AIG in Europe has launched a spate of new products in the trade credit insurance market. All market firsts, these include instruments to support receivables finance, provide non-cancellable credit limits and fully eliminate defined benefit pension deficit.

“We’ve had trade finance products for a while, but we’ve developed our technology to ensure it’s much easier for the banks to execute these deals because it allows them far greater insight into how that portfolio is performing,” Neil Ross, AIG trade credit regional manager for EMEA, tells GTR.

The firm has just gone live with a new web-based platform called Global Finance Manager (GFM). The platform processes a daily feed of invoice data for the purpose of managing receivables for trade finance programmes that is backed by a trade credit insurance policy. It is used during both the deal structuring and ongoing “live” phases, by all parties connected to the deal.

“It mirrors what we do with Global Limits Manager which is more of a credit management tool,” says Ross. “But GFM is designed to allow banks to structure their trade finance deals in an effective way, and to provide greater insight into how that portfolio is performing. It also ensures that the insurance is more effectively embedded into the whole process” he explains.

Using that same sort of technology, on April 1 the company launched AIG Trade+, a middle-market trade credit product which combines “ground-up” cover with non-cancellable buyer limits without the need for an aggregate deductible. The software is installed onto a client’s accounts receivable system, allowing credit limits to be automatically calculated based on real time payment history, or set by an underwriter. “This is the first time that anyone has had a product which provides non-cancellable limits across the whole portfolio without a deductible,” says Ross.

“We’ve shown it to a couple of brokers – the feedback has been fantastic,” he tells GTR. “They feel that this is a product which could help to bring companies [that exited the market in the past five or six years] back into the credit insurance market.”

AIG has also come up with a product to help companies fully eliminate defined benefit pension deficit from their balance sheets with no impact on their working capital. This is another way in which the firm is using trade credit techniques to address the problems companies face today, explains Ross. “In the UK there’s something like 6,000 companies that have a defined benefit pension deficit on their balance sheets – so it’s very much a growing problem, because in many cases these deficits are getting bigger,” he says.

AIG has more products being launched later in the year, geared at the SME sector.

In addition to the new products, the firm has also announced new hires to its trade credit team: Oliver Lambert and Marius Wolmarans in London and Ulf Cramer in Frankfurt.

Lambert has joined the company, taking on the role of trade finance manager, working with David Bonsall, director of AIG trade finance. He joins AIG from Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, where he held an underwriting role for 11 years.

Wolmarans has taken up a new role managing the development and growth of the company’s multi-national business across the Emea region, focusing specifically on major accounts and financial institutions. He has 23 years of TCI experience, split between underwriting and broking and has held positions at Euler Hermes and Marsh South Africa, among others.

Finally, Cramer has been hired to head up AIG’s trade credit insurance excess of loss and trade finance initiative, which the firm has extended into Germany. He joins the Frankfurt team from Coface, where he worked as senior executive. Cramer will be responsible for the sales and product development of trade finance products and reports to Christian Vollbehr, manager of AIG’s German trade credit team.