Compensation paid to Hong Kong exporters for missed payments from overseas increased 8.8 per cent to HK$87.58 million in the year to March, reflecting the slowdown in the global economy. 'It is not surprising to see the high claims figure this year, as we have seen the longest wave of corporate defaults and failures [and] the most devastating in the corporation's history,' Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corp (ECIC) commissioner Cheung Kam-kay said. The ECIC is a government body that provides insurance to Hong Kong's exporters. Claims arising from exports to the United States fell 27.6 per cent to HK$27.58 million while for those to Britain rose 184 per cent to HK$16.37 million. Australia accounted for HK$15.56 million of claims compared with less than HK$1 million the previous year. Claims arising from exports to China more than tripled to HK$11.89 million. Overseas buyers becoming insolvent accounted for 56 per cent of claims and defaulting on payments made up 42 per cent. The ECIC insured fewer products, its business decreasing 2.1 per cent to HK$26.6 billion. Mr Cheung said: 'We expect the claims position will remain at a high level for the coming six months, given the sustained global slowdown.