As the financial crisis begins to engulf companies across every sector, media agencies, which act as the legal "principal" in the relationship between a client, media planning and buying and the media owner, are being urged not to take unnecessary risks.
Hamish Pringle, director-general of the IPA, called it "worrying" that, in the past, "some agencies may have acted for businesses without credit insurance due to the allure of working for famous high-street brands".
His comments follow a week in which Woolworths fell into the hands of administrator Deloitte, after 99 years of trading. Fortunately, the retailer's media business has been handled by ZenithOptimedia for more than 10 years and is believed to be fully insured, with its outstanding work still scheduled to run in December.
Another big-name retailer now in the hands of the administrator is MFI. Earlier this year, its media account moved out of Zenith-Optimedia after the agency encountered difficulties securing insurance on its £24m media spend. Full-service agency McCann Erickson Birmingham is believed to have taken on the account without insurance.
Tony Fenton, group finance director, ZenithOptimedia, said the main media agency insurers - Euler Hermes, Atradius and Coface - are now monitoring all credit limits more closely, which could restrict the level of trading next year.
Following the collapse of many financial institutions, even one time blue-chip clients such as the RBS and Halifax can no longer claim to be immune from insurance liability issues.
Also on the critical list, and despite relatively strong trading, are the businesses owned by Iceland's Baugur, which include House of Fraser (Starcom), supported by the three Icelandic banks that collapsed earlier this year. High premiums are also likely for Land of Leather (MediaVest Manchester) and Homebase/Argos (Mindshare).