Us insurers and reinsurers have drafted proposals for a government-backed reinsurance scheme for terrorism insurance, to emulate the UK's Pool Re.

Insurers have outlined plans for a mutual insurance company called Homeland Security Mutual Insurance, governed by insurers and reinsured by the US government.

A spokeswoman for the Reinsurance Association of America said: “These proposals have been drawn up by a group of major reinsurers who are shouldering the cost of the attacks on the World Trade Centre (WTC). But this is new territory for us and we are looking to other countries, such as the UK with its Pool Re scheme, for ideas.”

Pool Re is a mutual organisation, which has funds of £1bn backed by the insurance industry. If these funds are exhausted, the UK government picks up the tab, although this has not so far been necessary.

The US government is taking urgent action to stem what it fears could be a flood of lawsuits from people claiming to have been victims of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

A law is being passed which will stop claimants from taking action anywhere other than the Federal District Court in Manhattan, whose jurisdiction covers the WTC.