Information for Prospective Members

The Berne Union is an international not-for-profit trade association. Our purpose is to provide a forum for professional exchange amongst our members in the field of export credit and investment insurance. This is achieved through meetings, seminars and workshops, as well as through online discussions and collaboration via the Berne Union Online Platform.

Berne Union meetings are valued for the honest and open exchange of business information they encourage amongst participants. We are not a lobbying body, and while many of our members have government links, the ethos of the Berne Union is to remain focused on the underlying business activities of our members.

Membership Criteria

The Berne Union is open to new members who meet our membership criteria. Membership is not limited to organisations with a government link - indeed the Berne Union has always included a mix of public and private insurers - our mission is to represent the entire industry for export credit and investment insurance, worldwide.

  • Institutions should be underwriters carrying out actual and direct export credit and/or investment insurance business as their core activity
  • Institutions must have been effectively in operation in the field of credit/investment insurance for a period of at least three years* 
  • Institutions should meet certain thresholds for premium income or business covered
  • If the applicant is engaged in export credit insurance, its operations must include insurance of both commercial and political risks and it must underwrite political risks in a global and general sense
  • If an institution is engaged in the insurance of outward investment, it must be providing direct insurance against the normal political risks, including expropriation, war and transfer difficulties

* This condition is waived in the case of official ECAs applying to join the Prague Club Committee.

Proceedure

Interested parties should contact the Secretariat in the first instance. Following initial discussions to confirm eligibility and determine appropraite committees for prospective membership, the applicant will be invited to complete a formal application. This will be shared with the appropraite Committee/(s) and Berne Union Leadership, who must both endorse the application for it to proceed. Finally the applicant will be invited to present their busienss to the Plenary at a forthcoming General Meeting, who will then vote on admission.

All new members sit as Observers for a period of four General Meetings (~2 years), before they are eligible for promotion to full membership (on condition of successful vote). During this period, Observers will have full rights of participation, but no voting rights, and will pay only 80% of applicible fees.

Services to Members  

All members have the opportunity to influence the activities of the Berne Union - from setting the agenda for forthcoming meetings, to proposing new working groups and specialist meetings. The main benefits of members are:

Data and business information

All Berne Union members share detailed data on their business (volumes/exposure/sectors/regions/claims/premium etc.). The Secretariat publish 1/2 yearly aggregates, but members have access to the full database, according to their committee affiliatioins.

Data is accessible via the Berne Union Online Platform - this website - which also hosts discussion forums, comprehensive member directory and other shared information resources. The discussion forums provide an opportunity for members to seek input from their peers on specific business issues: risk assessment; cover policy; buyer problems; third-party referrals etc.

Meetings participation

The Berne Union organises two general meetings per year (Spring and Autumn), as well as 5-6 technical workshops and specialist meetings.

General meetings usually take place over 4 days and are based around high-level discussion of current industry topics and full-participation exchanges of business trends, innovations and case-studies amongst members, set in context by member-reported data. These meetings are attended by Senior Management of Berne Union members, and provide an excellent networking opportunity.

Technical workshops are rather attended by specialists in the field (claims & recoveries / country risk / project finance / SMEs etc.) and provide a unique opportunity to collectively tackle challenges in these fields, alongside top experts from across the world.

As well as member meetings, we organise regular Outreach Networks, providing an opportunity to interface with counterparts from other parts of the industry (DFIs / IFIs / ExImbanks / MDBs / Commercial Lenders). 

Representation and collaboration

As the leading association, the Berne Union is in a unique position to provide a collective voice for the industry. Drawing upon our rich resources (access to data and through-leaders from across our membership) the Berne Union works to promote the activities of our members and provide a better understanding of the significance of export credit and investment products for world trade and economic prosperity.

We work with trade publications, international business press and media to gain exposure for the collective industry and membership.

At the same time, the Berne Union works to forge links with significant industry bodies, regulators, trade associations and interest groups, to represent our members and the credit and investment insurance industry in the most important cross industry dialogues.