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The History of Trade Credit Insurance

Trade credit insurance is a type of insurance that protects businesses from the risk of non-payment by their customers. This form of insurance has been around for a long time, with its origins dating back to the 19th century. In the early days, trade credit insurance was offered by individual insurers who would provide coverage for specific transactions. Over time, the industry evolved to provide broader coverage for businesses engaged in international trade.


The origins of trade credit insurance can be traced back to the 19th century when trade between European countries and their colonies was growing rapidly. At that time, trade credit insurance was offered by individual insurers who would provide coverage for specific transactions. These early forms of credit insurance were not standardized, and terms and conditions varied widely between different insurers. In addition, the cost of this insurance was often prohibitively high, which limited its adoption.

Early 20th Century

The first standardized trade credit insurance policy was developed in the early 20th century by an American firm called The Continental Insurance Company. This policy was designed to provide coverage for businesses engaged in international trade, and it became popular with exporters and importers. Over time, other insurance companies began to offer trade credit insurance, and the industry grew rapidly.

Roaring 20s

During the 1920s and 1930s, the global economy was booming, and international trade was expanding rapidly. This growth created a need for more extensive and flexible trade credit insurance coverage. To meet this need, insurers developed new policies that provided broader coverage and more flexibility. These new policies also included provisions for insuring against political risks, such as war and revolution.

In the post-World War II era, the international trade credit insurance industry experienced significant growth. This growth was fueled by the expansion of international trade and the increasing complexity of global supply chains. Today, trade credit insurance is a vital component of the global economy, providing businesses with the confidence to engage in international trade and ensuring the smooth operation of the supply chain.

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