Biba may take legal action against Arab German Insurance (AGI), following the insurer's refusal to honour claims payments.

It is also looking at the potential culpability of UK distributors such as Darwell Management and Shakespeare.

AGI's distributors have been criticised by retail brokers over the extent to which they adequately relayed the risks of placing cover with AGI - an offshore, non-FSCS insurer.

Hundreds of UK businesses have been refused claims by AGI or offered reduced settlements.

Peter Staddon, Biba technical services director, said he was collating details from affected members.

He said: "One possibility is a class action against the insurer but we also want to look at the distributors in the UK for any culpability there."

Darwell and Shakespeare have defended their actions.

Patrick Cubbidge, a spokesman for Darwell, said: "We have made every effort to communicate with AGI but it has refused to have any contact with us.

"There was no attempt on our part to disguise the fact that AGI were offshore to brokers who recommended to clients they take cover out with them. We are now consulting our legal representatives."

Richard Trinder, commercial insurance director of Shakespeare, said: "We looked at [AGI's] financial position and had we thought there was any risk we wouldn't have touched it." Shakespeare is understood to have lost over £40,000 from its involvement with AGI.

Trinder added: "Our statement of proposal to interested brokers stated clearly that AGI was offshore, non-UK or FSA-regulated and not part of the FSCS. We are not to blame."

AGI remained unavailable for comment.