Insurance regulator IRDAI’s decision to unveil a new trade risk cover is expected to aid corporates, suppliers, banks and financial institutions in opening up access to new markets and managing country political risk and non-payment risk associated with the trade financing portfolio.
Moreover, corporates will now be able to free up capital and invest in businesses as trade credit insurance policy will enable them to monetize the account receivables, experts said.
The new trade credit insurance cover which protects businesses against the risk of non-payment for goods and services by buyers comes at a time when a sustained recovery in global trade and demand from key external markets like the US and the European Union in product categories such as textiles and garments have helped boost India’s exports, which recorded the sixth consecutive month of growth in August.
The total trade credit outstanding was Rs 614,336 crore as of June 2021, a growth of 11.1 per cent on a year-on-year basis, according to RBI data.
Trade credit insurance usually covers a portfolio of buyers and indemnifies an agreed percentage of an invoice or invoices that remain unpaid as a result of protracted default, insolvency/ bankruptcy. “It contributes to the economic growth of a country by facilitating trade and helps in improving economic stability by addressing the trade losses due to payment risks,” IRDAI said while announcing the new policy.
According to Sanjay Kedia, Country Head and CEO, Marsh India Insurance Brokers, the revised guidelines on trade credit will help the suppliers as well as licensed banks and other financial institutions to get insurance protection which will help them to manage country political risk, open up access to new markets and to manage non-payment risk associated with trade financing portfolio.
Trade risk insurance can be issued to seller or supplier of goods or services, factoring company as defined in the Factoring Regulation Act 2011 and banks and financial institutions, it said. A trade credit insurance for banks and financial institutions and factoring companies should cover the loss on account of non-receipt of payment from a buyer, due to commercial or political risks, against the bills and invoices purchased or discounted. “The move to support factoring business by insurance covers, will unlock huge values in the balance sheet as account receivables of corporates, particularly for SME/ MSME sector. The corporates will now be able to free up capital and invest in businesses as trade credit insurance policy will enable them to monetize the account receivables,” Kedia said.
The latest IRDAI move will facilitate general insurance companies to offer trade credit insurance covers to suppliers as well as licensed banks and other financial institutions to help businesses manage country risk, open up access to new markets and manage non-payment risk associated with trade financing portfolio, IRDAI said. It will also enable general insurance companies to offer trade credit insurance with customised covers to improve businesses for the SMEs and MSMEs, considering the evolving insurance risk needs of these sectors.
“Political risk cover is available only in case of buyers outside India and in respect of those countries agreed upon,” IRDAI said. It will include occurrence of war between the buyer’s country and India and also war, hostilities, civil war, rebellion, revolution, insurrection or other disturbances in the buyer’s country.