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Export credit insurance

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Export credit insurance

The European Union (EU) wishes to reduce the distortions of competition between firms that are caused by differences between official medium and long-term export credit insurance systems and establish some transparency in this sector.


Council Directive 98/29/EC of 7 May 1998 on the harmonisation of the main provisions concerning export credit insurance for transactions with medium and long-term cover [See amending acts].


Each European Union (EU) country has its own public export credit insurance system, with significant differences in guarantee arrangements, premium rates and cover policies that can create major distortions of competition between EU companies. This directive is aimed at lessening those risks by harmonising the different rules of the EU countries on export credit insurance.

The directive applies to cover for transactions related to the export of goods and/or services originating in an EU country, so long as this cover is provided directly or indirectly for the account of, or with the support of, one or more EU countries and involves a total risk period (the repayment period including the manufacturing period) of at least two years.

EU countries must ensure that any institution providing cover directly or indirectly in the form of export credit insurance, guarantees or refinancing on behalf of or with the support of the EU country, referred to as "the insurer", covers transactions related to export in accordance with the provisions set out in the annex to the directive, when destined for countries outside the EU.

The annex to the directive sets out the common principles for export credit insurance which insurers must comply with and which relate to the main constituents of cover (Chapter I), the premium (Chapter II) and country cover policy (Chapter III). It also lays down notification procedures that introduce greater transparency (Chapter IV).

The common principles relating to the constituents of cover concern the general principles and definitions, the scope of cover, causes of loss, exclusions of liability and the provisions applicable to indemnification of claims.

The common principles relating to the premiums applicable to export credit insurance transactions establish a framework intended to produce greater transparency in the setting of insurance premiums and, in particular, lay down a basic premise that premiums must converge. Last but most importantly, the framework also applies the guidelines negotiated within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in June 1997 in this area.

The common principles concerning country cover policy establish a format necessary to the mutual information of credit insurers in this area. This information is supplemented by the data on the technical results produced annually by insurers (see notification procedure Chapter IV).

The common principles can be applied flexibly, since derogations from these rules are authorised provided that the changes to the quality of the guarantee granted are reflected in the premiums charged and are notified to other credit insurers and the Commission.

This directive also provides for notification procedures that are aimed at creating greater transparency at EU level in this area. There are four such procedures:

  • annual notification for information which details the activity of the insurer in the previous year and the cover policy it will apply in the forthcoming year;
  • notification for decision, the scope of which is limited to disagreements on the status (public or private) of the debtor that will be the subject of a decision in accordance with the comitology rules;
  • ex-ante notification for information, where an insurer notifies its intention to derogate from the provisions of the Annex to the Directive by giving more favourable conditions or covering transactions with debtors in countries for which it normally does not offer cover;
  • ex-post notification for information, where an insurer decides to give less favourable conditions than those set out in the Annex or to adapt its cover policy or to give the more favourable conditions notified by another insurer.

The notification procedures laid down by the Directive supplement those established by Decision 73/391/EEC. This directive repeals Directives 70/509/EEC and 70/510/EEC.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 98/29/CE



JO L 148 of 19.5.1998

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 806/2003



OJ L 122 of 16.5.2003

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 98/29/EC have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for information only.

Last updated: 09.09.2011