The Irish government must establish a single agency with responsibility for national flood management, the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) has said.

IIF chief executive Mike Kemp said this was because the insurance industry could not afford to deal with regular flooding.

There was a plethora of agencies with responsibilities for flooding, but a national agency was needed to spearhead a review of river and coastal defences, he said.

He said this would help target investment aimed at improving flood black spots before winter.

"Every year over the past five years insurers have had to deal with the financial consequences of extraordinarily bad weather," Kemp said.

These events included a New Year's Eve freeze that burst 4,495 pipes, leading to property claims worth €30m (£18.8m), and floods in February that resulted in 2,933 claims costing insurers €37m (£23m).

"Government should now be looking at preventing property damage in high risk areas," Kemp said.

"The insurance industry cannot afford to deal with the financial consequences of floods, if regular flood damage becomes inevitable in certain areas."