At its Annual General Meeting 2013, the Berne Union – International Union of Credit & Investment Insurers, elected new officers, including President, Vice President and Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs.
The Berne Union combines public export credit agencies (ECAs) and private market insurers of export credit and investment. Public and private players in the Berne Union cooperate and join their strengths in the form of underwriting expertise and insurance capacity. As Berne Union members mitigate risks for exporters and investors in international trade and investment, this equally benefits the recipient countries of these transactions, says Dan Riordan, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich Global Corporate in North America and the newly elected President of the Union.
Since the global financial crisis in 2008, Berne Union members have indemnified approximately US$ 22 billion to exporters and investors, protecting them from losses suffered due to buyer defaults in all regions of the world.
Johan Schrijver, outgoing President of the Berne Union and outgoing Managing Director of Atradius Dutch State Business, emphasizes the importance of public ECAs: They are well equipped to deal with risks in international trade. They can rely on the full support of their governments, in order to cover transactions with long tenors, even in the riskiest regions of the world.
For insurance of short term trade transactions with payment terms of typically 30 to 90 days, credit insurance capacity remains steady at just over US$ 1 trillion at the end of the first half 2013, a level higher than pre-crisis.
During the same period, growth has been flat in the field of insurance for export transactions on longer payment terms of up to 15 years. However, with a total amount of US$ 626 billion in the books of Berne Union ECAs at the end of the second quarter, the volume of covered transactions remains at the highest level ever, demonstrating the importance of risk mitigation for medium and long term transactions.
For insurance of foreign direct investment, the new business insured reached US$ 54 billion in the first half of 2013, consistent with the same period last year.
Rudolf Scholten, CEO of OeKB of Austria underlined the importance of risk mitigation for smaller players in the international field: Most of OeKB group customers are SMEs. They benefit from a range of products tailored to their needs as well as from our one-stop shop approach – we handle underwriting risk and refinancing under one roof.
With the insurance capacity offered, Berne Union members are confident to support the same volumes of export trade and investment as last year. In 2012, they insured US$ 1.8 trillion of international trade and investments, supporting more than 10% of world exports.
The meeting was hosted 7-10 October 2013 in Vienna by OeKB, the Austrian ECA.
Election of Officers
Daniel Riordan, CEO of Zurich Global Corporate in North America, was elected as the incoming President of the Berne Union.
Andreas Klasen, Partner and Head of Economics and Policy of PwC (Germany) was elected as the incoming Vice President of the Berne Union.
Ralph Lai, HKEC (Hong Kong) and Khemais El-Gazzah, ICIEC (a multilateral institution based in Saudi Arabia) were re-elected as the Chair and Vice Chair of the Short Term Committee.
Karin Apelman, EKN (Sweden) and Jing Fenglei, SINOSURE (China) were elected as incoming Chair and Vice Chair of the Medium/Long Term Committee.
John Hegeman, AIG (USA) and Vinco David, ATRADIUS (the Netherlands) were re-elected as the Chair and Vice Chair of the Investment Insurance Committee.
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About the Berne Union
The Berne Union (International Union of Credit & Investment Insurers) is the leading international association for the export credit and investment insurance industry. It works for cooperation and stability in cross-border trade by supporting the international acceptance of sound principles in export credits and foreign investments and by providing a forum for professional exchange among its members.
The 49 members of the Berne Union covered over US$1.8 trillion worth of business in 2012, which is more than 10% of the world’s total export trade. Members are both private companies, offering worldwide risk management solutions, and state backed export credit agencies, focusing upon the support of national exports and outward investments.
Members benefit from the highest quality information exchange through several yearly meetings, seminars and workshops, and interactively online. Exchanges focus on technical aspects of international trade, as well as developing and promoting best practices.
The Berne Union has well established links with other organisations that play important roles in world trade including the ICC, IMF, OECD, World Bank, WTO and regional development banks.
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