Insurers are registering lower than expected claims levels from Boxing Day's tsunami due to government intervention in the disaster.

AXA, the UK's biggest travel insurer, reported it had received only 380 claims in the four weeks following the tsunami. The insurer estimated it had more than 5,000 policyholders in the affected area when the waves hit.

The insurer put the low level of claims down to intervention by both government and airlines, getting involved in the crisis by repatriating both survivors and victims of the natural disaster.

' The government has also moved to relax the seven-year rule on establishing death in the absence of a body. The decision should release both travel and life insurers to settle claims arising from the tsunami more quickly.