The Association of Consulting Engineers has called on the government to change insurance laws to take the sting out of professional indemnity premiums.
ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin met construction minister Nigel Griffiths to outline the problem and detail premium increases of up to 300% as experienced by members.

The ACE has presented a report to Griffiths on the insurance crisis that has called for a cap to be placed on disproportionate liability.

The report said that measures were needed to address the problem of terrorism exclusions in PI policies and the lack of available cover for asbestos-related work.

Ogunshakin said that the situation in the UK insurance sector was unsustainable. He said: "UK engineering consultancy firms are facing intolerable business pressures brought on by PI insurance premiums, which in some cases are equivalent to up to 6% of their annual turnover."

He said firms also faced large claims excesses and an increasing number of limitations to their cover.

Ogunshakin said: "Only by removing the existing discriminatory system of joint and several liability and replacing it with some form of proportional liability, together with sensible insurance premiums and excesses, can we be assured of a construction industry where companies can succeed in business."

The ACE also called for the government to promote the idea of project-based insurance.