The expected spike in trade credit claims resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic has not yet been realised, revealed a preliminary report on the business activity of Berne Union members in the first half of 2020.
The Berne Union, also known as The International Union of Credit & Investment Insurers, is a prominent global association for the export credit and investment insurance industry.
The association pointed out that export credit claims paid in 1H2020 were 16% lower overall than for the first half of 2019.
The fall can be partially attributed to a decline in new commitments during the same time which has been largely caused by a general decline in exports. A 23% drop in new medium- and long-term (MLT) commitments was reported and there was also a 4% decrease in aggregate credit limits issued under short-term (ST) export credit insurance policies.
In the MLT business, both public and private insurers’ new commitments declined. Meanwhile, for the short-term, private insurers’ commitments fell by 8%, whereas those of public insurers rose by the same percentage according to The Berne Union.
Private insurers’ ST claims/commitments ratio came down marginally, while this increased for public insurers, as well as for both providers, in their MLT business.
Commenting on the claims data, Berne Union president Beatriz Reguero said, “The fact that we have not yet seen a significant increase in claims payments is in large part due to protection afforded by various forms of fiscal support from governments as well as by the quick reaction of lenders and insurers in restructuring deals when necessary.”
According to her, the consensus amongst the industry is that a more obvious change in claims trends is expected to be seen towards the end of the year.
Berne Union secretary general Vinco David said, “The industry will certainly see an increase in claims related to the pandemic, but where exactly these materialise will depend upon both the underlying business and the management of current structural support.
“The transition away from state support, both for exporters and the private market, requires very careful management and creative and flexible approaches from all players to avoid disruption. This is something we will be looking at through the remainder of this year as many of the support schemes approach their provisional end dates.”