Asian members of the International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA), recently met in Hong Kong to discuss current market trends and the outlook for the industry in Asia.
Richard Wulff, Group General Manager Credit & Surety at QBE and Chair of the Asia Committee: ”Members of ICISA see Asia as the top area for growth in 2015/2016.This year over 20 delegates representing twelve insurance companies participated in the meeting. The ICISA delegates represented the large majority of the Asian private trade credit insurance market players. But we were also happy to welcome a member from the Berne Union. The delegates had in-depth discussions about the Asian region from a trade credit insurance perspective.”
Robert Nijhout, Executive Director: “ICISA represents around 95% of the private trade credit insurance industry worldwide. The meeting in Hong Kong and the number of participating companies shows the importance of this region for our industry. Discussions in the Asia Committee promote sustained technical excellence, industry innovation and product integrity. Non-competitive issues of importance to the industry and our customers were discussed in an open atmosphere.”
The growing importance of the Committee was illustrated by the high level of involvement from Asian based members. Richard Wulff: “I herewith like to extend a special welcome to the newly elected vice-chair, Ms. Zhongzhu Chen, Head of Credit Insurance & Surety Department at PICC. Her commitment underlines the perceived value of the Asia Committee. There is a number of issues surrounding our industry and visible in our portfolios of risk. Some of these were discussed, such as, reinsurance regulation in Indonesia, buyer information in Malaysia and the prevalence of fraud.”
The agenda of the Committee was inviting and challenging. Richard Wulff: “Members shared their views on the international and Asian reinsurance market and the desirability and enforceability of parental guarantees in a number of Asian countries. Regarding the outlook for the industry in Asia an optimistic feeling was noted. It is clear that Asia is the place where we can grow profitably.”
China’s policy stimulus for trade credit insurance, the increased role for export credit insurance and the liberalized export credit market in conjunction with an increasing SME involvement were identified as opportunities in Asia for 2014 and 2015. But the members also identified potential concerns for the industry in the Asian region. “Three issues were discussed, which need extra attention. First of all the importance of building deeper/different distribution networks to serve a much larger part of the market and the necessity to adapt to local customs, not necessarily copying Western-style wordings and way of working. Also the issue of fraud remains on the table. Developing a different style of policy underwriting as well as building deep recovery networks might be a key to this”, according to Richard Wulff.
Robert Nijhout indicates that ICISA’s Asia platform allows members to build a set of ideas on issues in Asia. “These issues include among others claims handling (China), recruiting/training qualified underwriters, increased competition on running policies, trade with the Eurozone , regulatory changes, higher demand for top-line cover in spite of overall high risk, lack of market education in trade credit insurance, the effects of sanctions, supervisors in Asia and capital adequacy.”
Richard Wulff concludes that “with this meeting ICISA has again proved its value. If a member is active in the Asian market place, this Committee is the chance to influence the future of our industry. The Asia Committee is a step in addressing working within a market of this scale and diversity.”
The International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA) brings together the world's leading companies that provide trade credit insurance and/or surety bonds. Founded in 1928 as the first credit insurance association, the current members account for 95% of the world's private credit insurance business. Today, with almost USD 3 trillion in trade receivables insured and billions of dollars worth of construction, services and infrastructure guaranteed, ICISA members play a central role in facilitating trade and economic development on all five continents and practically every country in the world.
For more information on ICISA, please visit www.icisa.org