Brokers must do more to tackle the problem of stress, warns a leading employment law firm.

In a survey of 684 brokers, Peninsula found that 87% of firms had suffered financial loss as a result of stress absenteeism.

But only 24% said that employee workplace stress was an everyday priority.

Three quarters of those surveyed also stated that stress among employees had increased over the past year. And 82% of managers said that they had experienced a greater percentage of absence with employees using stress as their main reason.

Peninsula head of corporate development Russell Guest said: "As brokers should know, the HSE is expected to prosecute businesses that do not tackle the problem head on.

"It is now more vital than ever that businesses introduce a policy within the workplace that monitors stress extremely carefully."

But there are signs that the insurance industry is making efforts to combat stress.

Lloyd's insurer Markel recently announced that it was providing staff with stress awareness training.

And broker Marsh has tested internally the web-enabled stress risk assessment tool it recently launched for businesses.