Message from Brett Halsey, QBE NA Head of Credit & Surety


We're excited to launch the first issue of the QBE North America (QBE NA) Trade Credit & Surety newsletter. Our desire is to update our business partners every quarter on recent Trade Credit & Surety events. In this issue, Wayne Bayer provides an overview of the new global trade credit underwriting system and what it means for our brokers and customers. In every issue, we will highlight a QBE NA C&S employee. For this issue, we are excited to introduce Matt Curran, who heads Surety in North America. Matt brings over 20 years of surety experience and leadership to QBE NA. His addition to the QBE family is a confirmation of QBE NA's strategy to grow our Specialty business lines. Last but not least, Mills Ramsay, Credit Risk Analyst, provides an overview of economic and industry trends.


I am also pleased to share with you the QBE NA Trade Credit claims brochure, which we created in response to the feedback we received at our 2013 Trade Credit broker event.


I hope you enjoy this issue. Please share it within your firm and with our mutual customers! Please feel free to email me at with any suggestions for content.


Brett Halsey, SVP, Credit & Surety

QBE's new Trade Credit system goes live


On June 2, QBE Trade Credit's fully integrated system, which expands our underwriting, policy and claims capabilities, went live. The system extends beyond our previous regional approach and supports QBE's trade credit business globally.


The new system allows underwriters to see real time underwriting decisions made around the globe. It also gives us the ability to set appropriate lines for buyer aggregations on limits and exposures and assists with easier management of buyer and parental groups.


You may have noticed the new look of the non-binding indications and binding quotations generated through the system. Over the next few months, we look forward to providing access to the system portal so that brokers and policyholders can manage their policies. The functions will include the ability to request limit increases, review policy documents and submit claims.


Wayne Bayer, VP, Underwriting - Credit & Surety


Spotlight On Matt Curran, SVP, Head of Surety


Matt Curran joined the Credit & Surety team in May. Because of his 20 years experience in the contract and commercial surety business, we are well-positioned to write surety business - well ahead of the official January 1, 2015 launch. Below he talks about his goals for Surety and his enthusiasm for exercise.


What are your goals at QBE? 

My short-term goal is to successfully lead the surety platform build out efforts to launch our product line in January 2015. My long-term goals are to create a high caliber surety team capable of building strong lasting relationships with our producer network while delivering superior customer solutions to our clients.


Where do you see the biggest opportunity for growth at QBE? 

Our biggest opportunity will be in the middle market contract segment.


How will you achieve goals?

Disciplined underwriting, aggressive marketing and attracting the right people to our team.


What is your favorite part of your job? 

Everything is new. Every day, there are many opportunities to learn something about QBE and the regulatory world of the surety industry. And I'm able to meet many different people from around the world.


How did you get into surety?

Like most people in the surety industry who don't have family in the business, I entered into it by mistake. But once you are exposed to it, you understand what a great business it is. I'm very passionate about our industry and always trying to find ways to bring in more young talent.  


What do you do when you are not working at QBE?  

I spend time with my family and exercising. I am very active with coaching youth sports (girls' and boys' basketball, football and baseball) for our three kids and I'm involved with their other extracurricular activities. As fun as all that is, my wife and I do enjoy going out without them! I'm an avid but not very good runner and enjoy running with friends. I also like spinning classes.  


Who is someone who inspires you and why?  

My dad continues to be my biggest inspiration. He is and always has been a great mentor in my personal and professional life. For as long as I can remember, I have been blessed to see him excel in various roles - from family man to community leader to successful businessman.


For information about the Surety program, contact Matt Curran. 


Overview of global industry trends

Economic Backdrop


The most recent jobs report tells us that the U.S. has clawed back, through a long, grinding recovery, all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession. However, the number of manufacturing, construction and government jobs - typically well-paying fields - has shrunk, while lower-wage work has grown. More than 40 percent of the jobs added in the past year, such as food service, retail and temporary help, are generally in lower-paying fields.


Despite massive gains in stock markets and asset prices, wages have failed to make material progress. According the the Wall Street Journal, "When adjusted for inflation, Americans' earnings are little changed since the recovery started in mid-2009."1 With fewer high-paying jobs being created, we're also seeing low household formation, which is constraining growth in the housing market. Interestingly, housing prices have made dramatic gains and the supply overhang has reduced significantly. Unfortunately, a large proportion of recent buyers are institutional investors, as well as wealthy foreigners seeking a savings vehicle. 


Real economic recovery has also not been evident in international trade. Any acceleration of real economic growth would be precipitated by rising demand for raw materials that require shipping. However, the record-setting lows of the Baltic Dry Index indicate that fleet expansion has not been met with adequate demand for transportation of goods and commodities. Further, there is no significant increase in industrial metal prices, such as copper, whose widespread applications cover several economic sectors, including homes, factories, electronics, and power generation. Demand for copper is considered a leading indicator of economic activity, but it has not - as of yet - pointed to growing or stable demand.


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