East’s driving universal exchanging center point and we see gigantic potential here." To read CPI Financial's news release go to https://www.cpifinancial.net/bme/news/eci-hsbc-partner-to-support-uae-businesses.
Liquidx has announced the expansion of its products to include Supply Chain Finance (SCF). The SCF solution is the first to be deployed on LiquidX’s new web-based portal, a technology platform which provides access to multiple trade finance and insurance products. Jim Toffey, CEO of LiquidX, commented: “Clients can now transact across Supply Chain Finance, Accounts Receivable, Inventory Finance, and Trade Credit Insurance all in one place.” To read Liquidx's news release go to http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/12/18/1962424/0/en/LiquidX-expands-with-the-launch-of-its-Global-Supply-Chain-Finance-Solution.html.
New Appointments
Euler Hermes has made a number of new appointments:
  • Ed Goos, currently CEO Euler Hermes Central Eastern Europe (CEE), is appointed as CEO Euler Hermes Belgium. 
  • Francis Jespers, currently CEO Euler Hermes Netherlands, succeeds Ed Goos as CEO Euler Hermes CEE. He will be responsible for Euler Hermes operations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.
  • Mike de Bresser, currently commercial director, Euler Hermes UK & Ireland, will replace Mr Jespers as CEO Hermes Netherlands.
  • Bernd Lehmann, currently CEO Euler Hermes Belgium, will become Head of SME partners Germany.
  • Alexis Garatti is appointed Director of Economic Research for the Euler Hermes Group. He will be assisted by Ana Boata, newly appointed Director of Macroeconomic Research, and Maxime Lemerle, now Director of Economic Research for Sectors.
Canopius has announced two new appointments:
  • Andrew Tongue joins Canopius as underwriter, trade & political risk, acting as deputy to Crispin Hodges, head of trade & political risk. Mr Tongue joins Canopius from Swiss Re where worked as senior underwriter, political risks and trade credit.
  • Claire Kennett has been appointed as underwriter, trade & political risk in Canopius' political risk team. Ms Kennett joins from Acapella Syndicate. She previously held roles at Aon Underwriting Managers and Liberty Specialty Markets.  
News Quiz
We are delighted to launch January's News Quiz.
Just six short questions (all answers can be found in this issue and Credit Management News Digest with the chance to win a £15 Amazon gift card or equivalent donation to the charity of your choice.
We will announce our next winner in the next issue on 12 February.
Click here to take part.
Job Vacancies 
Customer Connect Executive within Customer Connect Team
Competitive (£20k to £30k depending on experience)
Due to continued growth EFCIS Ltd are currently recruiting for an additional member to the Customer Connect Broker Support team to be based in our Hastingwood office in Essex.
EFCIS Ltd is committed to making a real difference to the Credit Insurance market, we are one of the largest independent UK Brokers with global reach in 46 countries via our ICBA network.
We provide Credit Insurance and financial solutions to all B2B companies to assist them in protecting their business via risk assessment and our added value business tools.
EFCIS is a firm believer in technical innovation, to help us guarantee exceptional client service and leading-edge financial solutions. Our growing success reflects our commitment and vibrant working culture. To help us drive our success into the future, we are looking for an experienced candidate to offer business support to our brokers/directors within the Customer Connect Team.

As a Customer Connect Executive you will be working as part of a busy skilled broker team, assisting in:
  • Administration / support tasks, in relation to renewals and midterm adjustments in client Credit Insurance policies
  • Completing necessary FCA compliance paperwork
  • Liaising with clients to conduct high level policy management
  • Call handling, taking messages and dealing with basic client queries
  • Analysing domestic/international credit limits and providing necessary feedback
  • Database entry
  • Running and testing various IT platforms
  • Gathering and analysing company statistics
  • Ongoing daily workflow, including calendar/inbox management
  • Meeting expected turnaround times
  • Responsible for adhering to all EFCIS business procedures
  • Pro-actively responding to the challenges as EFCIS grows, prioritising those solutions/demands and managing expectations of customers
  • Supporting senior individuals to achieve their targets/objectives, as well as expanding their own knowledge of Credit Insurance and principles of underwriting 
Essential knowledge:
  • Outlook
  • Word (high level)
  • Excel (high level)
  • PowerPoint 
 Beneficial Knowledge:
  • Credit Insurance market
  • Broker market (not necessarily Credit Insurance) 
Individuals requirements: 
  • Organised and Methodical – Keeping yourself and the senior brokers organised is an essential part of the role
  • Pro Active – Able to self-manage and plan your own workloads, proactively prioritising work based on the team’s inflow of work
  • Self-Motivation – Strives to stay ahead by anticipating rather than reacting; ensures that their actions are always carefully considered
  • Procedures – Happy to help set ongoing procedures and improve existing ones as the team grows and we fine tune the EFCIS way of servicing
  • Enthusiastic – Looking for an enthusiastic and innovative individual that can handle significant workflow with good time management skills
  • Problem Solving – Identify, clarify, defines and work through challenges towards a defined outcome 
  • Integrity – Works to positively impact our clients and colleagues
To apply for this role please send your curriculum vitae and a covering letter to Laura Martin at laura.martin@efcis.com
Events & Offers
Supply Chain Finance Summit, 30-31 January 2020. Amsterdam
The fifth annual Supply Chain Finance Summit is a great opportunity to learn about the latest trends, ideas and developments transforming working capital and supply chain management, as well as a chance to network with leaders in the industry.
This in-depth event tracks the transformation of supply chain finance (SCF); showcasing the latest innovations within the industry for both domestic and cross-border financing, examining the future of technology-enabled supply chain models, and driving the conversation on increasing access of SCF for SMEs and emerging markets.
As event partners, Credit Insurance News can offer their members a 10% discount on a delegate pass rate. To register please follow this link https://bcrpub.com/events/supply-chain-finance-summit-1.
The Credit Insurance News delegate discount code is CIN20– please utilise the code upon booking. Alternatively you can contact yongmei.he@bcrpub.com quoting your discount code for payment via invoice.
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Academy’s 9th Supply Chain Finance Summit, 4-5 March 2020. Singapore.
Now in its 9th edition, the ICC Academy, the educational arm of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), is set to host the next chapter of its annual Supply Chain Finance Summit. Marked by its year-on- year success, the event returns to Singapore on 4-5 March 2020, highlighting the island city-state’s standing as a pivotal trade and financial hub that continues to shape the development of Asia’s supply chain.
Blending a more global perspective with regional highlights, the 2020 agenda will focus on some of the most in-demand subjects in the supply chain process. Topics of discussion to include the evolving role of corporate treasurers; alternative finance as the mainstay of SCF; innovative SCF and financing the digitized supply chain; managing the cross-border supply chain, ‘Green Supply Chain’ and a debate on Banks vs Fintech.
This two-day flagship event will bring together over 300+ of the most influential global trade and supply chain finance experts, banking professionals, business leaders, lawyers and government officials from over 20 countries to debate the critical issues affecting the physical supply chain and supply chain finance industry.
The signature event will aim at providing a platform for global professionals, practitioners, and institutionalists to exchange insights and ideas on the latest developments and challenges in the supply chain industry. Participants will be able to gain valuable knowledge from in-depth panel discussions, examine key case studies and enjoy an array of dedicated networking opportunities. In addition to the formal sessions, this summit will also be a valuable platform for informal dialogue among the fellow delegates and experts to share ideas and experiences and enjoy a good networking. For more information about the summit, login to the official event website.
Get 20% off with our early bird offer using code scf2020-earlybird until 31 Dec! 
About the Sponsor: Chubb
Chubb Global Markets (CGM) is the London Market wholesale and specialty division of Chubb European Group, part of Chubb Group - the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer.
CGM has twenty years' experience in underwriting Excess of Loss trade credit policies, providing non- cancellable cover to companies with well-established credit management procedures, offering certainty during uncertain political and economic times.
CGM’s trade credit underwriters are experienced in all aspects of the client relationship ensuring a single point of contact and quick decisions.
Chubb’s core political risk and credit underwriting expertise and its ability to provide bespoke wordings deliver a flexible underwriting approach to meet the changing needs of clients.
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