Allianz Global Risks has entered the UK directors' and officers' (D&O) insurance market.

The company said it had ¤50m (£33m) in D&O capacity.

Allianz Global Risks general manager Horst Hanauer said the D&O offering formed part of the insurer's strategy to broaden its service to clients.

"We want to enhance our product offering and diversify our portfolio," Hanauer said.

Allianz is the latest major insurer to make a significant commitment to the D&O market. Last week, XL Europe's professional lines operation XL Insurance Professional announced plans to offer $25m (£13.6m) European primary D&O capacity.

Premiums for D&O cover have soared as a result of recent corporate scandals, a new Datamonitor report said.

Datamonitor said the increase in corporate accountability and the appetite of shareholders to claim against company directors had exposed insurers to potentially severe claims. As a result, premiums had risen and conditions on the provision of D&O cover had become more rigorous, the report added.

Datamonitor estimated the UK D&O market to be worth £300m-£400m in 2003.