The litigious blame culture in Europe risks making some classes uninsurable, the former head of Swiss Re said.

Walter Kielholz, speaking at the 50th annual congress of the European Federation of Insurance Associations, said: "Europe is a prime market for the 'predator class' [of lawyers]. The social and cultural barriers to a compensation culture are evaporating. Damage claims could soon make Europe as hazardous and uninsurable as the US."

He said the UK risked following the US by "degenerating into a regime that supports claims even if there werre no damage and/or breach of duty or fault".