John Atkinson Interiors and Acoustics
is a specialist installer of acoustic control products and suspended ceilings. The business works with contractors and often faces difficult decisions about which jobs to take and what terms to offer. Without reliable data to base their decisions on, they were taking on more risk than they felt comfortable with.

After discussing their concerns with their bank Relationship Manager at HSBC, they were referred to Allianz Trade for the protection their business needed. Thanks to the close relationship between director Jonathan Hope and his Allianz Trade account manager, Mike Tillyer, trade credit insurance (TCI) has taken the uncertainty out of decision-making.

In the words of Jonathan, choosing TCI cover from Allianz Trade is “one of the best decisions [the company has] ever made.”

“Previously, there was always a risk in who you chose to do business with, but not anymore,” explains Jonathan. “Now it’s scientific.”

The company

Based in West Yorkshire, John Atkinson Interiors and Acoustics have a 150-year history and a customer base stretching from the Channel Coast in England to the Scottish Highlands. Employing over 40 experts and subcontractors, they have an annual turnover of over £7m.

Trusted by industry-leading manufacturers as recommended installers, the company typically works with building contractors, meaning they often have to be flexible with payment terms and timeframes.

The challenge

This flexibility can cause problems if not managed carefully. If contractors aren’t paid by the owners of the installation site, or face financial difficulties, money doesn’t make its way down the supply chain. As a result, the previous directors of John Atkinson Interiors and Acoustics had to put aside a significant sum of money each year to cover any potential bad debts.

When the business changed hands four years ago, Jonathan and his fellow director wanted a better way to safeguard their business and set themselves up for growth. Following recommendations from trusted advisors, they identified that trade credit insurance could offer the protection they needed.

The Allianz Trade solution

Choosing a TCI provider was a straightforward process. Jonathan explains the choice was clear: “We did our due diligence and saw no reason to look elsewhere. Allianz Trade are the market leaders and were very competitively priced. The quality and professionalism of our account manager, Mike Tillyer, has only confirmed that we made the right decision.”

Their policy helped them increase their liquidity. By taking out an insurance policy rather than setting money aside to cover any arising bad debts, the business freed up as much as £45k per year. In Jonathan’s words, “The peace of mind we now have is invaluable, we always know we’re going to get paid.”

But while this peace of mind may be expected with an insurance policy, an unexpected benefit was the power of the Allianz Trade name. On the few occasions when the business has had to ask Allianz Trade for support in debt recovery, payment has been almost immediate. Jonathan explains: "If it gets to the point that Allianz Trade has to issue a letter of repayment, we can expect payment in full that very same day.”

As well as protecting themselves from bad debt, a TCI policy with Allianz Trade allowed John Atkinson Interiors and Acoustics to access accurate financial intelligence on current and potential customers. If the data suggests that the customer could be high risk, the business is now far more comfortable insisting on pro forma payments.

In a rapidly changing environment, the information Allianz Trade provides on new and existing customers helps reduce risks and eliminates the need for tens of thousands of pounds to sit as a buffer to protect against bad debt.

What’s next?

The future for John Atkinson Interiors and Acoustics is bright. The business has changed hugely over the past century and a half, and Jonathan expects things to continue to evolve and grow as they concentrate on the increasing demand in the acoustics side of the business.

With a comprehensive TCI policy protecting their business, Jonathan and his colleagues will be free to make informed choices about the future of the company and the customers they work with.

For more information about Trade Credit Insurance products, please visit our Trade Credit Insurance page.
For a free credit insurance consultation call our UK team, 09:00-17:00 Mon-Fri.