Post-Covid rebound and strong growth for Credendo in 2021!
Credendo had an excellent centenary year with strong growth, strengthened market positioning and the development of innovative products, which are all vital assets for the future – a future Credendo wants to build around a key strategic objective of minimising environmental impacts. In terms of numbers, the group posted continued growth in its revenues from insurance premiums. The 2021 results also saw a marked reduction in the number of claims and a solid return to profitability.
After a two-speed 2020, characterised firstly by a sudden and violent global economic shock and then the beginnings of an economic recovery (thanks to state support programmes introduced to limit the pandemic’s consequences), 2021 was the year the rebound was confirmed. Credendo played a leading role in the recovery by developing a bespoke offer enabling businesses to continue to trade, thus avoiding the liquidity problems they had faced during the global financial crisis of 2008.
To support Belgian businesses, Credendo had set up a programme in which it acted on behalf of the State as the reinsurer for private credit insurers. This meant that existing credit limits could be maintained and cover for trade credit between businesses continued to be available.
Strengthened positioning and credibility
In June 2021, the merger between Credendo – Single Risk and Credendo – Excess & Surety was completed. The move was announced in September 2020 and manifestly convinced the market in short order. The new merged entity, Credendo – Guarantees & Speciality Risks, brings together three specialisms: trade credit insurance for excess-of-loss and complementary cover (Top Up), guarantees and sureties, and Single Risk insurance policies. Present in ten European countries, the company is positioning itself as the single gateway to a range of specialist insurance products. Through this structure, it aspires to be increasingly effective in meeting business needs. Confirmation of the market’s positive response is the A- rating and stable risk outlook for 2021 from the ratings agency S&P.
Credendo also took the opportunity in 2021 to adapt and simplify its forfaiting product, making it easier for exporters to access and reducing and streamlining its administrative procedures. Credendo’s forfaiting is a refinancing product for buyer credit, designed to support Belgian businesses, particularly SMEs.
Credendo Green Package
In parallel, Credendo accelerated its support for sustainable projects. It began identifying support measures it could introduce to incentivise businesses to invest more fully and effectively in this direction. Through the ‘Credendo Green Package’, Credendo wants to support green projects, including in Belgium itself, if they have export potential. This is a strong signal of a renewed commitment to the sustainable transition. Credendo’s series of incentives is aimed at supporting projects and assisting businesses that have a positive impact on the environment. ‘The projects selected for this scheme will automatically benefit from the most favourable terms, and support and assistance measures, available in our offers or contracts,’ explains Dirk Terweduwe, CEO of Credendo.
Key figures for 2021
Whilst the pace of growth is slower than in the previous year, Credendo’s earned premium revenues have risen again to €339.8 million, an increase of 1.7%.
In terms of claims, the net loss ratio fell back drastically to 11.9% compared to 72.5% in the previous year. An equally remarkable turnaround in results saw profits totalling €209.5 million where 2020 had ended in the red, with an €83 million loss.
Changes in risks
As in 2020, Covid-19 was the main risk factor hitting the global economy and influencing its trajectory. Although 2021 was the year of global economic recovery (+5.9%) after its sharp contraction in 2020 ( 3.1%), there were wide disparities in this rebound depending on the economic sector, and the region or country, with a consequent impact on risk. Alongside the uncertainties arising from the pandemic, inflationary pressures, the significant growth in government debt, changes in certain socio-political situations related to an erosion of confidence in the authorities or, for example, the increase in food prices may raise fears of a heightened risk of social unrest and instability in some countries.
In 2021, Credendo reviewed 30 countries for short-term political risk and 10 were downgraded. In terms of business environment risk (previously commercial risk), the number of changes was far more dramatic as a result of an improving economic outlook. No fewer than 126 countries were upgraded, primarily in Asia and Latin America, followed by sub-Saharan Africa.
The 2020 trend for medium-term political risk was confirmed with the majority of countries downgraded, as the impact of the pandemic worsened already problematic situations.
Thanks to these good results, Credendo saw its equity increase by €200 million to €2.9 billion, and is ready to face the challenges of 2022 and, in particular, the manifold consequences of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its shockwaves which are already being felt far beyond the confines of Eastern Europe.
Here is the link to the complete annual report
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