With employers' liability premiums skyrocketing, risk managers should focus on improving health and safety and reducing the cost of claims, delegates were told.

Velma Baptiste-Destouche, head of health and safety at logistics company Exel, told a workshop that the biggest cost of liability claims actually arose before the claim occurred.

She said that by tackling the risk of claims before they were made, risk managers could improve a company's health and safety and claims record, and, ultimately, reduce its employers' liability premium.

"As a business, the biggest cost to you is not the cost of the claim, but the cost of managing the accident," she told delegates.

Baptiste-Destouche said that risk managers should not view rehabilitation as a tool to be employed only after a claim arises.

She said they should use it to address all sickness or accident-related absenteeism to increase productivity and morale, and reduce the frequency of claims.