The International Trade & Forfaiting Association (ITFA) announced the official launch of its insurance committee at last week’s AGM in Dubai.
The committee is headed up by Silja Calac, ITFA board member and senior underwriter surety at Swiss Re as chair and David Neckar, product development director, Willis Financial Solutions as secretary.

Speaking at the AGM in Dubai, Calac told ITFA members that the committee intends to “improve the co-operation between banks, insurance companies and brokers in the risk mitigation of transaction banking assets” and added that its purpose is to “help members to understand and utilise this type of insurance within their institutions and assist the insurance industry to produce policies and products that are relevant and effective”.

“We want to be the bridge between members that use it actively and those that don’t,” Neckar told GTR on the sidelines of the event.

The committee’s specific function will be driven by the results of a recently-launched credit risk insurance survey, which members have been asked to complete and includes questions on insurance usage, constraints, coverage and training opportunities. The survey will assist the committee in gaining a deeper understanding of the role that insurance plays in transaction banking and guide them in identifying members’ priority issues. Members have until the end of October to provide their feedback.

“The aim of the committee will very much be determined by the outcome of the survey,” says Calac. “It’s about making the whole industry more transparent.”

Further goals relate to education (in the form of seminars for ITFA members), regulatory issues (where the committee may act as an advisor on topics such as Dodd Frank and CRD IV and facilitate contact with regulators), and, alongside this, the creation of market standard documentation.
In his presentation at ITFA’s conference, Neckar made mention of the lack of local insurance presence in the Gulf region, which, he told GTR, “sends a signal to insurance companies, brokers and members of ITFA that there’s a nascent need for insurance. Regulatory issues are the first hurdle that have to be tackled. How we do that is by no means clear yet, but it will come”.

The committee was officially set up on August 18, but gathered together formally for the first time at the AGM. The committee will be inviting ITFA members to a presentation of the findings of the survey in London on December 7.

Founding members of the ITFA insurance committee include:
AIG: Neil Ross, Duarte Pedreira
Swiss Re: Silja Calac
Willis: David Neckar, Andrew van den Born
SMBC: Sean Edwards, Matthew Beckett
Barclays: Karl Page
BNP Paribas: Sébastien Heurteux
Liberty: Elisabeth Dexter, Peter Sprent
Texel: Katie Fowler

Sullivan & Worcester is the committee’s official legal advisor.