Perceptive Underwriting

15 August 2018

Europa Worldwide Logistics

Fifty years ago a just-formed SCA Express consisted of a single van in Italy making deliveries to retail customers in London.

Since then the company has grown to become Europa Worldwide Logistics. It’s the largest privately-owned transport and logistics business in the UK, with a network of agent partners across Europe as well as fast-growing operations in the Far East building on the boom in internet trading, and specialist business streams servicing the particular logistics needs of sectors like pharmaceuticals and fashion.

All of which delivered 2013 sales of no less than £78 million, with a workforce of 400+ and multiple sites across the UK. Each day more than 200 Europa trailers can be seen on Britain’s roads, taking customers’ goods to Europe from its twin hubs in the West Midlands and Erith in Kent.

Now Europa is embarking on a still more impressive expansion programme. According to Group Finance Director, Russell Keep, the construction of a new 262,500 sq ft, purpose-built HQ and logistics centre – “A BMW showroom of a distribution hub” in Littlebrook, Kent, is set to be the platform for a major customer recruitment drive.

“We’re certainly bullish about the economy – but we’re also keen to use our major new hub to develop and capitalise on the competitive strength of the Europa brand in a growing market,” says Russell.

Europa has been a Nexus CIFS policyholder for more than 10 years – placing its business via Oval Insurance Broking (now part of Arthur J. Gallagher) – and Russell sees credit insurance as a major plank in the company’s expansion plans.

In a business environment where margins are tight, protection against customers going under is important. But for us credit insurance means more than just peace of mind.

“It’s also very much a sales empowerment tool, enabling us to take on new business that otherwise we might not have been comfortable with on the basis of published financials. And it also enables us to optimise our risk management arrangements so that we can take on higher-value business.”

For Russell, the flexibility of CIFS’ risk underwriting is a major plus. “The CIFS online system is a good tool, but we appreciate the fact that when ‘the computer says no’ CIFS are very open to investigate further and come to a decision based on the latest information and trading conditions. And their market knowledge and insight into group structures is also a valuable resource for us.”

He also welcomes CIFS’ increased appetite for providing trading limits on overseas entities. “We have an efficient agency network but this development will enable us to invoice companies direct more readily if need be.” Credit insurance, he agrees, looks set to play an increasingly important role in the next phase of Europa Worldwide Logistics’ development.


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