The annual meeting of the International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA) was held in Guadalajara, Mexico from June 6-9. Members of ICISA are the world’s leading credit insurance and surety insurers and reinsurers.

ICISA’s credit insurance members represent over 95% of the global credit insurance industry. In 2006 ICISA members insured over US$2tn in trade receivables.

At the event, the association’s 65th annual meeting, delegates discussed the potential effects of credit derivative products on the sector, new and emerging risks, general product trends, including developments in medium term credit insurance.

A review on developments in the global, regional and national regulatory environment, accounting standards and rating agency treatment was also undertaken. Representatives from the Berne Union, the Pan-American Surety Association (Pasa), the Surety & Fidelity Association of America (SFAA), Alasece (the Latin-American export credit association) and the Federation of Business Information Service (Febis) participated in the meeting.

John Rumpler (group general manager of QBE), president of ICISA, stated: “The sector has again been able to take stock of current developments and contemplate challenges for any future economic changes. Not only is this in the interest of continuity, but more importantly for the benefit of our customers who’s credit and trade risks we manage. ”

Over 2006, ICISA members insured substantially larger volumes of global trade, resulting in increased premium. Insured exposures surged by more than 30%, while overall premium income for the sector was up 20%.

Surety members reported much improved claims results, largely thanks to prudent underwriting and successful recoveries.

However, credit insurance claims increased by some 30% signalling a moderate trend towards a higher risk environment for short-term credit. Overall claims ratios are deteriorating modestly but remain satisfactory; a negative trend is particularly visible in Spain and Portugal, while the situation improved in Japan and in Greece. Most other markets continue to produce more than satisfactory results.

Average premium rates have seen a downward trend during 2006, following increased competition in existing and developing markets.

The positive growth is also reflected in the results of ICISA member companies involved with reinsuring the underwritten risks. On average their credit premium income has seen a healthy growth, while surety premium has grown at a more modest pace. Reinsured claims in general are increasing, in particular for credit insured risks.

Robert Nijhout, executive director, said: “The first signs that the current benign economic environment may end are visible. Our industry is ready to face these challenges, while actively looking into alternative products to meet our customers “future needs. ”

ICISA welcomed Fianzas Monterrey of Mexico as its newest member.

ICISA members also elected Rumpler as president for 2007-08. Clemens von Weichs (chairman, group management board, Euler Hermes) was elected as the association’s vice-president for the same period.

Peter Ingenlath (interim CEO and CMO, Atradius), Werner Jger (managing director, Hannover Re) and Shinkou Takahashi (manager, guarantee and credit division, Sompo Japan Insurance) were elected as members of the management committee.