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Trade Credit

Trade credit is an arrangement where a business allows its customers to purchase goods or services now and pay for them later, usually within a specified period. It's a common practice in business-to-business transactions and helps companies maintain smooth cash flow.

What is Trade Credit in Insurance?

Trade credit insurance is a type of business insurance that protects companies against the risk of non-payment by their customers. If a customer fails to pay for goods or services due to insolvency, bankruptcy, or other reasons, trade credit insurance compensates the insured business for the loss, ensuring they don’t suffer financially from unpaid invoices.

For example, imagine a furniture manufacturer sells $100,000 worth of furniture to a retail store on credit, expecting payment within 60 days. If the retail store goes bankrupt before paying, the manufacturer would normally face a significant financial loss. However, with trade credit insurance, the manufacturer can claim the unpaid amount from their insurer, mitigating the financial impact.

Trade Credit Graphic Insurance Glossary

Key Components of Trade Credit

Trade credit insurance involves several key components:

  1. Coverage Limit: This is the maximum amount the insurer will pay for claims. It’s determined based on the policy and the credit limits set for each customer.

  2. Premiums: The cost of trade credit insurance, which is typically a percentage of the total credit sales of the insured business. Premiums vary depending on the risk profile of the insured’s customers.

  3. Deductibles: The portion of any claim that the insured must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. Higher deductibles usually result in lower premium costs.

Types of Trade Credit Covered

Trade credit insurance can cover various types of trade credit transactions:

Domestic Trade Credit

Coverage for sales made within the same country. This type of insurance protects businesses from non-payment risks in their home market.

Export Trade Credit

Coverage for international sales. Export trade credit insurance is crucial for companies that do business with foreign buyers, as it protects against risks unique to international trade, such as political instability and currency fluctuations.

Short-term Trade Credit

Coverage for credit terms typically up to one year. This is the most common type of trade credit insurance and is used for standard business transactions.

Medium-term Trade Credit

Coverage for credit terms longer than one year, up to three years. This type is used for sales of capital goods or large-scale projects that require extended payment terms.

How Insurance Covers Trade Credits

Trade credit insurance works by providing a safety net for businesses when their customers fail to pay. Here’s how it generally operates:

  1. Credit Assessment: Insurers evaluate the creditworthiness of the business’s customers. This assessment helps set credit limits and determine the level of risk.

  2. Policy Issuance: Based on the credit assessment, the insurer issues a policy that outlines the coverage limits, premium costs, and deductibles. The policy may cover all customers or specific ones.

  3. Ongoing Monitoring: Insurers continuously monitor the financial health of covered customers. They may adjust credit limits and premiums based on changes in customers’ creditworthiness.

  4. Claims Process: If a customer fails to pay, the insured business files a claim with the insurer. The insurer verifies the claim and pays out the covered amount, minus any deductibles.

For instance, if a company with trade credit insurance has a customer that defaults on a $50,000 invoice, and the policy includes a $5,000 deductible, the insurer will pay $45,000 to the insured business after processing the claim.

Trade Credit Photo Insurance Glossary