Welcome to issue 43 of Credit Insurance News Digest, 9 September 2014. This issue is kindly sponsored by QBE.

  • Credit Insurance News and Reports
  • Industry Events and Offers
  • Business Info: Recommended Reports
  • Career Opportunities and New Appointments
  • About this issue's sponsor

Credit Insurance News and Reports
Insuring against customer default has become an important aspect of global trade. A recent lengthy article in Metal Bulletin Magazine provides an informative overview of the credit insurance industry over the last few years of economic crisis, as well as examining those developments which have helped the industry become an important aspect of global trade. According to Robert Nijhout, executive director of ICISA, there is now much greater transparency in the credit insurance industry: "a huge increase in discussions with policyholders”. In addition, he advises that insurers now act in a more predictive mode, while forward planning has been assisted by the introduction of non-cancellable limits. Looking ahead, Mr Nijhout advises that the market credit insurance is expected to grow substantially, particularly in countries such as Asia where, in spite of world-leading economic growth in recent years, the penetration of credit insurance has been historically low. In addition to Mr Nijhout, experts from both Atradius and Euler Hermes are quoted. To view the article go to http://mercury.cs135.remotion.nl/websites/ICISA_2010/files_content/Metal%20Bulletin%20Magazine%20-%20Credit%20Covered%20p.34-35%20-%20July-August%202014.pdf.

Coface and EQ launch a simplified credit insurance policy for SMEs in Singapore. GTR (Global Trade Review) has published an article, 'Coface and EQ support SMEs', which advises that Coface and EQ Insurance have partnered to offer SMEs in Singapore a simplified, fixed price turnkey credit insurance policy via a single online E-portal. The new product, ‘SME Credit Insurance’, also enables qualifying businesses to receive premium support from the Trade Credit Insurance Scheme, managed by International Enterprise Singapore. CEO of Coface Singapore, Fabien Conderanne, commented: 'This portal gives easy accessibility and flexibility for SMEs to obtain the most suitable solution to protect their receivables.” To view GTR's article go to http://www.gtreview.com/trade-finance/global-trade-review-news/2014/September/Coface-and-EQ-support-SMEs_11918.shtml.

Atradius reports that the insolvency environment is improving across advanced markets in 2014 - although the number of insolvencies remains relatively high. Atradius has published its latest insolvency forecasts for 2014 which advise that the insolvency environment is improving in 14 of the 22 markets that Atradius tracks. North America is forecast to experience the largest decrease in insolvencies (-11%), followed by a significant (-9%) drop in the advanced Asia-Pacific markets. Insolvencies are also projected to decrease by 5% in Western Europe, with the biggest improvements for Spain (-17%), Denmark (-15%) and the Netherlands (-10%). Elsewhere however, the picture is not so rosy; increased insolvencies are predicted in Italy (+6%) and Greece (+5%), with the number of insolvencies in Portugal, Spain and Greece in 2014 forecast to remain four times the 2007 number. Only in Germany and Austria is the number of insolvencies expected to be lower than in 2007. To view Atradius' full report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/Publications/economic_outlook/Atradius_Economic_Research-Insolvency_Forecasts_September2014.pdf.

Euler Hermes Oceania's CEO examines the challenges of the Australian market. Chris Doube, the CEO of Euler Hermes Oceania, is profiled in a Q&A session on TWR (Talent Web Recruitment). In addition to describing his career and its progression, Mr Doube also examines some of the challenges currently being faced by the Australian Credit Insurance industry, advising that: "there's no doubt that the lack of product awareness is a real inhibitor." He continues: "Simply put, it's not an insurance product that enough Australian businesses know about, so clearly a big part of our job now is around education. It's such an important product for businesses - we've seen that one of the key reasons that businesses fail (c25%) is that these firms aren't paid by their clients . . and if more Australian businesses were aware of it, we're sure they'd feel much more adequately protected." To view the Q&A go to http://www.talentweb.com.au/index.php/talent-talk/18-talent-talk/71-chris-doube-ceo-euler-hermes-oceania.

HCC International publishes claims and credit limit response times for 2014.
HCC has announced the following credit insurance claims and credit limit response statistics for 2014 (year to date).
Claims. Trader policy: 83% of claims paid by day 3 and 98% paid by day 7. Constructor policy: 97% paid of claims by day 15 and 100% paid by day 28.
Credit Limit Response Times: UK Ltd: 99.7% within 24 hours. UK Non-Ltd: 100% within 24 hours. European: 93.7% within 24 hours and 99.9% within 7 days. Foreign: 95% within 3 days and 99.6% within 10 days.

Equinox Global examines the UK Construction Industry and asks, "has the corner been turned?" Equinox Global has published its Summer newsletter which contains an article 'The UK Construction Industry, has the corner been turned?' by senior credit analysts Marian Berden and Kuljeet Ubhi. The article advises that the construction industry has been one of the worst affected sectors of the economic crisis, and although 2014 has seen a more positive start - with, for example, The Construction Product Association forecasting a 3.4% rise in construction output for 2014 and a further 5.2% in 2015 - this growth does not come without the legacy problems of the credit crunch. The article also reports that experts at Equinox Global are seeing more and more enquiries from contractors looking for alternative sources of funding, "an exciting sign that the industry is growing", with many construction firms now relying on trade credit funding in lieu of bank lending. To view Equinox Global's article go to http://www.equinox-global.co/newsletters/ENL-summer-14.pdf.

New ICISA president targets SME finance. In an exclusive interview with GTR, the new International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA) president Andreas Tesch has singled out SME finance and creating closer relationships with the banking sector as a key aim. He also advised that one of the ICISA’s goals this year is to quantify the exact size of the private vs the ECA market, and to this end it has joined with Lloyd’s and members of the International Underwriting Association to collect relevant data, which will be ready by this time next year. To view GTR's full article go to http://www.gtreview.com/trade-finance/global-trade-review-news/2014/July/New-ICISA-president-targets-SME-finance_11828.shtml.

Euler Hermes opens a new office in Taiwan and advises that one-third of Taiwanese businesses miss trading opportunities. Euler Hermes has announced the findings of a Taiwanese exporter survey which reveals that more than one-third of the exporters surveyed have found that an inability to assess their trading partners overseas has resulted in missed business opportunities. In addition, when asked about their greatest challenges, 22% cited cash flow management, while 13% identified collection of account receivables. Euler Hermes also found that three-quarters of the Taiwanese exporters surveyed trade their exports within the region - with China topping the list at 41%. Established markets like Europe and the US account for a combined 25% share of the total exports. To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Taiwan-businesses-miss-opportunities.aspx.

Coface's latest Panorama report examines Romania's economic growth and future outlook. Coface has issued a new Panorama report which contains a detailed study of Romania and advises that, after five challenging years, Romania’s economic performance has proved that it has become one of the leaders of the European recovery. GDP growth has exceeded expectations, rising by 3.5% in 2013 (significantly outperformed the 2013 CEE average of 1.2%), with the main contributors to growth coming from exports (which recorded a strong increase of 13.5%) - especially exports of agricultural products and cars. Looking ahead, Coface also considers future economic performance in Romania, especially as the country  re-entered into a technical recession in the first two quarters of 2014. To view the report go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/Publications/Romania-Will-economic-growth-come-back-to-strong-performance.

Markel applies for Dubai insurance licence and advises that it will focus initially on trade credit. Markel International has announced that it has applied to the Dubai Financial Services Authority to establish a company to operate within the Dubai International Financial Centre which will focus initially on offering trade credit covers. Markel has also advised that it is close to making the appointment of a proposed Senior Executive Officer, with substantial trade credit experience, to head the office. Ewa Rose, Managing Director of Markel’s trade credit division, said: “There has been an increasing amount of business opportunity through the Middle East for our trade credit insurance product which we launched in London in 2010. We have since introduced the product in Singapore, Munich and New York but the Middle East has been a missing part of the jigsaw.” To view Markel's news release go to http://www.markelinternational.com/intl/news/2014/Markel_applies_for_Dubai_insurance_licence/.

Atradius Collections announces an alliance to strength its presence in Latin America. Atradius Collections has announced a strategic alliance with Recuperos S.A. to strengthen its presence in Latin America. Recuperos is a subsidiary of Continental, Chile’s largest credit insurer with 20 years' experience in the industry.  Atradius Collections’ Managing Director, Raymond van der Loos, commented: “Globalisation is on the rise and trade flows are proliferating across the world, with South America now a major trade region. We want to strengthen our presence there to help our customers trade safely and, of course, to recover their debts”. To View Atradius' news release go to http://www.atradiuscollections.com/global/updates-publications/press/4458-atradius-collections-strategic-alliance-with-recuperos-in-chile-growth-opportunities.html.

Coface strengthens its offer in Serbia through a local partnership with Axa. Coface has announced that it has concluded a technical partnership agreement with Axa Nezivotno Osiguranje a.d.o. to commercialise its credit insurance services. Katarzyna Kompowska, Coface Central Europe Region Manager, explained that as a candidate country for the European Union, Serbia is a strategic market for Coface. To view Coface's news release go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Serbia-becomes-98th-market-for-Coface-s-credit-insurance-offer.

HCC International issues a pre-pack update. HCC International has published an update detailing the recommendations made by Teresa Graham following her recent review (published June 2014) into the use of pre-pack administrations. This includes the recommendation that proper marketing of a business in pre-pack administration should be carried out prior to sale, that due consideration should be given to whether a potential purchaser is likely to run the business successfully, and the suggestion that the process should be over-viewed by an independent party prior to the sale. It is recommended that these steps are implemented voluntarily, with legislation being the backstop option. To view HCC's article go to http://www.hcc.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=d-NFOgLx95U%3d&tabid=834&mid=1550.

CIFS gives the Graham review into pre-pack administrations "a qualified welcome". CIFS Managing Director, Bob Lilley, has issued an article, 'Moving a Mountain', following Teresa Graham's recent review of pre-pack administrations. Although Mr Lilley advises that the recommendations are certainly a step in the right direction - "Ms Graham is to be congratulated on not allowing the issue to be kicked into the long grass", he cautions that: "we will have to wait for a further 3 years to see if the voluntary approach she sets out actually works in practice". In the interim, CIFS suggests that some businesses might consider refusing to support a new pre-packed business by, for example insisting on full implementation of Retention of Title rights. "After all, it’s a legitimate question to ask how an insolvency practitioner can sell goods (stock) that it does not own to the new company." To view CIFS' article go to http://www.creditindemnity.com/news-and-comment/detail/moving-a-mountain.

Atradius' latest Market Monitor, 'Focus On Machines', highlights that the fortunes of this sector depend crucially on the well being of the businesses and industries for which their machines are designed. For example, in Brazil, companies whose machinery is designed for the agricultural, steel and mining sectors, all of which are struggling, are themselves faced with lower profit margins and late payments. Conversely, in Italy agricultural machinery is selling well, while the downbeat construction and automotive sectors are taking their toll on the machinery industry. In France, the industry has been buoyed by the dynamic performance of aerospace, farming and nuclear energy but hampered by problems in construction, while the machinery sector in Belgium has its own set of problems - including its lack of competitiveness within the EU. As might be expected, the German industry is well established in major export markets, although sales to one of its main markets, Russia, have been badly affected by the Ukraine crisis. To view the report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/Market%20monitor/2014/MM_August_2014_ENG.pdf.

Euler Hermes advises that the German construction sector is steadily improving. Although the German construction sector recorded the second highest number of bankruptcies in Germany over the last year, a new study by Euler Hermes has advised that this trend is on the decline and growth prospects are now good (3.5% and 5.3% growth anticipated in 2014 and 2015 respectively). Thomas Krings, chief risk officer at Euler Hermes Germany, commented: “The sector is gradually improving, with the number of bankruptcies falling by 23% since the 2009 crisis. Only agriculture has reported a stronger recovery, with a 24% drop in bankruptcies." However, despite these improvements, days sales outstanding in the sector is still 16 days above Germany‘s cross-sector average of 20 days and the risk of non-payment remains high. To view Euler Hermes' study go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/Lists/mediacenter-documents/Industry-Report-Construction-in-Germany-Aug14.pdf.

Atradius advises that Australia is an economy in transition. Atradius' latest Country report for Australia advises that due mainly to a persisting mining investment boom, Australia‘s economic performance has been remarkably good over the last few years compared to most advanced economies. However, GDP growth slowed notably in 2013 to 2.4 % - compared to 3.6% growth in 2012 - as the economy faced headwinds from a decline in both mining and non-mining investment, lower growth in consumer spending and the high Australian dollar. Looking ahead, Atradius now predicts some small economic improvements in 2014, with increase to 2.9% growth expected. In addition, business insolvencies are expected to decrease slightly in 2014 - although they will remain at historically high levels. To view Atradius' report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/CountryReports/Australia_August_2014.pdf.

Euler Hermes advises that investment and domestic demand are supporting German economic growth. A new report from Euler Hermes has advised that the German economy is growing. However this is not due to the traditionally strong exporting sector, but rather to growing domestic demand and a significant rise in domestic investment. Euler Hermes and economists forecast that this trend will continue for the full year in 2014: with expected GDP growth of 1.9% based on dynamic growth of 6.2% for investment and relatively strong consumption by private households rising by 1.5%. Exports have traditionally shown growth, but are initially stagnating and exerting a slight brake on GDP growth in 2014 (-0.7 percentage points). Euler Hermes does not expect rising foreign demand until 2015. To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Lists/NewsDocuments/Press-Release-Euler-Hermes-german-economic-growth-080714.pdf.

Atradius advises that Indonesia's growth is still high, but slowing. Atradius' latest Country report on Indonesia advises that from 2010 to 2012 annual growth exceeded 6%, driven mainly by private consumption and investments. However, as in other emerging markets, the currency came under pressure last year as the US economy rebounded and the Federal Reserve tapered its bond-buying programme, (Indonesia was even described as one of the “fragile five countries” alongside Brazil, India, South Africa and Turkey) because of its reliance on (unreliable) foreign investment), leading to a slight slowdown in growth of 5.8%. Looking ahead, 2014 is also expected to show a further slowdown in growth to 5.4%, although 2015 will see a rebound to 6.2% growth. Agriculture, consumer durables, electronics/ICT, food and machines/engineering are the sectors with the strongest outlook. To view Atradius' report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/CountryReports/Indonesia_Sept_2014.pdf.

China among markets of concern for trade credit insurers. Insurance Day has published an article, 'China and Brazil of concern for trade credit insurers, Icisa president warns', which advises that the new president of the International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA), Andreas Tesch, has cautioned that although, as yet, there have been no catastrophes in any geographic market, "there are some fairly risky areas." China, for example, is a challenging market for trade credit insurers as banks tighten finance, while Argentina and Brazil are being "closely followed". Russia and the former Commonwealth of Independent States are also of concern. To view the full article go to https://www.insuranceday.com/specialty/china-and-brazil-of-concern-for-trade-credit-insurers-icisa-president-warns.htm?origin=internalSearch. (Subscription to Insurance Day required).

Website changes:
HCC International has advised that a full upgrade of its website went live on 29th August 2014. The changes include a fresh look and feel and with better options for sorting when viewing Credit Limits. However, behind the scenes HCC have also carried out a major upgrade to the underlying technology which provides improved security, a clear cookie policy and support of the latest web browsers. In addition, the web will now work with an optimum display on mobile devices which will also customers to view Credit Limits on the go. To view go to http://www.hcc.com/international/ukcredit.

CIFS: Further to the launch of its new company logo in May (see CIN: 6 May 2014), CIFS website has been re-designed with a new look which is designed to further accentuate CIFS' positive alignment with parent group Nexus Underwriting Management website. The new tagline 'Perceptive Underwriting' is displayed. To view the new look go to http://www.creditindemnity.com.
Note: CIFS' new logo is now displayed in the advertising banner to the left of this page.

Equinox Global has made a number of changes to its website, including a redesigned homepage, access to Equinox’s forms, policy wording, proposal form, credit procedure questionnaire and claims form and photos and biographies of all staff. To view the changes go to http://www.equinox-global.co/.

Industry Events, Offers and Training
GTR Asia Trade Finance Week 2014. 9-11 September. Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore.
Incorporating the 6th Annual Asia Trade & Export Finance Conference, Supply Chain Workshop, GTR Asia Leaders in Trade Awards and various networking events, GTR Asia Trade Finance Week is now accepted as the world’s premier trade finance gathering for discussing key regional and global themes. The event is expected to welcome over 600 high level delegates, including companies of all sizes from all manner of sectors. Recognising Singapore’s position as a global trade hub, considered as the crossroads for suppliers and buyers worldwide, attention will turn to both the significance of Asia’s regional and global trade flows, as well as casting a keen eye on some of Asia’s most exciting and thriving markets. With official support from IE Singapore, as well as over 35 global institutions, this is an event not to be missed. Click here for more information. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

Global Commodity Trade Finance Conference. 16 September 2014, Lugano, Switzerland.
Global Trade Review (GTR) is delighted to announce that the inaugural Global Commodity Trade Finance Conference will be taking place in Lugano, Switzerland in September 2014. Held in partnership with the Lugano Commodity Trade Association (LCTA) and reflecting Switzerland’s role as the world’s leading commodity trade hub, the event is ideally placed to provide timely insight on the significance of the global trading market and the challenges faced, both in the local markets and the opportunities faced further afield. Huge emphasis will be placed on the importance of networking, in which an abundance of such opportunities will be provided over the course of the event. Delegates will also have the opportunity to plan and organise private meetings with fellow attendees prior to the conference. Click here for more information. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

3rd Annual West Coast Trade & Export Finance Conference. 16 October, Los Angeles. United States.
GTR are delighted to announce that the 3rd Annual West Coast Trade & Export Finance Conference will be held in Los Angeles for 2014. With a city responsible for over $400 billion worth of trade and a state that contributes 11% of total US exports, this one-day conference will be a key meeting point for the producers, importers, exporters, financiers and service providers of one of the most dynamic trade centers in the world. As the only gathering of trade finance practitioners on the West Coast, hear industry leaders discuss the financing demands of corporate organisations as well as the complexities of seeking new opportunities in emerging markets. Focus will center on both the development of operational strategies and the technical aspects of trading and creating supply chains across borders. Given the high-level delegation in attendance, networking is not to be missed. Engage with decision makers before the conference through the GTR online networking site, during the conference within dedicated networking sessions, and finally at a cocktail drinks reception at a central Downtown location. Click here for more information. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

Alternative and Receivables Finance Conference, 17 October 2014. London, UK.
At this timely one day conference, SMEs and their advisers will be meeting to discuss how alternative finance options are changing the funding landscape as well as how traditional and alternative finance can work together to help SMEs prosper. 20+ Speakers include the British Business Bank, Lloyds Bank, Marketinvoice, Platform Black, P2P CS, Bibby Financial Services and many more. The conference is actively supported by the British Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business as well as ACCA and ABFA. Click here for the programme. There is also a separately bookable Introduction to Receivables Finance Masterclass 16th October which covers credit insurance, invoice discounting and supply chain finance. A 10% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN10. In addition, we are delighted to offer 5 free delegate passes to the event for any B2B SMEs amongst our subscribers. Attendees must be chief executives or CFOs. For details, please email Sally at Credit Insurance News.

6th Annual West Africa Trade & Commodity Finance Conference. 22-23 October, Lagos, Nigeria.
GTR will be holding the 6th Annual West Africa Trade & Commodity Finance Conference in Lagos, Nigeria, for the first time. Given Nigeria’s rise to prominence and West Africa’s growing prosperity, the focus of the conference will look at the industries and sectors that have been instrumental in developing one of the most exciting regions in world trade. This two-day event will bring together delegates from corporate, banking and financial services organisations to discuss key market issues within agribusiness, hard commodities, risk mitigation and infrastructural development. Specialist speakers will engage with high level delegates through specific transaction case studies, roundtable discussions, onstage interviews, and live question and answer sessions. As the only dedicated trade, commodity and export finance conference in West Africa, this will be a networking opportunity not to be missed for anyone undertaking or looking to do business in the region. Meet with decision makers before the conference through the GTR online networking site, during the conference within dedicated networking sessions, and at an exclusive evening cocktail drinks reception. Click here for more information. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

Inaugural Romania Trade & Export Finance Conference, 30 October, Bucharest.
GTR’s inaugural Romania Trade & Export Finance Conference will take place in Bucharest in October 2014. Well timed to provide detailed insight on the opportunities offered to Romanian companies through tapping into high-growth emerging market trade flows, the gathering will showcase the trade finance sector’s role in providing risk mitigation and funding for cross-border business with non-traditional trade partners. Drawing on GTR’s global network and extensive experience in organising market leading trade finance events, the conference will feature an in-depth agenda outlining the full range of funding tools currently enabling the corporate financier to overcome the challenges posed by a post-crisis environment. Further providing numerous high-level networking opportunities across an international audience, the Romania Trade & Export Finance Conference constitutes a key diary fixture for all those seeking to build connections and get ahead in this exciting market. Click here for more information. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

Understanding International Credit Reports: New training course. Various dates throughout 2014.
Graydon has announced that it is introducing a new training course, Understanding International Credit Reports. The one-day course will examine: report content by region (MENA, North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Far East & 'Tax Havens'), sources of data (Credit Agencies, Public Registries, Local Agent in undeveloped markets & Law Firms), credit scoring/ratings and pricing. The course costs £599 + VAT (a 10% discount is offered to Credit Insurance News Digest readers) and will be held on various dates throughout the year. For more information, please go to https://www.graydon.co.uk/understanding-international-credit-reports-CIN-members.

Business Information: Latest Reports and Business Shorts
UK late payment culture: three out of four businesses now consider late payment a fact of business life. A new survey by Basware and MasterCard has found that while the vast majority (88%) of respondents agree that suppliers should be paid promptly, over half (57%) of international businesses admit to having actively delayed paying their suppliers in the past 12 months. The findings underscore a late payment culture, which three out of four businesses now consider normal practice and a fact of business life and will always happen, despite 90% acknowledging that payment delays have wider repercussions for businesses, such as the ability to pay staff or reduce investment. For more information and to view Basware's news release go to http://www.basware.com/knowledge-center/e-payment.

UK economic recovery solid but growth to even out. The CBI said in its latest economic forecast that it forecasts 3.0% growth in 2014 and 2.7% in 2015, unchanged from May. Between the first quarter of 2013 and the second quarter of 2014, the UK has grown by 0.7% on average per quarter, the fastest rate in the G7. This strong pace of growth has been bolstered by rising business and consumer confidence, improving credit conditions and reductions in uncertainty over demand. But after the recent period of acceleration, growth is expected to steady in the second half of this year, 0.7% (Q3) and 0.6% (Q4), as the initial positive impact of those factors wears off. John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: "The UK’s recovery is on solid ground, with our quarterly growth on average outstripping G7 competitors over the last year. For the rest of this year, we expect growth to get onto a more even keel and the recovery to become further entrenched next year. To view the CBI's full news release and link to the report go to http://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2014/09/economic-recovery-solid-but-growth-to-even-out/.

Mid-sized UK businesses are reluctant to export despite renewed confidence. According to new research from Lloyds Bank, almost three out of five firms (58%), turning over between £25 million and £750 million, said that they do not currently export and less than one in ten (7%) are looking to do so within the next five years, indicating that over half of mid-sized businesses are still cautious in considering their long-term export strategy. This reluctance to expand overseas comes despite recent indicators showing that firms are more bullish about the UK economy with business confidence reaching a 22 year high according to the Bank’s recent Business in Britain report in July. To view Lloyds' news release go to http://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/Media/Press-Releases/2014/lloyds-bank/mid-sized-businesses-reluctant-to-export-despite-renewed-confidence/.

The BCC advises that 2014 will be the first year since 2007 that UK GDP growth will have exceeded 3%. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC has advised that it has upgraded its GDP growth forecasts for this year and next year – from 3.1% to 3.2% in 2014 - which will make 2014 the first year since 2007 that growth will have exceeded 3%. In addition, the BCC's growth forecasts for 2015 have been upgraded from 2.7% to 2.8% in 2015. The BCC now expects the first increase in Bank Rate, to 0.75%, to occur in Q1 2015, although pressures for an earlier rise in rates are intensifying. Further modest increases in official interest rates can then be expected, in small 0.25% steps, with official interest rates reaching 1.25% in Q4 2015 and 2.25%. To view the BCC's news release go to http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/policy-maker/policy-reports-and-publications/q3-2014-economic-forecast.html.

The UK's small and mid-cap quoted companies have not planned for an interest rate rise. According to the latest QCA/BDO Small & Mid-Cap Sentiment Index, 55% of the UK's small and mid-cap quoted companies have not planned for an interest rate rise, even though 77% expect rates to rise by March 2015. This lack of preparation suggests that small and mid-cap companies are taking a short-term and narrow view towards business planning. In addition, the latest report reveals that 48% of companies think that an interest rate rise would have no impact on their businesses. The lack of planning among companies suggests that they are only considering the primary impact this would have on their own working capital. To view BDO's news release go to http://www.bdo.co.uk/press/small-and-mid-cap-companies-unprepared-for-interest-rate-rise.

UK SMEs are approaching tipping Point ahead of an interest rate rise. According to the latest Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert, levels of ‘Significant’ distress among UK businesses increased by more than 34% over the past year from 176,677 in Q2 2013 to 237,362 in Q2 2014 - the third consecutive quarter of deterioration for this growing group of struggling businesses. The research also found that levels of ‘Significant’ distress have been primarily driven by SMEs, who experienced a 40% rise in distress over the past 12 months to 217,855 (Q2 2013: 155,253). With market commentators predicting that Mark Carney could announce a rate increase as early as November, Begbies Traynor estimates that a rise of as little as 1% could result in dire straits for a material number of SMEs, many of which are still burdened with significant debts accumulated during the recession. To view Begbies Traynor's news release go to http://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/begbies-traynor/news/14-07-18/smes_approaching_tipping_point_ahead_of_interest_rate_rise.aspx.

More than two thirds of UK exporters believe turnover will improve in 12 months. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL Express have published new research which looks at the health of the UK’s export market. The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, which measures both UK exporting activity and business confidence of more than 2,300 exporting firms, shows that more than two thirds (70%) believe their turnover will improve in the next 12 months – up 10% on the same time last year. The volume index of trade documentation issued by Accredited Chambers of Commerce also jumped to 119.27 – its highest level on record – which shows that UK businesses are growing internationally and breaking into new markets overseas. To view the BCC's news release go to http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/press-office/press-releases/more-than-two-thirds-exporters-believe-turnover-will-improve-says-bcc-dhl-report.html. To view the full report, 'Quarterly International Trade Outlook' go to http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/Q214%20BCC%20QITO%20FINAL%20280814.pdf.

UK bad debt: the number of debts referred for legal collection jumps by 27%. Reports that business confidence is now at its highest level in 20 years have been borne out by the latest late payment analysis from Lovetts Plc. Lovetts has found that based on the volume of invoices being issued and now being chased for payment, businesses have got busier, since Q1 2014, but are also battling late payment as the number of bad debts on their books has jumped by almost a third. While this supports reports of a boom in business prospects, Lovetts' analysis shows that late payment is becoming increasingly widespread, despite Government attempts to tackle the issue. To view Lovetts' news release go to http://www.lovetts.co.uk/news/Business-are-busy-but-battling-bad-debts.aspx.

IMF advises that an uneven global recovery continues. According to the IMF's latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update, although there were upside surprises to economic activity — in Japan, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom — the legacy of the weak first quarter, particularly in the US, and a less optimistic outlook for several emerging markets has led to the IMF's overall global growth projection for 2014 being marked down by 0.3% to 3.4%. However, with somewhat stronger growth expected from the second quarter of 2014, the global growth projection for 2015 remains at 4%. To view the IMF's full Update, with a video clip of a Press Briefing go to http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2014/update/02/.

The UK's North-West region leads fall in rate of business insolvencies. Recent analysis by Experian has revealed positive news as the overall business insolvency rate for the first six months of the year fell to 0.44% from 0.47% in 2013. This was led by businesses in the North West region which saw the biggest turnaround since last year. During January to June, 0.46% of the business population in the North West of England failed compared to 0.56% of the business population in 2013. There were only two areas that experienced an increase in business failures. Scotland saw a significant increase in insolvencies from 0.18% in H1 2013 to 0.28% in H1 2014. The South East of England also saw a minor increase, from 0.41% to 0.42%. To view Experian's news release go to http://press.experian.com/United-Kingdom/Press-Release/north-west-region-leads-fall-in-rate-of-business-insolvencies.aspx.

Career Opportunities: New Opportunities
Business Development Manager (Direct). Manchester.
Due to expansion, a leading Credit Insurer is looking for an experienced Business Development Manager to join it's Manchester sales team selling credit insurance solutions and ancillary products to the end client and working via a mixture of referrals, internal and self generated leads. This is an excellent opportunity for a high calibre salesperson to join this prestigious and continually growing organisation.
This is a key role and the successful candidate will be responsible for the acquisition of new business and the growth of direct accounts with the aim of delivering new business sales to meet individual targets. You will work alongside the Commercial Department to ensure prudent underwriting and be constantly developing the SME market in your area to secure profitable business. This is a role for a true business developer who is always looking for ways to maximise contribution by identifying and opportunities to cross sell product lines. You will work closely with other departments to manage leads and feed back activity results and will ensure that all prospects and clients receive a timely and efficient service. An in depth familiarity and knowledge of various contract structures in order to know how best to negotiate between price and risk, as well as knowledge of current economic climate and how it affects the market, will be viewed as advantageous.
An excellent salary plus benefits awaits the right candidate. If you’re interested in this exciting opportunity with a prestigious organisation, please contact Jenny Piper Taylor on 0161 833 2033 or email jenny.piper-taylor@reedglobal.com for more information. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

New Business Manager (SME) - Manchester. Highly competitive salary and package.
Due to expansion, a leading Credit Insurer is looking for an experienced New Business Manager to join it's Manchester team to develop and manage the relationship between the Company and its brokers, in particular prospects that need a close local or regional relationship within national business remit. These are excellent opportunities for a experienced individuals to join this prestigious and continually growing organisation.
This role depends on the ability to develop and grow relationships between the Company and its brokers and other intermediaries to ensure delivery of individual and team sales growth targets. The successful candidate will be responsible for pricing and structuring business, taking joint ownership of the loss ratio in the Region with the Risk department, delivering a profitable result to the business. It will be essential to develop a sound understanding of all Company products and ensure the proposition is developed through all appropriate sales channels, thereby maximising contribution and conversion of profitable opportunities with the aim of long term retention of clients.
Previous experience in a similar role is essential as is an solid understanding of Risk limit decisions in order to challenge underwriters where appropriate, and communicate effectively with brokers/prospects. Additionally, working knowledge of SMART/CRM systems, tarification pricing tool and a degree qualification in Business and/or Finance related discipline would be advantageous. In return, the Company is offering highly competitive salary and package. If you’re interested in having a confidential chat to find out more, please contact Jenny Piper Taylor on 0161 833 2033 or email jenny.piper-taylor@reedglobal.com for more information. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Political and Credit Analyst - Lloyds Syndicate. London. Basic of C.£70,000 (negotiable) + Bonus + Benefits.
Following continued growth, and significant capital injection, this Lloyds Insurer has identified the requirement for a permanent Political & Credit Risks Analyst.
Your key responsibility is to support the underwriters in making prudent and profitable underwriting decisions on a wide range of insurance policies. Typically these policies will be to support major banks’ and commodity trading houses’ transactions. The analysis required will include country/sovereign, counterparty, credit worthiness, structure, project finance and various other categories on a worldwide basis.
Key responsibilities: Setting up and maintaining efficient credit metrics, models and tools for assessing and monitoring of counterparties, sectors, countries and sovereign risks. Analysing credit / structured credit / sovereign / political risks. Assist in research for pricing strategies and market rates. Maintain and develop pricing models for London Market business. Assist the underwriters in the use of models. Develop your market knowledge to aid your career progression, whether this be into Senior Analysis or Underwriting depending on your preference.
Desired Skills and Experience: Although this role is within an insurer they are willing to consider candidates with financial / risk analytical skills specifically around company financials and complex financing structures from a banking environment or rating house and Country / counterparty / sovereign risk analysis experience. However, it is essential that you have experience of analysing medium to long term transactions and overseas obligors; the client is specifically not seeking individuals who have solely been involved in the P&L/Balance Sheet analysis of UK Domiciled organisations for a traditional credit insurer.
If the above describes you and you’re looking for a challenging, but rewarding career within the Lloyds Insurance Market then please don’t hesitate to apply. Please don’t hesitate to contact Kerren Leach on +44 207 092 3283 or email kerren.leach@eamesconsulting.com for more information. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Coface. Self-employed Agent - Manchester and North.
We are looking for a self-employed Agent to work exclusively with Coface to create a portfolio of Business Information and Debt Collection customers. The region covered by this role will be from Manchester going North.
This will be achieved through winning new business and you will assist in extending Coface's channels to market for services additional to credit insurance.
As an Agent, you will use your own business relationships and market research to sell to prospects who are not already clients of Coface, or other Coface agents. As new business is achieved you will become responsible for managing the renewal process of your portfolio, client retention and servicing of your clients. There are opportunities to create reseller relationships, and other multi-channel revenue sources in relation to business information and debt collection services.
Knowledge of the current economic climate and how it affects the market is essential, as is the need to maintain accurate numerical and historical records, providing reports to Coface as appropriate. Proven experience in a similar role in the successful selling of information, debt collection or credit related services is desirable.
You will work on a self-employed basic with a service contract with Coface. If you would like more information please send your CV to careers_uk@coface.com. Closing date: Wednesday 10th September 2014. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Account Manager – Credit/Bonds. South East. Competitive salary including commission scheme plus benefits.
A highly respected Credit Insurance broker is looking to recruit an experienced Account Manager with at least 10 years experience specialising in credit and bonds/surety products to join their expanding client servicing team in the South East. You will be responsible for renewing the policies, processing client limits, overdue accounts and claims as well as resolving all client queries efficiently and professionally. Developing and enhancing both client and underwriter relationships is key whilst growing the client portfolio to include other risk management services. Working remotely is a possibility with this position, experience dependant. A competitive salary including commission scheme plus benefits is offered. If you are interested in this opportunity please send your CV and covering email to wendy@wpal.biz. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Political Risk Broker – London.
Do you want to work for one of the fastest growing broking houses in the Political Risk market? Do you want to become an expert in your field with the opportunity to manage some high profile accounts? Do you have 1-3yrs experience in broking Political & Structured Credit risks into the London market? If so then I might have the perfect opportunity for you. I’ve been exclusively mandated to recruit a dynamic and ambitious broker into the existing team of this broking house. Working with high calibre individuals and driven by a highly charismatic leader you can’t help but learn and grow. As well as a great working environment you’ll be rewarded with a competitive salary (to £55k for the right individual) as well a good benefits package. Opportunities to work overseas in the medium – long term also exist. If you want to discuss this opportunity in more depth then please call or email Kerren Leach on 0207 092 3283 or email kerren.leach@eamesconsulting.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Credit Account Executive, Leeds Salary up to £50,000 dependent upon experience.
An exciting opportunity has arisen within a specialist Broker to join their established Credit Insurance Team, set within their Leeds based offices. The successful applicant will be responsible for developing a book of Credit Insurance clients through existing previous relationships and targeting new clients from a range of industries. The role is a client facing role and you will be responsible for generating leads, making and attending appointments to win the business. You must have the ability to communicate effectively to all different levels, have excellent sales skills and ideally have a proven track record in Credit Insurance from a broker or insurer perspective. Commercial Insurance candidates will be considered also who have a keen interest within Credit Insurance. This could also be the ideal opportunity for an Account Handler looking for the next step to being Account Executive. To apply please contact Helen Spriggs on 0113 308035 or email your CV to helen.spriggs@search.co.uk. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Account Handler, Credit Insurance, Birmingham £16,000 - £24,000 dependent upon experience + Benefits.
I have an excellent opportunity to work for a leading National Broker to work as an Account Handler in their Birmingham branch. The role is to deal with Credit insurance and to help manage a very healthy book of business. My client requires an individual who can provide support to a successful Account Executive with a large book of business. Have the ability to conduct renewals with clients and give instructions to Insurance providers. Develop positive and professional relationships with Insurers and Underwriters and promote effective communication. Previous experience within the Insurance Industry is a must preferably within Credit Insurance however someone from a Commercial Insurance background with an understanding of Credit Insurance will be considered. To apply please contact Helen Spriggs on 0113 308035 or email your CV to helen.spriggs@search.co.uk. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

New Appointments
XL Group's Trade Receivables Insurance Team Grows in US and UK.XL Group has advised that Jennifer Papadimitriou has been appointed Senior Underwriter in XL Group's London office. She most recently served as Head of International Trade Credit for AIG. In addition, Senior underwriters Paul Haigley and Agatha Liberatore will address businesses’ Trade Receivable insurance needs in the Americas. Mr. Haigley joins XL Group from Euler Hermes World Agency where he most recently served as Vice President and Regional Director of Account Management for the Americas. Ms. Liberatore joins from FCIA Management Company, where as senior risk manager for the Midwest region, she managed an international trade credit and political risk portfolio for 15 states.

Coface appoints new Asia Pacific Regional Manager. Coface has announced that it has appointed Hung Wong as Regional Manager Asia Pacific, based in Hong Kong. Prior to joining Coface, Hung was Managing Director, Distribution, for the Asia-Pacific region of Juniper Networks, where he had been leading a partner organisation and cross-functional teams to drive business growth since 2012.

New appointments at Euler Hermes' World Agency Transactional Cover Unit in London. Euler Hermes has announced that Valerie Talbot and Guillaume Simonnet have joined the Euler Hermes World Agency Transactional Cover Unit (TCU) team in London as the regional head of commercial underwriting and regional senior commercial underwriter respectively. Ms Talbot joins from Garant Insurance, where she had been head of structured credit and political risk underwriting since 2003. Mr. Simonnet was previously head of treasury and trade finance at Thales UK.

About this issue's sponsor: QBE Trade Credit
As one of Europe’s leading trade credit insurers, we work with companies to help them protect their businesses from the damaging effects of customer insolvency and payment default. We’re recognised for our exceptional customer service across policy management, risk underwriting and claims.
All our clients have direct access to our industry specialists who deliver market-leading decision turnaround times. As one of the largest global multi-line insurance groups, clients benefit from the security of our A+ financial rating and the risk capacity that QBE can offer.
We provide tailored policies to suit businesses’ credit risk management needs – local, global, domestic or export.
This service-orientated approach has recently been enhanced by a global management platform: Trade Credit System (TCS) that allows clients to benefit from real time underwriting decisions. Clients now have access to a new credit opinion service, QCheck, which allows justification within the discretionary limit up to a maximum of £75,000.
Complementing these additions new Comprehensive and Selective policies have been launched to expand our offering. Our product suite ensures we can offer flexible solutions that respond to our clients’ needs.

Notable enhancements include:
  • Real time limit decisions delivered by email
  • Retrospective cover provided
  • Access to Qcheck, our new opinions product
  • Free status reports on UK and Republic of Ireland companies when you obtain a credit limit or Qcheck
  • Improved level of automatic limit approval and no system generated reductions in cover
  • Online claims and overdues service
Selective policies encompass Single Account, Key Account, Major Account and Key Account policies, Top Up and Excess of Loss.

New credit opinions service
Exclusive to our clients, QCheck, helps clients assess the creditworthiness of UK and Ireland customers and provides the insurance cover needed for them to grow business confidently.
A QCheck opinion serves as justification for clients within their Discretionary Limit and is valid for 12 months from issue. By providing an opinion rather than a definitive limit, QBE Trade Credit clients have greater flexibility in managing their exposures within their Discretionary Limit. The opinion can be increased by using trading experience, or alternatively can be overridden by using other approved sources.
Clients receive a free allocation of QCheck opinions within the policy management charge, the number directly related to the premium paid under the policy. Typically, QCheck opinions are provided instantaneously, by email and through the company’s online policy management system. Opinions are written at the full level of indemnity up to the value of discretion or £75,000 whatever the lesser.
For more information about our flexible approach and our capabilities, please visit our website at www.qbeeurope.com/tradecredit or email us at tradecrediteurope@uk.qbe.com.

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