Insurers are failing to meet the changing needs of multinationals, according to the former president of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (Ferma).

Thierry van Santen, director of corporate risk management at French food giant Danone, told an audience at the Lloyd's European Risk Forum that corporations were increasingly reliant on forms of self-insurance owing to the failure of the traditional market to address contemporary risks.

Van Santen, who stepped down as Ferma president in October, said: "Insurance products do not meet clients' needs because modern-day risks are much more focused on image and intangible assets. There is a different vision between the buyers and insurance providers, meaning big corporations have had to rethink how they fund large catastrophes."

The failure of insurers to provide security of contracts is also undermining the traditional insurance markets, according to van Santen.

He said: "In a world of corporate governance it is no longer acceptable to auditors to say we don't have confirmation of cover because it hasn't been issued yet."