In the same year that Abraham Lincoln was elected President, the Pollard’s started their building business in the South West of England. Even with over 160 years of trading through two world wars and multiple recessions including the great depression of the 1930’s, the current environment proved too difficult and in June 2021 the business was placed into a CVL* (Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation) despite a healthy turnover of around £24 million and a pre-tax profit of £178,000 in 2020.

According to sources, the business owed over £9 million to over 300 unsecured creditors. When a business is liquidated there is a priority list for who gets paid any monies owed and unsecured creditors are at the bottom of this list so the reality is that many of the unsecured creditors could end up suffering significant bad debts as monies recovered fail to cover outstanding debts. Insolvencies like this can also have a ‘domino effect’ as creditors themselves can be in danger of becoming insolvent from the impact of the bad debt incurred thereby affecting their supply chain too.

Reasons for the company’s demise have not been given by the current directors other than to say it was due to “a combination of issues” one of which was surely the bad debt of £715,000 incurred in 2019, when a client went into administration.

Another factor for the timing of the closure may well be the fast-approaching expiration of the moratorium on winding up petitions on 30th September, a measure put in place by the UK Government to support businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and allow them some breathing space to restart trading without pressure being applied immediately by creditors.  It is becoming clear that we are going to see more of these ‘jump or be pushed’ actions in the coming weeks as firms face increasing pressure from creditors, especially as the government’s COVID measures, which are currently supporting businesses, are removed.

The risk of debtor insolvency is an inherent part of owning a business. Your business may be better equipped to survive such losses by purchasing a trade credit insurance policy. Trade credit insurance, or credit insurance, provides your business with protection against the failure of your customers to pay their debts and substantial delays in receiving their payments.

One of your largest assets is your balance sheet and bad debt could have a significant effect on your company’s financial health. Credit insurance is a cost effective way to alleviate this risk and provide some comfort as the economy recovers and companies are able to generate growth.

At Arden, we can advise on the best way for you to protect your business whether it has been trading for 161 years or just one, searching the market to find the perfect solution for you whether that is cover for one invoice, one client or all your credit sales.

For more information on any of the above issues, please contact us on tcs@ardeninsurance.co.uk

*A CVL or creditors’ voluntary liquidation is an insolvency process which enables directors to formally close an insolvent company voluntarily. It is often chosen by directors as a means of taking control in the face of continued creditor pressure and the imminence of a winding up petition

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