The number of crime related insurance claims made by companies in 2006 has increased by 20% compared with the 2005 figures, according to AXA.
The latest findings from the AXA Business Crime Index show Business crime claims increased by 6% in the last quarter of 2006 compared with the previous three month period.
The Index, which is based on AXA's own data, also reveals that over the same period the number of claims for violent and forced entries more than doubled, while arson claims soared by a fifth (20%).
However, incidences of malicious damage including vandalism and graffiti; fell by 2% over the last quarter of 2006.
Arson is an increasingly expensive problem for businesses; based on the amount paid out to victims it accounted for over half (51%) of all claims made.
Violent and forced entry claims in the last quarter of 2006 increased exponentially, more than doubling compared to the previous three months.
The average claim settlement amount for a case of violent or forcible entry was approximately £3,975, but AXA warned the cost is far higher in terms of the traumatic psychological impact on employees, managers and business owners.
Neil Mercier, property insurance manager at AXA said: "We are extremely concerned that business crime rates across the UK continue to rise. For the first time since the inception of the Index we have seen business crime increase for three consecutive quarters. AXA is campaigning for extra resources to be devoted to tackling the scourge of business crime."
Leicester tops the city business crime table this quarter, with 27% of claims settled between October and December resulting from criminal activity. Nottingham (26%) and Cardiff (24%) are second and third respectively.
Norwich experienced a 4.21% decrease in the proportion of crime related business insurance claims, moving it to the bottom of the crime table.
AXA said that across all crimes, the average insurance settlement amount is now £5,191.