Chubb has been involved with the trade credit and political risk insurance market for the past 20 years. Julian Edwards, Head of Political Risk & Credit, and Julian Hudson, Head of Trade Credit, share their insights.


Q: What has been the impact of Covid-19 on trade credit insurance in the last year?

Edwards: Throughout 2020, when it started to become clear that the financial impact of coronavirus around the world could be extreme, we prepared ourselves for an onslaught of insolvencies.

The reality has been a little different. What we saw in our clients was in some way a reflection of what we have seen in wider society.

For some, for example in the pharma or food sector, the crisis presented new opportunities to grow and thrive, and we provided extra capacity to support them.

On the other hand, we saw governments pour money into their local economies to protect the most vulnerable sectors, companies and employees. This has prevented the expected onslaught of insolvencies and many companies have managed to navigate this crisis with limited impact on themselves and their suppliers, from an insolvency perspective.

Now the uneven recovery is in full swing and this presents new issues. As the world turned the lights on again, we have been presented with supply chain issues, potential ‘stagflation’ and the pressure on governments to take corrective economic measures. This will put pressure on interest rates and increase insolvencies and future claims in the credit market. The next few months will be critical to see whether these issues are temporary or more longer lasting.


Q: How did Chubb support clients through the crisis?

Hudson: Our approach throughout the crisis has not changed; if anything the crisis played to our strengths.

We are one of the few markets to offer non-cancellable cover and no reduction in credit limit. In an environment where many clients were left with insurers exiting the market, we provided consistency and certainty of cover.

We work together with our clients to implement long-term, smart risk management processes. For many that approach meant that they were much less susceptible to the negative effects of the pandemic, such as cancelled cover, non-payment or insolvencies, than others.

In addition, wherever our clients might be located, they benefit from having one single underwriting contact within the team. In a period of constant and rapid change such as the pandemic, this greatly eased communications and decision making with our brokers and clients.


Q: This year marks 20 years since the political risk and credit team was set up: what’s your view on how the market has evolved in that time?

Hudson: One thing that has never changed is how exciting this market is to be in. The dynamics shift from year to year – one crisis is no guide to future crises. You never get bored trying to navigate through this.

We have supported tens of billions of dollars of trade and investments globally.

When the team was set up, it was a very different market – you had only about 20 carriers writing very vanilla political risk and credit products. Fast forward to today and we have around 64 participants writing a much broader offering of product that is supported by a real depth of capacity.

The market has demonstrated durability, whether it be through the financial crisis or more recently through Covid-19. This was not the case 30 years ago when we were reduced to a market of three participants following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Edwards: Chubb (formally as ACE) has been underwriting these products for 35 years. When we started this operation we combined the political risk business from Lloyd’s Syndicate 2488 with a trade credit business acquired through the purchase of Cigna. This was our foundation and from there we have now built a business that operates in 10 locations globally covering the traditional as well as emerging trade and investment flows.

Given our experience, Chubb has an institutional understanding of this product line and always remains constant in its underwriting capabilities and support offered to clients. Our team is spread out all over the world and wherever you access them you get the same consistency of approach, claims service and extensive knowledge of local markets.


Connect with us on LinkedIn @Chubb

Find out more at