Welcome to issue 101 of Credit Insurance News Digest. The industry newsletter devoted to the global trade credit insurance industry. 
This issue is sponsored by STA International

Credit Insurance News
Credit insurance crunch time for the UK High Street. Drapers has published an article which reports that as credit insurance is withdrawn from troubled high street retailers, suppliers are struggling to find routes to market for big-volume orders. Suppliers told Drapers that the credit insurance crisis is impacting buying decisions and could drive retailers to source poorer-quality goods from substandard suppliers or ultimately cease trading. “One of the biggest issues we are facing is credit and finance,” said one High Street supplier. Another supplier commented: "Credit insurance can make or break everything at the moment – and as a supplier I can’t afford to take the losses, so it is down to who can actually take the risk." To read Drapers' article go to https://www.drapersonline.com/news/credit-insurance-crunch-time-for-high-street/7031250.article?
Basel III threatens to make trade credit cover ‘irrelevant’ for banks. Insurance Day has published an article which warns that proposed regulatory reforms are threatening to jeopardise a large part of the trade credit insurance market’s presence in Europe. According to Rob Nijhout, Executive Director of the International Credit Insurance and Surety Association (ICISA), proposed reforms under the Basel III regime could threaten the “symbiotic relationship” that exists between credit insurers and banks. “Trade credit insurance is traditionally seen as a risk mitigant for banks. A lot of financing is done on the condition a credit insurance contract is in place,” he told Insurance Day. Mr Nijhout estimates a bank is involved in between 30% and 70% of credit insurance policies in continental Europe. To read Insurance Day's article go to https://insuranceday.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/ID1123776/Basel-III-threatens-to-make-trade-credit-cover-irrelevant-for-banks? (subscription required).
Increased demand for political risk and trade credit insurance. Axco Insurance Information Services has published a report 'When Stakes are High: Political Risk and Trade Credit Re/Insurance', which provides an overview of the CPRI market, examines the key players in the market and discusses what the future may hold. The report notes that the myriad of threats currently faced by businesses - protectionism, unrest, currency volatility and economic interventionism - is prompting an increase in demand for political risk and trade credit insurance. As a result, the PRI market has become increasingly dynamic in recent years with the growth in the number of insurers from approximately 30 in 2010 to more than 60 in 2018. The private market capacity in London alone is currently estimated at US$ 3.25 billion for project and trade risks. The report is available free of charge at https://www.axcoinfo.com/intelligence/political-risk-trade-credit-re-insurance.aspx.
UK businesses are 'waking up' to supply chain risks. Insurance Business has published an article which reports that many organisations still lack an in-depth understanding of the complex and often global factors that can be at play even in a relatively simple supply chain. The ABI's assistant director and head of property, commercial and specialist lines, pointed to the collapse of the British construction firm, Carillion, as highlighting the current strain on supply chains. “This is a tough time to be in business, and it is not getting any easier,” commented Mark Shepherd. “The collapse of Carillion was one of a number of high-profile major insolvencies, which dramatically highlighted how the ripple effect of a company failure can have a devastating impact throughout the supply chain.” To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/risk-management/businesses-waking-up-to-supply-chain-risks-107257.aspx.
Trump’s sanctions halt trade credit insurers’ return to Iran. GTR (Global Trade Review) has reported that two weeks after renewed US sanctions against Iran, it appears that trade credit insurers are winding down the little business they had reinstated in the country since 2016. Speaking to GTR, Katayoon Valizadeh, a senior consultant in credit insurance and risk management in Tehran, says she has seen first-hand the withdrawal of most trade insurers from Iran. “After the announcement of the US sanctions, all private credit insurers who had some interests in dealing with the US stopped their cover on Iran." According to Ms Valizadeh, most trade credit insurers are involved in short-term deals. To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/mena/trumps-sanctions-halt-trade-credit-insurers-return-to-iran/.
The global economy's benign outlook looks set to lose steam in 2019. Atradius' latest Insolvency Forecasts for August 2018 note that the global economy currently looks healthy with a broad-based upswing bringing GDP growth to 3.1% this year - the fastest expansion since 2011- and a 4.6% decrease in insolvencies across advanced markets. However, looking slightly ahead, Atradius cautions that global growth looks set to lose momentum, and is set to ease to 2.9% in 2019 as downside risks, especially from trade policy uncertainty, increase. As a result, although Eurozone insolvencies are projected to fall by 5% this year, in 2019 they are projected to fall by only 1.8%. Atradius also warns that the US' current boom (GDP growth of 2.8% in 2018 and an 8% reduction in insolvencies) is likely to be temporary. To read Atradius' news release go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/economic-research/insolvency-forecast-August-2018.html.
Corporate debt hotspots are bubbling under a calm surface. Euler Hermes' latest research finds that a positive global trend to strengthen corporate balance sheets and reduce gearing is masking a rise in leverage in vulnerable sectors and regions. Maxime Lemerle, Head of Sector Research at Euler Hermes, said: “Thanks to strong earnings growth, net indebtedness has been largely kept in check. However, diving under this calm surface reveals some bubbling hotspots of potential risks both for companies and their suppliers in a number of sectors and regions.” Euler Hermes found that the sectors most at risk include paper, transportation and textile, while Southern Europe was particularly vulnerable to over-leveraged corporates. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Corporate-Debt-Hotspots-Bubbling-Under-A-Calm-Surface.aspx.
UK insolvencies are set to increase by 6% in 2018. Tepid economic growth and Brexit-related uncertainty are leading to increased business failures in the UK. Atradius' latest Insolvency Outlook advises that while the UK economy has demonstrated resilience through 2016 and 2017, economic growth is set to ease to 1.3% in 2018 and 1.4% in 2019, with UK insolvencies predicted to increase by 6% in 2018 followed by another 3% increase in 2019. However, Atradius also stresses that their baseline scenario assumes that the official exit from the EU next year is followed immediately by a transition arrangement. In the case that this agreement does not work out, and a hard Brexit takes place, Atradius warns that the number of corporate failures in the UK would likely increase further. To read Atradius' news release go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/economic-research/insolvency-forecast-August-2018.html.
Trade credit insurers reduce their cover for Debenhams. Retail Gazette has published an article which examines the current difficulties being experienced by Debenhams following last month's latest profit warning. This includes the news that Euler Hermes has now reduced its cover amid concerns that Debenhams was struggling to pay its bills in full, while Atradius and Coface have also reportedly refused to cover new shipments for the retailer in recent days. Debenhams blamed competitor discounting and market weakness when it issued its latest profit warning. To read Retail Gazette's article go to https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2018/07/debenhams-blow-defend-partnership-despite-rumours-sale/.
The reduction of trade credit insurance indicates harder times ahead for Debenhams. Drapers has published an article which examines the difficulties that recent cut-backs to Debenhams' credit insurance cover may precipitate. Retail analyst Richard Hyman suggests that the reduction of credit insurance at the retailer could be a sign of worse to come. “Credit insurance is a key indicator of trading pressure. Usually, credit insurers receive trading numbers from the retailer, beyond what is in the public domain." He continued: “Reducing credit insurance suggests the insurers have seen a deterioration in trading. Otherwise, why else would they reduce cover?” To read Drapers' article go to https://www.drapersonline.com/news/product-and-pricing-key-for-debenhams-say-experts/7031328.article.
Note: In the past two days, Debenhams has been in the news again following reports that it is currently working with KPMG and considering a list of options that include a company voluntary agreement (CVA).
How trade credit insurance has protected suppliers from House of Fraser's demise. Howden's Executive Director - Head of Trade Credit, Stuart Grice, has published an article 'House of Fraser: should suppliers to the retail sector be concerned?' which examines how the knock-on impact on suppliers resulting from the recent demise of House of Fraser could have been avoided. Howden calculates that total supplier debt is in the region of £60 million, of which, the press suggests, only 3p in the Pound will likely be paid. Mr Grice notes that although House of Fraser's difficulties were well documented in the build-up to the failure, credit insurers continued to support their clients - even as late as July. In contrast to suppliers left out of pocket, insured businesses are now starting to make claims on their policies. To read Howden's article go to https://www.howdengroup.co.uk/en/knowledge-base/trade-credit/house-of-fraser-should-suppliers-to-the-retail-sector-be-concerned/.
BPL Global sets up a new team to tap into the growing XoL market. GTR (Global Trade Review) has reported that BPL Global is targeting the excess of loss (XoL) market with the creation of a specialised division which can provide up to 100% cover for financial institutions purchasing pools of receivables. The London-based team will be headed up by Jonny Carruthers, who joined BPL Global in 2015. Mike Lagrue, Jemma McGrady and James Cook make up the rest of the new team and are all internal moves.  Mr Carruthers commented: “We see this as a strong alternative for banks to relying on their clients’ own insurance and a less secure loss-payee position. By having their own insurance policy, banks can obtain regulatory capital relief, eliminate operational risks and improve their advance rate.” To read GTR's article go to https://www.gtreview.com/news/on-the-move/bpl-global-sets-up-new-team-to-tap-into-growing-xol-market/.
Ascot creates a new US trade credit division with Atradius and Zurich hires. Ascot, a Bermuda headquartered insurance and reinsurance firm, has announced that it has launched a new trade credit insurance division in the US led by Doug Collins and Anthony Barrett. Mr Collins, who will lead all aspects of Ascot’s US trade credit business, has been in the industry for over twenty-three years having spent the last fourteen years with Atradius, most recently serving as Head of Risk Services for the Americas. Mr Barrett has spent the last four years as SVP-Head of Multi-Buyer Trade Credit at Zurich North America, prior to which he spent 10 years in various senior roles at Atradius in North America. To read Ascot's news release go to https://ascotgroup.com/ascot-launches-new-trade-credit-division/.
Canopius’ credit and political risk hiring spree continues. Insurance Business has published an article which reports that Canopius has teamed up with credit and political risk managing general agent Anvil Underwriting Ltd. Announcing the partnership, Canopius said it has signed an agreement allowing Anvil to underwrite credit insurance, contract frustration, and political risks on its behalf. With the Anvil tie-up, Canopius will be able to provide policy limits of up to US$25 million and tenor of up to 10 years for contract frustration, as well as a maximum of US$15 million and seven years for trade and non-trade credit risk. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/war-political-risk/canopius-in-underwriting-tieup-with-anvil-110241.aspx.
Increased insolvencies predicted in the UK Automotive sector. Atradius' latest Market Monitor report for the UK Automotive sector warns that 2018 sales are being negatively affected by Brexit uncertainty with a reduction in automotive sector output of 3.7% (to 1.75 million vehicles). Looking ahead, both payment delays and insolvencies are expected to increase in the coming months as decreasing investments and lower production will impact suppliers. Although, for the time being, Atradius' underwriting stance remains ‘open to neutral’ towards the UK automotive sector, the impact of any US punitive tariffs on automotive imports as well as Brexit could further affect the sector’s performance in the coming months. To read Atradius' news release go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/market-monitor-automotive-uk-2018.html.
Market Monitor reports for the Automotive sector are also available for the following countries: China, US, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden.
African companies could free up US$35 billion of working capital in 2018. New research by Euler Hermes has found that if suppliers were to offer African companies payment terms of 30 days after delivery of goods and services, rather than demand payment in cash in advance, this could release more than US$33.5 billion of additional working capital to be put to more productive use in 2018 or US$45 billion by 2020. "Lower imports combined with lower payment terms (64% of imports are paid in advance) explains this result,” Euler Hermes' Chief Economist Ludovic Subran said. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/AFRICAN-COMPANIES-COULD-FREE-UP-AN-ADDITIONAL-33-5-BILLION-DOLLARS-OF-WORKING-CAPITAL-.aspx.
Web-based trade credit insurance platform begins underwriting. Insurance Business UK has reported that Toredo, the London Credit Consortium (LCC), which provides capacity to web-based specialised trade credit insurance platform has underwritten its first risk and is developing a pipeline of transactions. LCC is a partnership of Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM), Canopius, and The Channel Syndicate. It was formed to afford up to $75 million of capacity per risk with a maximum two-year period. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/breaking-news/webbased-trade-credit-insurance-platform-begins-underwriting-107216.aspx.
CEE countries growth rate in 2017 reached its highest level in eight years. Coface has published its tenth annual study on the biggest 500 companies in Central and Eastern Europe – the Coface CEE Top 500 - and has noted that overall, 2017 was an excellent year for CEE countries and their largest companies. Growth was mainly driven by higher private consumption, a rebound in external demand for exports - thanks to the recovery of the Eurozone - and improving demand from Russia. The average GDP growth rate reached 4.5% - its highest level in the last eight years (3.1% in 2016 and 3.7% in 2015). As a result, the top 500 companies finished the year with an increase in turnover of 11.8% to €652 billion. Poland is home to most of the Top 500 giants. To read Coface's news release with a link to the full report and an Infographic go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Coface-announces-CEE-Top-500-companies-Household-consumption-boosts-economic-activity-in-CEE.
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 2018. The AU 'G-Grade' is based on the individual assessment of a country by each of the four main credit insurers and is calculated according to the real risk taken by these major insurers collectively. In addition, seven key indicators provided by the IMF Statistics Department give a view on the key trends and the level of risk per country. In this issue, seven significant changes have occurred: two upgrades (Greece and Myanmar) and five downgrades (Turkey, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Iran and Nicaragua). To download a copy of AU Group's free report go to http://www.au-group.com/how-to-monitor-country-risks/
Coface to acquire Slovenian credit insurer PKZ. Coface has announced that it has signed a binding agreement with SID Bank, a Slovenian public bank, to acquire 100% of PKZ capital, a credit insurance subsidiary of SID Bank. Created by SID Bank in 2005, PKZ is the market leader in credit insurance in Slovenia, with a strong market share. In 2017, the company recorded €15.1 million of gross written premiums on an export business focused portfolio. Declan Daly, CEO Central Europe region commented: "This acquisition will strengthen our footprint in Central Europe and will improve the service we provide to our customers in this region.” To read Coface's news release go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Coface-announces-the-signature-of-an-agreement-to-acquire-PKZ-the-credit-insurance-subsidiary-of-SID-Bank.
An interview with new BPL Global director, Sam Evans. Insurance Business has published an interview with Sam Evans, the recently appointed Director of BPL Global, which discusses a range of topics from the dress code at Lloyds to the "significant" changes Mr Evans has seen in both the CPRI market and the wider London insurance world since he began working for BPL Global in 2004. “I am always struck by the realisation that the CPRI market has doubled in size since I joined,” Mr Evans said, citing an increased market demand in recent years, which he said is a reflection of the rising geopolitical uncertainties facing clients. To read Insurance Business' article go to https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/war-political-risk/bpl-global-director-the-changing-face-of-insurance-and-the-political-risk-market-110933.aspx.
Berne Union's latest BUlletins are now available. The latest two editions of BUlletin, the newsletter of the Berne Union are now available at https://www.berneunion.org/Newsletter.
Articles include: 
  • Cross-border E-commerce sellers in expanding global market - Sinosure reports that with the support of business technology and big data, the development of cross-border e-commerce has a promising future.
  • The economic impact of smart ledgers on world trade … and for the export credit and investment insurance industry.
  • Assessing startup potential in insurtech. 
  • H2 2018 Risk Outlook – Chief economists from Atradius, Coface and Euler Hermes tell us what to look out for.
  • Trade at War – JF Lambert decries the self-defeating use of commodity-tariffs in waging trade wars 
  • In for the long haul: Export finance and financial regulation. 
Congratulations to . . .
Both Atradius and Euler Hermes were recipients of awards at Hong Kong Business 2018. Atradius won the International Business Award for Insurance Technology. Euler Hermes won the International Business Award for Business Insurance.
Coface France has been recognised as the Best Credit Insurance brand France 2018 Award by Global Brands Magazine. In the Insurance category, Coface stands out for its “exceptional commitment to innovation, quality, branding activities, customer service and performance in France.”
Credendo – Single Risk has been assigned a financial strength rating of ‘A-‘with a stable outlook by Standard & Poors Global Ratings. This is the first time that S&P assigned a rating to Credendo – Single Risk. The credit assessment by S&P was solicited following the successful capital increase of €40 million in June this year.
Coface has announced that its AA- Financial Strength (IFS) rating has been affirmed. The outlook remains stable. The AA- IFS ratings of Coface North America Insurance Company and Coface Re, two other major insurance operating entities of the Group, have also been affirmed with a stable outlook. 
New Appointments
Gallagher has announced plans to bolster its Manchester-based team with two experienced specialists: 
  • Bringing 28 years’ experience, Colin Cunningham has been appointed to the UK-wide role of National Sales Leader for Trade Credit & Surety. Mr Cunningham previously spent 17 years at Marsh in Manchester, the last five as national sales leader for trade credit in the UK and Ireland.
  • Rachel Smailes has also joined the Manchester team as Account Executive, bringing 27 years’ experience in trade credit. In addition to taking responsibility for managing existing client portfolios, Ms Smailes will use her expertise and local market knowledge to support the business development agenda for the North.
Markel has announced that it has appointed Jennifer Chang as Underwriter and Senior Risk Analyst in its trade credit and political risk operation in New York. Ms Chang has nine years experience in the trade credit insurance industry and joins Markel from Zurich American Insurance Co. She will work closely with senior underwriter Howard Lee and underwriter Christen Mizell. She will also support Arjan van de Wall, Development Director for the team globally, based in the US.
Canopius has announced that it has appointed Sean Redden as Underwriting Counsel for its specialty division, with a specific focus on credit and political risk. Mr Redden, a qualified lawyer, joins from Chubb Insurance, where he was Global Political risk and Credit Claims Manager. He previously held positions at Signature Litigation, Aspen Insurance, Clyde & Co, Allens and Minter Ellison.
Coface has announced the appointment of Carmina Abad Sánchez as the new CEO, Latin America Region, reporting to Xavier Durand, Group CEO. Ms Abad Sánchez has more than 30 years of experience holding senior leadership positions in the insurance industry. Before joining Coface she was Chairman of Swiss Re Group in Mexico and CEO of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions in Mexico.
PIB Insurance Brokers announced that it has appointed Maria Antonia De Carli to its TradeRisk Solutions unit. Ms De Carli – who has worked in France, China, and Brazil in addition to the UK – will also join the team for XoL (Excess of Loss) programmes for trade financiers. She previously worked for Aon’s political risk and structured credit team.
Chubb has announced that Mike Berry it has appointed as Head of Surety for Europe, responsible for the performance, strategy and profitable growth of Chubb's surety business in Continental Europe in addition to that in the UK & Ireland. 
QBE has announced two new appointments: James Robertson as a New Business Underwriter responsible for London and the South East, and John Lott as a Risk Underwriter. Mr Robertson previously worked at QBE's Sydney office as a Business Development Manager. Mr Lott joins QBE from Equinox Global, and previously worked for Euler Hermes and Atradius in their Risk Underwriting departments.
Marsh has announced that both Emma Reaney and Kimberley Kavanagh have been appointed as Client Advisors at its Birmingham Office. In addition, the 12 member of Bluefin's Trade Credit team are now fully incorporated within the Marsh business. 
Business Information & Reports
Credit Managers report that the UK economy is faltering. Growing evidence that the UK economy may be on a downward spiral is suggested in the latest (Q2 2018) UK’s Credit Managers’ Index which has hit a five-year low. Manufacturing is particularly on the decline, down 1.2 points to 56.0 - eight points down from the same time last year. Services also saw a drop, down 0.7 points to end the quarter on 53.9. Both figures, however, remain above the critical 50-point threshold. In addition, all unfavourable factors have steadily declined over the past year, although some have been more drastic than others. Among these, Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), a typical measurement for late payment, is down 13.7 points from Q2 2017, while Bad Debt Provision has dropped 11.2 points in the same period. For more information go to http://www.cicm.com.
2018 - UK Retail's Year of Crisis. Research by the Centre for Retail Research reports that 2018 will be the worst year for UK shops since 2018, the height of the recession. In the year to August 2018, 29 companies failed, with 2,085 stores affected and 38,933 employees. At just over half-way through the year, the number of stores affected has already surpassed full-year figures for the last four years, with only 2013 recording more affected stores - with 2500 affected for the whole year. Major recent failures include House of Fraser, Saltrock, Poundworld and Gaucho. Both Poundworld and House of Fraser number among the most notable failures since the recession. For more information go to http://www.retailresearch.org/whosegonebust.php.
UK corporate health deteriorates by 9%. According to Begbies Traynor’s latest Red Flag Alert research for Q2 2018, 472,183 UK businesses were experiencing ‘Significant’ financial distress at the end of June 2018, up 9% compared to the same stage last year but down 1% compared to the previous three months of the year. In addition, 251,495 UK businesses ended the period in a position of negative net worth, while 109,717 demonstrated a considerable increase in their working capital deficit. The sectors with the highest number of businesses in distress year-on-year were Support Services (up 10%), Construction (up 4%), Real Estate (up 19%), Telecoms (up 9%) and General Retailers (up 4%). To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to https://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/news/business-health-statistics/uk-corporate-health-deteriorates-9-leaving-472000-businesses-in-financial-distress.
Shoppers take a Summer holiday from the UK high street. According to figures released by BDO, UK stores have failed to grow sales for almost a year, while sales in August were the worst August decline for three years. BDO confirmed it is the seventh month in a row for negative in-store sales, and the eleventh month in succession where bricks-and-mortar growth has failed to exceed 1%. The fashion sector saw its worst August since 2015, with sales down in-store in every week of August and down by more than 3% in three weeks of the month. Homewares stores saw sales growth plummet -6.1% year-on-year in August from a base of +1.9% for August 2017 - the worst August for homeware since 2012. Lifestyle was the only sector to avoid a fall in year-on-year growth, flatlining at 0%. To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2018/shoppers-take-a-summer-holiday-from-the-high-street.
Underlying trends show increasing numbers of corporate insolvencies in the UK. The Insolvency Services's latest statistics indicate that although the number of UK corporate insolvencies decreased by 12.4% (3,918 companies) in Q2 2018 compared to Q1, they were 12% higher than in the same quarter in 2017. Excluding bulk insolvencies, the construction industry had the highest number of insolvencies in the 12 months ending Q2 2018. Stuart Frith, president of R3, commented: While there has been a lot of attention on ‘big name’ insolvencies since the start of the year, particularly on the High Street, it’s important to remember that one business’s struggles can have a serious knock-on effect on its suppliers and customers. Recent R3 research found that over a quarter (26%) of UK companies have suffered a hit to their finances following the insolvency of a customer, supplier or debtor in the last six months." To read The Insolvency Services' news release go to https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/729810/Insolvency_Statistics_Commentary_-_Q2_2018.pdf.
The proportion of UK small businesses fearing collapse doubles in three months. According to new research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance, the number of small businesses in the UK predicting growth for the next three months has hit its lowest level for more than a year – and the number predicting that they will struggle to survive or close has doubled from 5% to 10% in just three months. Hitachi Capital’s Business Barometer tracks small business confidence every quarter: Over the last two years, the proportion of small business owners fearing collapse has been consistent at around 4-5% for seven consecutive quarters. This quarter however, the figure has doubled. Click here to read Hitachi Capital Business Finance's news release.
UK economic growth gathers momentum. According to new Office for National Statistics, the UK economy expanded by 0.6% in the three months to July compared with the previous three months after growing by 0.4% in the second quarter. This was slightly higher than the 0.5% monthly GDP forecast that the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) had previously predicted. Amit Kara, NIESR's Head of UK macroeconomic forecasting, said “The economy gathered momentum in the three months to July after rebounding from the weather-related disruption in the first quarter and is now growing at a speed that is faster than our estimate of potential. Looking ahead into August and September, we see the economy maintain the 0.6% three-month-on-three-month growth rate driven mainly by growth in the services and construction sectors.” To read NIESR's news release go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/media/press-release-september-gdp-tracker-uk-economic-growth-gathers-momentum-13485.
The DSO of US companies is set to reach a ten-year high. New research from The Hackett Group has found that although the 1000 largest non-financial companies in the US significantly improved their ability to generate cash in 2017, there has been a significant increase in the time companies take to pay suppliers. In 2017, Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) rose by 4.4% to 39.5 days. Craig Bailey, The Hackett Group Associate Principal, commented: “The primary strategy many companies are using to improve working capital performance is simply to hold back payments to suppliers, in some cases extending payment terms up to 120 days." To read The Hacket Group's news release go to https://www.thehackettgroup.com/news/hackett-u-s-cos-improve-working-capital-performance-deterioration-in-receivables-and-inventory-management-masked-by-significant-slowing-of-payments-to-suppliers/
Sterling volatility is a major ongoing concern for UK exporters. The latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) in partnership with DHL, indicates that many exporters are performing well but economic and political factors are weighing on them. The results show 60% of exporting manufacturers and 43% of service exporters were more concerned about exchange rates in the second quarter of the year than in the previous three months. Elsewhere, the BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, which measures the volume of trade documents issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce for goods shipments, decreased slightly on the quarter (-1.34%), but still stands higher than at the same quarter in the previous year. To read the BCC's news release go to https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/news/2018/08/bccdhl-sterling-volatility-major-ongoing-concern-for-exporters.
Worldwide business optimism softens. According to global research from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR), in Q2 2018 business leaders globally are less optimistic about the coming economic cycle. Following the highest level of optimism seen in the UK since the referendum on EU membership, this quarter has seen optimism fall by 14%, but it remains above levels seen in the second half of last year. Synonymous with the fall in the UK, EU optimism also fell by 14% with a notable divergence seen between two of the biggest EU economies, France and Germany. Optimism in France fell sharply from 75% to 38% whilst Germany remained at net 74%. Italy also saw a large fall – down from net 30% to net 14%. To read Grant Thornton's news release go to https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/en/news-centre/uncertainty-is-new-norm-for-uk-businesses-post-referendum/.
Career Opportunities

Credit Insurance - Account Handler.
TL Dallas & Co Limited, Falkirk/Glasgow.
TL Dallas is one of the UK's leading independent Insurance Broking and Risk Management companies with offices throughout the UK.  We have a long and distinguished heritage and have been providing insurance services and solutions since 1919. We believe it is the relationships we have with our clients that allow us to fully understand their insurance requirements and our pursuit of continued service excellence is at the heart of all we do. Our people are key to our success and our values; Trust, Collaboration, Integrity and Commitment are ingrained into the TL Dallas culture and we pride ourselves on providing the very best advice and service to our clients!
An opportunity has arisen to join the Credit team as an Account Handler, based in either our Falkirk or Glasgow office.
The ideal candidate will have Trade Credit experience. However, those with banking, credit management, insurance or other related professions, will also be considered. As will business related degree level applicants.
The Role
The role will involve, providing support to Directors/Account Executives in the team, to ensure we maintain high service levels, and ensure we meet and exceed, our client’s needs and expectations.
Main Responsibilities
  • Working with Directors/Account Executives on all aspects associated with client retention, growth and maintenance of valued relationships.
  • With guidance, interface with clients and underwriters and be able to provide support and understanding of all day to day aspects of policy management.
  • Negotiating with insurers the credit limit requirements of clients and prospects
  • Information gathering, analysis and preparation of proposal, renewal or new business reports
  • Assist with overdue reporting processes and/or claims notifications to underwriters
  • Work with Directors/Account Executives on effective control of revenue and other data management systems used. 
  • Adhere fully to TLD business processes, systems and procedures
  • Ensure complete adherence with other training and compliance requirements specified by management or the company
Candidates Skills & Competencies
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment, both autonomously as well as within an established team
  • Needs to be highly organised and be able to monitor and manage multiple tasks, with a proven ability to work in a demanding environment
  • Must be a flexible team player and skilled in developing and maintaining relationships at all levels
  • Can listen and acquire new skills, always ready to learn.
  • Able to evidence sound commercial and financial awareness
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of regulatory issues within an insurance or a financial services organisation
  • Excellent customer service skills and has an eye for detail and accurate data entry
  • Proficient in use of Microsoft Office and knowledge and competence with the use of Acturis would be a benefit. 
If you think you are the perfect candidate for this role, then please submit your CV to Credit@tldallas.com before the closing date of 14/10/2018. Salary Competitive depending on experience/plus other flexible company benefits.
Events & Offers
Commodity Trade Finance Conference 2018, 27 September. Lugano.
GTR’s annual Commodity Trade Finance Conference, organised in partnership with the Lugano Commodity Trading Association (LCTA), returns to Switzerland on September 27. Set to gather over 200 commodity trade experts from multinationals, trading companies, financial institutions and service providers, the event will assess the key trends impacting global commodity markets and trade, from geopolitical volatility to commodity financing appetite and liquidity. 
Established as the ultimate networking and learning platform for the industry’s key players, attendees will receive critical market insight, build business relationships and gain the inside track on the latest commodity financing trends and techniques.
Click here for more information and to register, or contact Judith at jmulhausen@gtreview.com. Note, Credit Insurance News readers enjoy a 15% discount to all GTR events. Quote code CIN15.
TXF MENA 2018: ECA, Project and Commodity Finance 2 -3 October, Dubai.
TXF MENA 2018 has established itself as the go-to event for the export, commodities and project finance communities in the region.
By using a combination of case-studies, ideas labs, regional spotlights and roundtables chaired and panelled by the biggest players in the region, TXF MENA provides a forum that engages exporters, local borrowers, sovereign enterprises, bankers and other investors, ECAs, insurers, lawyers and governments to discuss how best to operate efficiently and effectively in this complex region.

Joining us to share their views and network are:
  • Rajit Nanda, CIO, ACWA Power
  • Abdulmuhsen Ibrahim Younus, CEO, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA)
  • Loay Ghazaleh, Undersecretary Advisor On Infrastructure & PPP, Bahrain Ministry of Works 
  • Basil El Baz, Chairman and CEO, Carbon Holdings
  • Faisal Al Fadl, Secretary General, Saudi Green Building Forum and The King Saud Foundation
  • Reham El-Beltagy, Executive Vice President, Corporate Treasury, Orascom
  • Hazem Al Haddad, Chief Executive Officer, Apex. 
For more information on TXF MENA 2018, and to find out who you could meet, please visit our website by clicking here. Or by emailing marketing@txfmedia.com.
Supply Chain Finance Summit – APAC, 3-4 October 2018, Singapore
BCR’s inaugural Supply Chain Finance Summit-APAC in Singapore focuses on the growth of supply
chain finance across the APAC region.
With local governments, international and regional banks; and investors all actively encouraging the
development of local and cross-border SCF programmes, it is now, more than ever before, vital to
review the latest developments in this market and understand how to capitalise on opportunities in
this region. Join us in Singapore to hear from the industry's thought leaders, engage in debate,
network with your peers and help define the future of working capital.
BCR are delighted to offer Credit Insurance News members a 10% discount on booking. Register now using code CIN18 at www.bcrpub.com/events.
Supply Chain Finance Masterclass, 16 October 2018, London
Attend this advanced and comprehensive workshop to gain a practical understanding of the characteristics of the market and sector, an appreciation of the challenges of working capital management in the supply chain, the various forms, and how supply chain finance can operate to the benefit of all parties. Covering an in-depth insight into the market drivers, types, operations and benefits of SCF, this masterclass enables participants to: 
  • Understand the decision drivers & financial benefits for Buyers and Suppliers
  • Determine the decision drivers for Banks in offering SCF Programs
  • Explore how to genuinely make a success out of a SCF Program
  • Held ahead of the Supply Chain Finance Forum in London, the masterclass will provide your company with a comprehensive overview of unlocking liquidity through supply chain finance 
BCR are delighted to offer Credit Insurance News members a 10% discount on booking. Register now using code CIN18 at www.bcrpub.com/events/.
Supply Chain Finance Forum, 17 October 2018, London 
BCR’s inaugural Supply Chain Finance Forum in London focuses on the industry’s emerging evolutionary trends and in particular the move towards targeting the largely untapped mid-cap buyers market. The forum will showcase innovations within supply chain finance for the mid-market, new arbitrage opportunities this market can provide, and review developing markets such as Asia and other high interest rate regions.
BCR are delighted to offer Credit Insurance News members a 10% discount on booking. Register now using code CIN18 at www.bcrpub.com/events/.
Trade Credit Industry Dinner, 8 November, London.
Willis Towers Watson is honoured to announce that we are hosting this year's dinner at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, Piccadilly on Thursday 8 November 2018 (TIME 19.00 to 01.00) at the Sheraton Grand, London Park Lane, Piccadilly, London, England, W1J 7BX . DRESS CODE Black Tie.
"For our inaugural hosting of the dinner, we promise you a memorable evening and would be delighted if you would join us for a glass of bubbles on the Balcony, before dining in the Ballroom. Dinner will be followed by music, entertainment and fundraising.
An important part of the evening is the opportunity it provides to support worthwhile causes through our charity raffle and silent auctions. This year Willis Towers Watson has selected an outstanding charity, The Silver Line https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/ to receive the full benefit of that support.
Don't miss your opportunity to join us at this special event. Tickets will be on sale soon. As always, places will be limited!
To register your interest for this event, please contact tradecreditdinner@willistowerswatson.com.
Alternative & Receivables Finance Forum, 14 November 2018, London
Alternative & Receivables Finance Forum tracks the transformation of receivables and invoice finance; showcasing the most successful new entrants to the market, examining the future of technology-enabled funding models, and driving the conversation on alternative finance for SMEs. 
This is a unique gathering, where you can network with established receivables finance providers and ‘alternative’ SME funders and find out how the competitive landscape for commercial finance is changing. 
The comprehensive programme provides insights into the priorities influencing SMEs’ financial choices and showcases the latest technology-enabled distribution models. 
BCR are delighted to offer Credit Insurance News members a 10% discount on booking. Register now using code CIN18 at www.bcrpub.com/events.
TXF Asia 2018: Export, Agency & Project Finance, 14 & 15 November. W Hotel, Hong Kong.
TXF Asia is your largest flagship event for export & project finance in the Asia-Pacific! We will be bringing together more stakeholders than ever, with 400 borrowers, exporters, project sponsors, developers, financiers, government representatives, insurers, law firms, ECAs and more set to take part.
  • Hear from over 15 ECAs on the latest products they are offering to help grow your business. Already confirmed: NEXI, Sinosure, ECGC, EFIC, SACE, Export Development Canada, EKN, Bpifrance Assurance Export, Finnvera, Credendo… with more to join!
  • Pick the brains of some of the biggest borrowers, including: Adaro Power, CLP Holdings, PT PLN Persero, Agritrade International and UPC Renewables
  • Get the development angle from DFIs working in Asia, including Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility (CGIF) , International Finance Corporation, Asian Development Bank, OPIC and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
  • With our dedicated Project Finance Stream, get all the information you need on the latest infrastructure and power projects in Asia.
  • Meet with some of the most influential exporters in Asia, including: Alcatel Submarine Networks, Chiyoda Corporation, Danieli & C. Officine Meccaniche S.p.A , GE China, Nokia, Huawei and Ferostaal
Visit the website for full details
Readers of Credit Insurance News can now book at a 15% discount. Please book online here and enter the discount code CIN15. This offer expires Friday 5th October.

Bridging The Trade Finance Gap, Delivering Paperless Trade,15 November 2018, London.
The International Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom is delighted to invite you to the conference“Bridging The Trade Finance Gap, Delivering Paperless Trade”in London on November 15th. For the first time this conference will bring trade and supply chain finance ‘under one roof’ for a discussion on how to foster more collaboration and innovation to bridge the trade finance gap and deliver paperless trade. Join ICC, Falcon Group and a number of world class speakers for this great event! For further information and full agenda click here: earlybirdtickets.
About the Sponsor: STA International
STA International is the recommended debt collection partner to four credit insurance underwriters. Systems alignment provides a secure and transparent service to reduce protracted default (PD) claims, and increase policyholders’ cash flow. 
When UK and overseas accounts are referred at the end of the Maximum Extension Period (MEP) to STA, Late Payment Act interest and collection cost is added to the principal debt, and immediate contact made with the buyer. 
This early intervention results in the majority of accounts being paid quickly, the policyholder receiving prompt remittance of the principal sum and interest, with STAs costs covered by the buyer paying the collection costs. 
The underwriter has online access to each and every action taken by STA, including a consolidation of a single buyer across multiple policyholders. Simultaneously, the policyholder sees every STA action on each buyer it places for collection, along with collection success dashboard and recovery cost details. 
With PD claims reduced for the underwriter, cash flow and premium protection maximised for the policyholder, STA provides a win-win solution to the challenges of cash collection. 
To find out more, please visit www.stainternational.com.
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