A TOP-LEVEL report into rocketing insurance costs is "a shambles", say Huddersfield business chiefs.
The Office of Fair Trading drew up the report after complaints from small firms hit by massive increases in premiums.
But Kirklees members of the Aspley-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce meeting said the OFT report was "disappointing" and said it failed to identify the reasons for the hefty increases.
Now, the chamber is writing to Small Firms Minister Nigel Griffiths, urging action to help firms.
The OFT report said premiums for employers' liability soared by an average of 50% in 2002, with public liability and product liability insurance premiums rising 30% to 40%.
In some cases, premiums had risen 200%.
But the report said there was no evidence to support claims by the chamber and other business groups that some firms had been unable to get liability insurance "at any price" - forcing them to close down or trade illegally.
The OFT report also found a "lack of solid evidence" to back the chamber's view that a growing "compensation culture" was contributing to higher premiums.
The report, which took six months to compile, said there was not enough data on the number and nature of claims - or the legal costs awarded in compensation cases - to prove such a claim.
The report recommends that insurers give customers at least 21 days' notice of renewal terms when policies were due to expire - rather than just a few days' notice - to allow customers time to "shop around".
It also called for insurers to take more account of a firm's health and safety practices when setting premiums.
Oliver Berryman, the chamber's policy and representation officer, said: "The report is pretty much a shambles.
"The OFT had six months to come up with something, but they say they could not get the information they needed from the insurance industry or the legal profession.
"Not to come to a definite conclusion after six months is a disgrace."