credit insurance

What is credit insurance and why is it so important?

Credit insurance is designed to protect your business if a customer does not pay or goes bust or a supplier does not deliver or goes bust. In these turbulent times of recession, Brexit, austerity & trade wars, Credit insurance is becoming even more crucial than before. Recent headlines exemplify this with companies like Carillion, Maplin, Monarch and MultiYork hitting financial problems and unable to pay suppliers or complete contracts, leaving their supply chain out of pocket and at risk of financial difficulties themselves.

Is there really a need for credit insurance?

On the week that Carillion went bust one of our clients was forced to close as they were a sub-contractor to one of Carillion’s contractors and were told they would not get paid for a major contract. Another client of ours in the retail sector ordered and paid for a large amount of stock 9 months in advance of delivery from a major European clothing manufacturer, who subsequently went bust before the delivery was made leaving the retailer in financial difficulties. Both of these clients were SMEs with turnovers under £1m. However this quote from an interview* with BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans and Dragon’s Den panellist Peter Jones sums up the reality better than we can:

Chris: Tell us about your worst decision in business. What have you really messed up on? Give us all some hope here…

Peter: Well, I was 28 and running a business, doing really well and I had everything and somebody came to me and said ‘do you know what? You should take out credit insurance’, and I said, ‘credit insurance? I don’t have businesses that go out of business, I’m doing alright. I manage my business, it’s all good’. For twenty five or thirty thousand pounds I could have taken out credit insurance, within 12 months of that decision at 28, I lost everything. I had seven of my largest accounts go bust owing me millions and I lost the business and I ended up literally sleeping in a warehouse for four months. Without a house, without a car, everything finished. So I know what its like to build up, have nothing, literally, and then start again at 29. So… is that sad enough?

What does credit insurance do?

If you are not paid or a contract is not completed and you are out of pocket the Insurer will chase the debt and if not recoverable will pay the loss (or more normally 90% of the loss). In addition the insurer will monitor the credit status and stability of your supply chain and warn you if a business looks vulnerable, giving you the opportunity to act in advance. Having the knowledge that your credit risks are reduced allows you to operate with more confidence.

If you would like advice on credit insurance, then give us a call on 01905 21681 or get in touch for a no-obligation conversation.

*Source: The BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans breakfast show with Peter Jones, Kelly Hoppen, David Baddiel, Billie Piper and Jack Savoretti. First aired 18 July 2014.
Duncan Sutcliffe
Director, Sutcliffe & Co - Worcester, Worcestershire