Food industry risk managers seeking cover for buildings with composite panels need to focus more on the way they present risks to insurers, according to a leading risk manager.

Derek Mason, group risk and insurance manager at Uniq and chairman of the Airmic food and industry distribution forum, told delegates: "You have to be able to demonstrate that you're actively managing the risk."

Mason said that composite panels were here to stay, but escalating premiums were still a problem, particularly for small food companies with composite panel sites. He said the fact that many of these companies didn't have full time risk managers only added to the problem.

Mason said risk managers could consider a range of alternatives or supplements to insurance in light of rate increases. He said risk managers could consider captives, self insurance, larger deductibles, and mutual insurers.

But Mason said the insurance industry was beginning to show an increased understanding of composite panel risks, as illustrated by the ABI's recent guidance paper on composite panels which Mason described as "good".