ATI Voted into the Berne Union – the Association of the World’s Largest Export Credit & Investment Insurers

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NAIROBI & STOCKHOLM, 10 October, 2012 – The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) took a giant step to gaining increased international credibility. Elected as the 50th member, ATI becomes only the third African-based insurer to be voted into the leading association for export credit and investment insurers worldwide. Membership requirements include strong financial results such as a $10 million Gross Written Premium, which ATI is on track to meet and likely exceed in 2012 for the first time in its history.

ATI’s Chief Executive Officer, George Otieno and its Chief Underwriting Officer, Jef Vincent were both present at the meeting in Stockholm to accept the vote that officially confirmed ATI into observer status of the BU and its committee that focuses on Investment Insurance. Observer status is the preliminary phase to full membership.

“Observer status in the Berne Union is a significant step for ATI. First it represents a vote of confidence by our international peers that our underwriting is world class. And second the association gives us better access to develop partnerships with some of the major players in the fields of export credit and investment insurance. These partnerships can play a significant role in helping to attract more investments into Africa,” commented ATI’s CEO on the sidelines of the meeting.

The Association boasts some of the largest players in export credit and investment insurance, who in 2011 supported a record $1.8 trillion worth of transactions – representing over 10% of international trade. The Berne Union’s members also helped to significantly soften the landing of companies impacted by the financial crisis, paying out $15 billion to exporters and investors to indemnify them for losses suffered since the financial crisis began in 2008.

To date there are few African insurers that have the capacity and technical expertise to carry these lines of insurance products. As an observer of the Berne Union, ATI joins only two fellow African institutions, who are full members – the South African-based Credit Guarantee Insurance Corporation of Africa Ltd and Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa Ltd. Other members include Atradius from the Netherlands, Coface of France, ECGD of the UK, Euler Hermes of Germany, EDC of Canada, Sinosure of China and OPIC of the United States.

The Berne Union also works extensively with international trade organisations to promote best practice in export credit insurance and cooperation and stability in international trade. In 2011, for instance, they created two working groups in collaboration with the World Bank to address the challenging environment for global trade and investment flows and to coordinate a response to proposed changes in the regulations directed at financial institutions’ exposure to trade and export finance. Other partners include multilateral banks, the IMF, OECD, UNCTAD and the WTO.

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