Insurers are playing down the implications of a House of Lords ruling that shields water companies from being sued for 'black water' flooding under nuisance laws.

In the case of Marcic v Thames Water Utilities the Lords ruled that Marcic did not have the right to claim against the water company for sewage overflow on his property.

Norwich Union head of property claims John Wickham said: "This is not as serious as it would first appear though it does have an impact.

"There will now be cases we could not pursue which we could have before the House of Lords decision."

The decision by the House of Lords overturned a Court of Appeal ruling that found in favour of Marcic.

But Wickham pointed out that water companies could still be taken to court under the Water Industry Act 1991.