Brokers accuse insurer of aggressive pricing of large employers' liability risks.

Brokers have accused Zurich of "aggressively pricing" large employers' liability (EL) risks.

The allegations follow the release of the Department for Work and Pensions' final report into EL, which concluded that the EL market "remains difficult".

One broker described Zurich, which is the largest player in the EL market, as "irresponsible". He said the company was offering renewals for large EL risks with premiums of £1m or more at, or in some cases below, last year's rates.

But Zurich has denied the allegations. A spokeswoman said: "Zurich expects EL rates to continue to rise generally though not as sharply as over the past two years. We have no strategy to aggressively price one particular premium sector. The problems which affect this class are still there. For example, claims settlements continue to exceed the rate of inflation and will be a factor in premium increases. Higher EL premiums are here to stay."

The allegations follow last month's warning from the FSA that insurers should avoid succumbing to the premium cycle.

A recent ABI report found that the EL market had eased, with insurers predicting rate rises of between 10% and 15% over the coming year, down from the increases of 30% or more in 2003.