You can choose between a specialised insurer or your bank for your sureties and guarantees. For the former, this is a core business, while for the latter it’s a niche market. Until recently in Belgium, banks had a monopoly on the issue of sureties and guarantees, but this is gradually changing. More and more insurers are entering the market. Antwerp-based shipping company Portmade and the East Flemish tobacco manufacturer Twist Tobacco resorted to Euler Hermes, discovering the advantages of relying on a specialist surety bond partner.
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Since both companies are active in sectors with very specific laws and regulations, finding the ideal partner for their customs activities was definitely not a walk in the park. “We had entrusted our sureties to our bank for a long time, but in hindsight, this had not been the right choice. The specific material in our niche meant that thorough knowledge was required, says Twist managing director Johan Vandermarliere. The tobacco manufacturer found that expertise at Euler Hermes: “They provide us with excellent risk coverage at a competitive rate.”
Sureties are an essential component of a customs agent’s business such as Portmade. They guarantee the logistic flow of the supply chain. Director Guio Veraart: “We expect a guarantee provider to actively look for solutions with us to make this process run as smoothly as possible. Euler Hermes worked with us to find the best solution and then had the capacity to implement it without impacting our business operations.”
A trusted partner
For Portmade, finding the right surety partner did not happen overnight. Guio Veraart: “We compared the offers of various players, including our bank. Euler Hermes topped our shortlist from the outset and eventually came out as the winner. Ultimately, the best value-for-money tilted the scales in their favour. And whenever they face difficult issues, their experts can always rely on the know-how at Allianz, their parent company. We find that reassuring.”
Moreover, with an AA credit score, Euler Hermes also enjoys the full trust of excise officials. Johan Vandermarliere: “As a result, the customs authorities quickly accepted the underwriting. And last year we increased the budget of our guarantee once again. What could sometimes take up to three months at our bank was settled in a few days.”
Flexibility and drive
For Portmade, too, the flexibility of Euler Hermes was an important argument in deciding to work with the credit insurer. Guio Veraart: “All our activities are bond-related. This requires a relatively large surety package, with the necessary flexibility. “The Euler Hermes system offers enough scope for us to easily raise or lower the amounts of the surety bonds.” “Moreover, in an operational environment, it is not always easy to react quickly. Euler Hermes understands this and gives us the time we need to prepare specific administrative documents.”
In short, both managers quickly saw the advantages of a partnership with the insurer. Johan Vandermarliere: “Sureties are part of their core business and that’s obvious. They ask the right questions and monitor our figures closely.” Guio Veraart: “Our sureties are in good hands. With their drive and perseverance, the Euler Hermes experts offer us the service that we expect from a guarantee provider.”