2017: in review

Looking back on the past year, Mark Kennedy, Service Director at CBF, highlights some key statistics.

We started 2017 with the best news – all our hard work was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Credit Management in the form of their ‘Credit Insurance Specialist of the Year’ award, which we collected in early February. We felt that 2016 had been a very successful year for us, with renewals at a very high rate, and the number of new policies almost in three figures, but to begin 2017 with this recognition really set us off on the right foot, ready to tackle whatever the new year threw at us.

As it happens, that turned out to be quite a lot. We had hardly got into 2017 when the news of the first casualties broke, and the subsequent list of retail failures reads like a who’s who of the British high street, with well-known names such as Blue Inc, Jones the Bootmaker, Jaeger, Agent Provocateur, Brantano and Multiyork all falling into administration. Additionally, there were a number of big failures that sent shockwaves through their industries, such as Monarch Airlines, Palmer & Harvey, and Lakesmere.

It’s perhaps no surprise that more than twice as much was paid out to our policyholders as in 2016, with £4.5m making its way to companies with unpaid invoices, compared to last year’s £1.9m, and we managed 384 claims on our clients’ behalf (a huge increase on the 134 we had in 2016 – although the fact we are arranging almost 100 new policies a year will have a bearing on that too). The largest claim payment we dealt with was £325k, a not inconsiderable amount.

So what for 2018? Well just one quarter in, the list of large failures and CVAs has continued, with the likes of Toys R Us, Maplin, East, New Look, Prezzo, Jamies Italian, Byron, Carpet Right, Bargain Booze + Wine Rack and Carillion going into administration and liquidation – the ripples from Carillion’s demise are expected to be far-reaching, and have already been blamed for the administrations of several of its supply chain partners, including Vaughan Engineering and Aspin Group. We’ll likely see a domino-on effect beyond the construction sector, too, throughout 2018.

Having paid out a considerable amount in 2017, it’s no wonder – given the number of insolvencies in Q1 – that underwriters appear to be waiting nervously to see what else the rest of this year may bring. As a result, rates are hardening across the UK trade credit market – if you’re thinking of investing in the protection of a Credit Insurance Policy, now is the time to make your move.

CBF’s 2017 in numbers…

  • We had 384 claims
  • We arranged nearly 100 new policies
  • £4.5m was paid to policyholders
  • Largest claim payment was £325k
  • Only 6 claims rejected – mostly due to late reporting
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