The Conservative Party's top lawyer has criticised insurers for failing to present a sufficiently "robust" defence of claims.

The shadow attorney-general Dominic Grieve told Insurance Times that insurers were too willing to settle unmeritorious claims.

"That's plainly an encouragement to people to litigate and the insurance industry needs to think very carefully about the extent to which it wants to resist that type of claim in order not to encourage other people to make them."

As a result, he said, the insurance industry should take some of the blame for the development of the so-called compensation culture.

Grieve said the insurance industry must take "a long term view" about its attitude to defending claims.

He said insurers must "defend claims to the end" if they do not believe liability attaches.

"If they do that, then over a five to 10 year period a lot of these problems will disappear," said Grieve.