4. Supporting businesses and keeping the risk under control. How do you succeed in keeping that balance?
“It’s a permanent challenge. There’s a lot we do know, but also a huge amount of uncertainty. Some changes that were predicted earlier, were quicker to become reality, such as the rise of e-commerce. There is an overall shift in business which also has an impact on advertising, newspapers, etc. Who knows what the city centers are going to look like tomorrow? I wish I knew. In the meantime, we at Euler Hermes keep watching the trends very closely and analysing them. With a strong and dedicated network all over the world. We have analysts across the world, I can call them anytime. Our communication lines are very short and we have easy access to great amounts of local knowledge. These are huge advantages in a worldwide crisis, and particularly for an export-oriented country like Belgium.”
5. How about the huge wave of insolvencies coming on? And do we go ‘back to normal’ or do you foresee ‘a new normal’ for businesses?
“A global forecast of insolvencies predicts a 35 % increase from 2019 to 2021. We expect +10% for Belgium (more than 23,000 insolvencies by 2021) and +31% for Luxemburg. This is huge. In the USA alone, the increase will even go up to 57%. A particularly critical moment – in each country – will be when government measures stop. Who can carry on supporting businesses, who can’t? There will be difficult decisions to be made.”
“I believe we won’t turn back to normal. In fact, it is (and will be) a new situation with a changed economy, with less emphasis on traditional retail, leisure and transport. Covid will have an overall impact on infrastructure and how people use it. In the new normal, credit management solutions certainty will have earned their presence.”