Norwich Union (NU) has confirmed that it has refused flood insurance to a small number of commercial companies, despite signing up to a two-year pledge to maintain cover.

Managing director Patrick Snowball assured delegates at the British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) Conference in Belfast on Friday (April 27) that existing NU commercial companies should not have difficulty maintaining cover.

But a NU spokeswoman said she was aware of “one or two commercial lines cases” where the insurer had been unable to provide flood cover. She said no personal lines customers had been denied cover.

“These exceptional cases have suffered regular flooding and the risk is no longer unforeseen. It is certainly not red-lining,” she said.

The NU spokeswoman said the decision to refuse a client cover was taken at a senior level, on an individual case basis and only as a last resort.

NU was unable to supply exact figures on the number of commercial clients it had refused flood cover, because such information was not held centrally. Neither could it reveal where the affected companies are based.

NU said it reviewed the provision of flood cover on several underwriting factors, including postcode and claims record.

The insurer, along with most Association of British Insurers members, has given an undertaking to the government on January 1 to continue offering existing clients cover in flood-affected areas for at least two years.