Bloomberg News

Swiss Export Insurer Says on Verge of Greek Exposure Limit

June 01, 2012

Switzerland’s government-owned export risk insurer has almost reached the 130 million-franc ($133 million) limit on exposure to Greece set by its risk managers, according to a spokeswoman for the agency.

SERV has 123 million francs of Greek coverage, Sonja Kohler Mueller, a spokesman for the Zurich-based insurer. The exposure limit is regularly monitored, and was last set at the beginning of April.

“If the conditions don’t change, we usually don’t reset an exposure limit,” Kohler Mueller said. SERV may consider increasing the limit in special cases and under certain conditions if Swiss exporters applied for additional coverage, she said. The premium rates SERV charges for Greece are the highest in Europe, she added. The Swiss federal agency insures national exporters against non-payment in sectors like mechanical engineering, power distribution and chemicals.

Germany’s Euler Hermes (ELE) and OeKB Versicherung AG, an Austrian credit insurer, have stopped offering new coverage of shipments to Greece in recent days as the country has become more risky.

Greeks vote again June 17 after elections on May 6 failed to produce a workable majority in parliament, as parties opposed to sticking to Greece’s part of an aid agreement with the European Union won most of the votes.

SERV’s total exposure as of March 31 was 8.3 billion francs, Kohler Mueller said. Russia, Saudi Arabia (SABIC) and China were the top three destinations last year for Swiss export support, according to SERV’s annual report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Winters in Zurich at pwinters3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net


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