Demand for credit insurance is expected to jump rapidly in the US and the developing markets of Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America over the next five years, finds a Swiss Re study.

US premiums, which accounts for 12% of the £4.2bn market, are predicted to rise at 10% a year.

Developing markets are also expected to yield strong growth for credit insurers, particularly as a form of political risk.

But the European market, which accounts for 84%, will see more modest growth with rises of between 5% to 7% a year, driven by a rapid increase in exports.

The worldwide boom will be twofold: a need for traditional credit insurance to cover the increase in global trade and new market opportunities. These include credit lines for commercial internet purchases, information services and other support services.

The internet will be a useful tool for credit insurers, allowing them to unbundle their current information databases and sell company credit information directly over the web.