The insurance industry must do more to lobby the UN Security Council to tackle climate change or the industry could risk bankruptcy, a leading politician has warned.

Former environment minister Michael Meacher said climate change posed a greater threat to world security than international terrorism.

He urged insurers to put pressure on the "big powers on the Security Council to rebalance global expenditure to fighting the real enemy".

He told Insurance Times: "The industry probably has the greatest interest in world action on climate change and as it is most at risk, it could lose billions each year.

"Insurers ought to organise a determined campaign to persuade the politicians that this is critical for their survival. They will go bankrupt."

With events linked to climate change becoming increasingly frequent, Meacher said even the largest insurers could struggle to cope with massive claims.

If climate change were to topple insurers it could be disastrous for the world economy, he warned.

"Insurers should be lobbying the UK as chair of the UN security council to do something. If this industry is capsized or seriously damaged it could dramatically ruin the international economic system."