Trade credit insurers are "fairweather friends"

The boss of Focus DIY, Bill Grimsey, has branded trade credit insurers “fairweather friends” after cover was withdrawn from his store group.

Grimsey has urged Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, to investigate the insurers.

“They are fairweather friends who don’t go into enough detail, make unilateral decisions with short notice and jeopardise the futures of businesses. [It is] totally unacceptable,” he said.

Earlier this month, Mandelson said trade credit insurers must continue playing a role in bad times, as well as good.

Atradius – one of the UK’s big three insurers along with Coface and Euler Hermes – withdrew cover on Focus DIY.

It said: “Ultimately, our duty is to effectively manage the risks of our customers and we only withdraw cover as an absolute last resort.”

Xavier Denecker, managing director of Coface, said the withdrawal of credit insurance from companies it no longer deemed creditworthy was part of its service.