Insurers, brokers and trade associations will form two joint working parties in a bid to offer businesses quick solutions to the liability crisis.

The ABI and Biba held a meeting in London last Friday to discuss the difficulties businesses are experiencing in obtaining liability cover.

About 100 trade association and government representatives attended the meeting, addressed by liability experts Phil Grace of Norwich Union, Giles Qartly of QBE and David Thomas of Willis.

An ABI spokesman said that there was almost unanimous interest in forming working parties to combat the immediate crisis.

One party will create industry-specific guidelines on insurers' health and safety requirements.

"There seem to be some lack of appreciation that compliance with relevant health and safety legislation wasn't

necessarily enough to meet insurers' requirements," the spokesman said.

"We need to sit down and hammer out some guidance for the trade associations to give their members."

The other party will collect data, such as accident and claims statistics, to be used by underwriters when setting premiums.

The spokesman said the trade associations felt insurers did not have a true picture of which trades posed the greatest insurance risks.

The working parties will be set up "as quickly as is practicable," he said.

He said the ABI would study workplace compensation schemes worldwide as a longer-term solution to the cover shortage.

Biba chief executive Mike Williams said the meeting was "very positive".

"No one went away thinking there was a short, sharp answer to the problem, because there isn't, but with a commitment to work on solutions," he said.