Fortis Insurance could face the largest claim in motor insurance history following the Selby rail crash in which ten people died.

The company has confirmed that it is the insurer for Gary Hart, the driver of the Land Rover involved in the accident.

Fortis said it had not yet received any claim relating to the accident, caused by a collision between a coal train, a high-speed passenger service and Hart's vehicle.

It is currently awaiting reports from the investigating authorities.

Alan Sendall, claims director for Fortis, said: “I confirm that this insurance policy provides unlimited liability in respect of third party claims.”

He stressed that although it was too early to estimate the total cost of claims, it expects the bill to run into “tens of millions of pounds”.

Sendall said Fortis has reinsurance arrangements with a number of reinsurance companies to protect it against major incidents such as the Selby crash.

He added: “The cost will not impact on the solvency of the company or its ability to meet future liabilities.”

In 1999, Fortis had assets of more than £250bn and employed 65,000 employees.

St Paul International covered GNER's train for damage up to £600,000, but not liability.