The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corp (Ecic) has launched a new insurance policy to cater for the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in protecting exports. Commissioner Thomas Yiu Kei-chung said the policy was aimed at enterprises with an annual turnover of less than $50 million. 'Currently we have about 1,000 clients eligible for the new scheme,' he said. The new policy charges a fixed annual premium at a rate predetermined at the outset of the policy period, based on the estimated amount of insurable business. Policy-holders can choose to pay the annual premium in one up-front sum at a 10 per cent discount or in quarterly instalments. Government SMEs Committee chairman Dennis Lee Wing-kwan said the policy could alleviate administrative costs. 'SMEs usually ignore the risk of not getting insurance because they don't have sufficient staff to take care of the troublesome procedures,' he said. 'With the simplified version, they will be more willing to hedge risk in buying the export insurance.' Ecic has introduced a new policy to cater for local manufacturing operations, most of which have shifted to China. The comprehensive cover policy combined the comprehensive shipments policy - which protects local exporters and re-exporters - and the external trade shipments policy - which protects direct shipment from suppliers' countries to their destination - by-passing Hong Kong.