The Federation of European Risk Management Associations (Ferma) will ask European governments to relax financial requirements on companies in the wake of the US terrorist attacks.

Incoming Ferma chairman Thierry van Santen talked exclusively to Insurance Times at the Ferma forum in Barcelona on Monday.

Van Santen said the "market crisis", particularly the lack of capacity and the nervousness of insurers on some risks, was the first issue he had to deal with in his term in office, which began on Wednesday (October 10).

He said Ferma would approach government bodies in the nine nations represented within Ferma with a request that they ease taxation and accounting requirements on companies, as many found it difficult to obtain appropriate cover in the shrinking insurance market.

Spain, the UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland are members of Ferma.

However, van Santen, who is the corporate risk manager at Groupe Danone in France, said he was unsure what response Ferma would receive.

"It's hard to know what they will say, but we have to make them understand some flexibility in financial requirements is needed, because some lines of industry are really struggling to get cover," he said.

Van Santen said chemical and pharmaceutical companies were finding it particularly difficult to get insurance because of the huge product liability issues they faced.

"Many companies will not be insured, if not because of price, then because of a a lack of market appetite," he said.

Van Santen said the insurance market had over-reacted to the events in the US, refusing cover wholesale in some areas.

"To say we have to exclude terrorism of any kind just because we have a big incident in the US is excessive," he said.

"What are they going to say next, that after Toulouse, you can't be insured if you're less than two miles from a chemical plant? We have to get back to true costs, but not immediately say that costs must go up 200 or 300%."