A company that provides trade credit insurance
Company: Atradius Founded: 1919, became a private company in 1991, became Atradius in 2002 Based: HQ in Cardiff, with offices throughout the UK Web:www.atradius.co.uk
Who are you?
Pete Davies, UK commercial manager.
What do you do?
Atradius was formed from a government department which was set up after World War One in order to stimulate the economy. Its aim was to encourage British businesses to go into markets they hadn’t gone into before by offering a degree of safety. Atradius provides trade credit insurance to companies to help them to trade, safe in the knowledge that their cashflow won’t be compromised – if they trade they will get paid.
What does that mean in practice?
If a company wants to trade with a particular customer, we will give them information on that company. This means they will have the knowledge to trade safely. If the customer then fails to pay, we will then pay out a claim against their trade credit insurance policy.
What size company suits you?
We have specific products to cover anything from small companies to large multinationals.
Why should I care?
Healthy cashflow is the key requirement for smaller companies – it can make or break a business – and trade credit insurance protects your cashflow. We’ve developed a dedicated product for small and medium-sized firms which don’t have massive credit management functions.
What can you do for me that I can’t do for myself?
Once you join Atradius you have access to one of the biggest information sources in the world. We have data on 52 million buyers that can give you a lot more protection against dealing with people who can’t pay. This is particularly important when you’re going into an export market where information is much more difficult to get hold of – we have a presence in 42 countries. We also have people at a local level, with the local knowledge that is difficult to obtain by yourself.
What mistakes will you stop me from making?
The main mistake we stop small and medium-sized businesses from making is providing goods or services to someone who won’t pay them. The worst case situation is that we step in and make the payment on behalf of the trader, which protects your business’ cashflow, and we will then chase the debt to get the money back.
Can you give me an example?
If we see, for example, a double glazing company which is starting to go insolvent very fast, we’ll warn our policyholders who may have orders from them and advise them on avoiding this risk.
We can tell our customers that a particular individual, business, industry or area is in trouble and then give them advice on how to act in order to protect themselves. Because of this, we’ve helped many businesses to continue to trade successfully throughout the recession.
Why should I trust you?
We’ve been in the business a long, long time and have paid many millions of pounds to small and medium-sized businesses. The exchange of information is a key thing. We keep all information confidential but it informs our risk decisions. People place their trust in us because of our track record and reputation. We’ve got many businesses through this recession and this is by no means our first!
How much does it cost?
It depends on the customer. For a smaller company it might be between £7,000 and £10,000 but it’s very specific to the sector and to the customer. We’ll always meet with anyone we work with to put together a policy specific to them.