Facilitas deemed unable to survive the challenging economy

The Electrical Contractors’ Insurance Company (ECIC) has placed its online insurance business into run-off.

ECIC dumped its SME quote engine, Facilitas, after failing to grow in the competitive commercial sector during two-and-a-half years of business.

An ECIC spokesman said that up to six staff would be made redundant but a handful of broker development executives would stay on to work on key accounts.

Facilitas business development manager Martin Duffield, part of the senior management team, is believed to be one of those facing redundancy.

Facilitas’s 300 brokers were told in advance that it would stop writing new business on 14 August, but the company has agreed to maintain renewals up to 30 September.

The spokesman said the decision came after a strategic review, which found that Facilitas could no longer survive in a “challenging” market.

“Clearly [SME] is a heavily populated area of the sector,” he said. “We could no longer grow the business and deliver the sort of results that it needed to survive. It is unfortunate that the product did not work out how we would have liked it to.”

ECIC, a subsidiary of the UK trade body The Electrical Contractors Association [ECA], launched Facilitas in February 2007 to diversify into the commercial sector through the broker market by providing property/liability package policies.

After its first year, the Birmingham-based company controlled more than £1m in annual gross written premium.

Its aim was to focus on providing wide policy cover for businesses, such as shops, bars, restaurants, takeaway outlets, beauty salons, guesthouses, small offices and commercial property owners of similar premises.

ECIC was created in 1976 to insure members of the ECA, and provides insurance products for contractors and affinity groups across the UK electrical engineering and building services sector.

The spokesman said that the company was now considering new distribution systems for its affinity business.