Insurers have a key role to play in mitigating the effects of climate change, former environment secretary, Michael Meacher, MP, said this week.

Speaking at the Insurance Times Forces of Nature conference, Meacher said: "The insurance industry has a prime role to play in terms of pricing.

"It could price premiums based on the policyholders' commitment to being environmentally friendly."

This could mean penalising energy-wasting homeowners or giving financial incentives by way of lower home premiums to energy-saving home-owners, he said.

Shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth, MP, said insurers should refuse to cover homes which were built on flood plains.

' See next week's Insurance Times for the full Forces of Nature conference report