Dec. 20, 2020

The last quarter of the year is traditionally depicted as a sprint with an intense period of economic activity in most sectors and regions. However, as the subsequent waves of Covid-19 continue striking many countries around the world, thus imposing various lockdowns in many European countries, this is damaging the fragile economic recovery foreseen for this season. Amidst this intense uncertainty, now combined with the hope of prompt and widespread distribution of the vaccines, I wanted to reiterate that helping you navigate through the ever-changing landscape is literally at the heart of everything we do. As every day or week goes by, we continue reinforcing our dedication to you in terms of support, credit risk transfer, advice and market and economic intelligence.

As in the global lockdown earlier this year, most of our employees are working remotely, and are doing so with no disruption in any of our services. The commitment I took last March was upheld: no matter the situation, we remain fully available and reachable; in fact, we have taken our customer care even further with more robust services and support. We also set into place new technologies to be by your side more confidently and steadily through these unpredictable hardships. I cannot thank you enough for your enduring trust.  A crucial part of our societal role also lies in our predictive intelligence; more than ever, our economic experts have reinforced their predictive outlooks with frequent and in-depth sectorial and regional market intelligence as the global situation evolves. I invite you to visit us at https://www.eulerhermes.com/en_global/economic-research.html and be convinced for yourself.

We predict that pre-crisis recovery will not happen before Q4 2022; this entails a jump of 31% in insolvency rates by the end of 2021, with 20% of short-work schemes workers unemployed. The nature of risk is changing. Aspects such as the adoption of ESG standards, digitization, and social and sanitary conditions play a role as necessary as commercial and financial factors in making companies more resilient towards unexpected shocks.

These new Covid19 waves, happening across many countries, are a hard blow and are severely hitting the smaller to mid-size businesses.  Keeping a long term vision is difficult in these circumstances, for any business leader. Priority must be on securing financial positions as much as possible, but also continuing to nurture growth projects. As a 120-year-old business, we at Euler Hermes believe that decrypting the next normal and anticipating the next turn is crucial to survival. This is why we are expediting our digital transformation: to enable you to capture the full scope of changing risks and act early to defuse some of the impacts of this global crisis.

As my last letter to you as Global CEO of Euler Hermes, I cannot insist enough:  throughout the uncertainty, our dedication to secure confidence in tomorrow is our goal, and the value we deliver to you will warrant your trust in us. No matter what, we will be first by your side.  

Kind regards / Sincerely yours,
Wilfried Verstraete
CEO and Chairman of the Board of Management
Euler Hermes 

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