Many insurance employees lacked the skills to underwrite in a hard market, a leading broker claimed.

Marsh Ireland deputy managing partner Stephen Byrne said the long-running soft market had reduced the emphasis on technical underwriting, with few employees interested in taking their ACII or FCII.

He said this meant insurers were more difficult for brokers to deal with and could not negotiate as successfully with reinsurers.

Byrne said the number of experienced, mature staff shed during the industry's numerous mergers and acquisitions had exacerbated the problem.