Munich Re's direct insurance arm Ergo is looking to acquire books of business and small companies, including brokers and insurers in the UK.

The German reinsurance giant will pursue a strategy of "filling gaps in its portfolio" rather than follow its rival Swiss Re's approach of buying major carriers, said head of communications Rainer Küppers.

In November 2005, Swiss Re paid $6.8bn (£3.6bn) for General Electric's Insurance Solutions business, including Employers Reinsurance Corp.

"Ergo has made major in-roads in Europe by buying into companies. Recently it bought 70% of a Turkish insurer and the group hopes to look for new challenges in this country."

Munich Re claims to the first reinsurer to provide cover for carbon trading.

The policy would pay out if one party does not achieve its carbon emission target.