Members of the Berne Union (BU) insured an all-time high of US$589bn of long-term export transactions in the first six months of 2012, showing an increase in demand for such products.

“There is strong demand from exporters to secure their international operations and employment,” says Peter Jones, BU secretary general. “Credit insurers are meeting this demand and ensuring continued international trade flows against a backdrop of a global economic slowdown.”

Members also increased levels of support for insurance of trade transactions with payment terms of 30 to 90 days, matching pre-crisis levels. Credit insurance capacity was just over US$900bn at the end of June 2012, consistent with pre-crisis levels.

Johan Schrijver, president of the union, says: “Despite these positive results, members continue to express serious concerns about the ability of banks to fund trade and investment given the proposed regulatory changes and the on-going funding challenges that banks are facing. Any further deterioration in bank capacity for trade and export finance could have serious consequences for global trade and economic recovery.”

BU members indemnified US$2bn to exporters who suffered from buyer defaults in H1 2012. Foreign direct investment insurance reached US$47bn, 10% ahead of the same period last year.

In 2011, they insured US$1.8tn of international trade and investments, over 10% of world exports, according to the Berne Union.

The organisation held its annual general meeting 2012 on October 9-11 in Stockholm, re-electing Johan Schrijver, managing director of Atradius, as its president, and making a number of other appointments.

Marcelo Franco, executive vice-president of medium and long-term business of Brazil’s
SBCE, was elected as the incoming vice-president of the Berne Union.

Ralph Lai of the Hong Kong Credit Insurance Corporation (HKEC) and Khemais El-Gazzah of the Islamic Corporation for Insurance and Export Credit (ICIEC) were elected as the incoming chair and vice-chair of the short-term committee.

Ken Tinsley of US Exim and Hans-Joachim Pflocksch of Euler Hermes were re-elected as chair and vice-chair of the medium and long-term committee.

John Hegeman of the American International Group (AIG) and Vinco David of Atradius were elected as the incoming chair and vice-chair of the investment insurance committee.