Reinsurance companies are set to escape any major loss from the flooding, which has crippled parts of the UK in recent weeks.

Experts said reinsurance programmes were likely to remain largely untouched due to high retentions of primary insurers and the “168-hour rule” included in many reinsurance programmes.

The rule means that insurers will not be able to make a joint reinsurance claim for the floods in Yorkshire and the southern regions, as they occured more than 168 hours apart.

Jean-Michel Lewis, director of reinsurance at Heath Lambert, told Insurance Times: “While I think the general feeling is that it is going to be a significant hit to primary insurers, I don’t think there will be a significant loss for reinsurers because of the retentions being borne by primary insurers.

“While it might hit the lower end of the reinsurance programme I think it will be a minor hit.”

Lewis said there was “no doubt” insurers’ catastrophe reserves would be affected if companies were not recovering from reinsurers.

His comments come in spite of a profit warning by Bermudan reinsurer IPC Re.

The reinsurer predicted that floods in both the UK and Australia were likely to affect its 2007 results.

But Bermudian reinsurers Everest Re Group and PartnerRe said they had emerged relatively unscathed from the Australian and UK catastrophe events, reporting net earnings increases of 28% and

35%, respectively, for the second quarter.