SACE's Michal Ron becomes the new president of Berne Union

(TXF News, London, 28 October 2020) Last week the Berne Union (BU) also held its annual meeting, on a virtual basis, and Michal Ron, chief international officer of the Italian export credit agency Sace, was voted in as the new BU president. Outgoing president Beatriz Reguero (Cesce) remarked that her term had been characterised by an environment of unprecedented uncertainty, with the Covid pandemic the most visible manifestation of this. Incoming President Michal Ron has expressed her mission for the term is to increase inclusivity and help bridge the gap between export credit insurers from advanced economies and developing economies. She also wants to further promote open dialogue between OECD and non-OECD members, eastern and western hemisphere institutions, private and public operators, contemporaneously providing a wider platform to emerging market members of the BU. During the AGM members also engaged in a virtual ‘stocktake’ of the state of the export credit and investment insurance industry during the Covid pandemic. While claims activity was said to be currently relatively subdued – $3.3 billion paid in 2020 H1, compared to $3.2 billion in 2019 H1 – many members reported a marked increase in payment deferrals and pre-claim situations and most expected to see Covid-related claims levels rising from early next year. BU members flagged particular vulnerabilities in the transportation sector – especially aviation and shipping – as well as retail, construction and product manufacturing. In a BU survey, 80% of members reported an increase in new demand, most commonly for short-term credit and working capital products. Around a third of respondents indicated that this includes a substantial increase in inquiries from new clients. BU data shows that short-term commitments in the first half of 2020 ($1,644 billion) were marginally down year-on-year, but new cover for domestic risks (largely cover for working capital and manufacturing risks) increased almost 50% in the same time, up to $36 billion in the first half of 2020.