Executive resignation rates have soared in the insurance sector despite an increase in earnings, according to new research.

A survey by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) revealed a labour turnover rate of 13% in the insurance sector, compared to a national average of 11.9%, for the year to January 2006.

The research showed that 55% of companies reported retention problems and 60% admitted difficulty recruiting, despite the insurance sector offering an average increase in earnings of 6.6% - the highest annual increase since 2003.

Companies blamed employee dissatisfaction with the working environment, frustrations with company pay structures and a lack of development opportunities.

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the CMI, said:

"The reported increase in resignations is a matter for concern, especially as organisations continue to identify skills gaps in specialist areas.

"If the current trend is allowed to continue it could breed dangerous levels of uncertainty and impact on the strategic development of UK organisations."

The report showed that organisations were offering a range of benefits to staff in an attempt to redress the balance of resignations.