Insurers are calling for Pool Re to extend its mandate to include domestic properties to help assuage the flooding crisis.

Esure spokesman Adrian Webb said it was "definitely an option to be considered". Webb said that, since the moratorium was lifted, a number of homes had been left unprotected and it was time for the government to step in. Webb added that it was "not acceptable" for home insurers to pick up undefended risks. "There is the option for the government to be the insurer of last resort and this is common in the EU," he said.

"The government seems to be allergic to the idea, but it would be sensible here."

Another leading underwriter echoed these sentiments and said insurers were now exposed to risks, varying from small to unquantifiable claims. "There could be a rethink," he said.

A Pool Re spokesman said a widening of its remit was "not under consideration at the present time."

He said it was up to the government to make the decision.

Lloyds TSB Insurance Managing director Jon Pain agreed that an extension to Pool Re was not necessary, but said his concern was that it was taking too long for the ABI's statement of principles to come into practice.

"Once the principles are established, there will be much scope for existing market players," he said.