Some of Germany's largest companies are considering setting up their own reinsurance operation.

The move by blue chip names, including chemicals giant BASF, is in response to a shortage of terrorism cover on the open market.

The companies are concerned by the slow progress of talks between reinsurers and the German government on setting up a venture along the lines of the UK's Pool Re.

BASF said it was "studying alternatives" to the venture.

A spokeswoman for Munich Re, the world's biggest reinsurer, said it had not known about the companies' ideas.

Like other reinsurers, it has increased rates for terrorism cover and imposed exclusions and cancellation clauses.

It is negotiating with the German government over a Pool Re-type operation.

The spokeswoman denied the developments highlighted a failing in the reinsurance market.

She said: "It might be true there isn't enough capacity.

"We've always said terrorism risks cannot be covered by the insurance industry alone. These risks can be borne only by the insureds, the insurance industry and the state working together. We are in favour of a pool solution."