Firm says “certain insurers” still owe more than £279m

Troubled accident management firm Helphire has put the squeeze on insurers to pay bills and said it had received 106% of billed invoices in Q1 compared with just 72% in the same period last year.

But it said some insurers were still paying too late. “Satisfactory progress is being made on discussions with certain insurers to accelerate settlement, and payments commenced in March from one of these exercises which contributed to the improved cash performance.

Debtors reduced from £291m at 31st December 2008 to £279m at 31st March 2009.

The company confirmed that case volumes in February and March were below the level of last year and this had continued into April.

It hoped to cut £10m off its cost base, disposing of a further 2,100 vehicles.

Martin Ward, group managing director, said: "We have demonstrated in recent months that we can effectively implement the changes needed to create a better quality business and to respond to very difficult trading conditions. With the strong support we have received from our shareholders we are now looking to complete our cost reduction programme in the remainder of the current financial year and focus on achieving improved results in the coming year."