French credit insurer Coface plans to launch an e-commerce product to meet the needs of companies carrying out rapidly expanding trading on the Internet. Hong Kong branch general manager Richard Burton said it would announce details of the product by Friday. 'We have received many client requests for credit insurance which could cover the credit risks involved in e-commerce,' he said, adding the company could see a great deal of business potential from Internet-related insurance products. In this case, the insurer will pay the supplier when a buyer fails to pay. Mr Burton said there were difficulties in assessing e-commerce risks as Internet trading lacked a history in terms of default rates of buyers. The insurer is working with several banks in a bid to get them to accept its credit insurance policies as collateral for bank loans to small enterprises. 'A company that has bought a credit insurance policy is sure to be paid for a deal even if the buyers collapse,' Mr Burton said. 'Under these circumstances, the banks should feel comfortable to approve bank loans to the company.' Coface's move follows one two weeks ago by the government-owned Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corp. It linked up with Dao Heng Bank and Wing Lung Bank to launch a new financing arrangement for small and medium-sized enterprises. Mr Burton said his company would not link up exclusively with certain banks but would like to work with a wide range of bankers to offer the services. He said several European banks had agreed to the arrangement and some local banks had also shown interest.