An effort in Britain to create a government-backed pandemic insurance scheme has got bogged down in complexity and action is needed to drive it forward, the head of a committee investigating the idea said on Wednesday.

Stephen Catlin, chairman of the Pandemic Re Steering Committee, a British industry group, said he had hoped in early June that a launch would be possible in 2021.

“But as time went on, it became clear that the complexity was going to slow it down,” Catlin, who is also chairman and CEO of insurer Convex, told the Reuters Events Future of Insurance Europe conference.

Governments are understandably “consumed with the here and now” but action is needed, he said. Otherwise, “we land in the same mess we are today all over again”.

Insurers around the globe are asking governments for help to protect businesses against losses from future pandemics, as they say the potential losses are too great for them to cover alone.

Similar schemes in Britain exist to help insurers protect policyholders against terror attacks and flooding.

German insurance association GDV head Joerg Asmussen also told the conference on Tuesday that talks over a similar pandemic scheme in Germany have shifted to the back burner