Reminding consumers that they pay the penalty will demonise the cheats, says Michael Faulkner
' Last night I saw the new Direct Line advert on TV.
It was fairly typical of the current crop of adverts for motor and home insurance, albeit minus Michael Winner.
Nonetheless it stood out for one reason.
What made it remarkable was that it is the only advert I can recall that addresses the problem of uninsured driving.
The central characters of the advert - identical twins - have both been hit by uninsured drivers. One loses his no claims bonus as a result; the other, who opts for Direct Line, does not.
On the surface, of course, it is a simple marketing message focusing on the features and benefits of Direct Line's policy compared to that of its rivals - and it doesn't touch on cheap rates for once.
But there is a deeper and more worthy message that underlines this commercial: that uninsured driving is bad and it costs policyholders.
Granted, this is a rather obvious statement and one that the insurance industry has been making for some time.
But it is one that is clearly lost on many, given the prevalence of uninsured driving at the moment. One in 20 drivers is believed to be taking to the roads drives without insurance.
Telling consumers that uninsured driving can have a direct and noticeable financial impact on them is thus a hugely valuable statement. It makes them understand that it is an issue to be concerned about; that it costs them.
Ultimately, it is about making people understand that uninsured driving is an unacceptable and antisocial activity.
When this happens the problem will surely be less acute. It is the same battle that must be won in relation to insurance fraud.
So there should be more adverts hammering home the message that uninsured driving is bad, that it costs consumers and it costs society.
Making consumers aware that drivers without insurance hit them where it hurts - in their pockets - will surely make them take note.
If uninsured drivers can be demonised in the same way as drink-drivers it will be a significant victory for the insurance industry.
In the meantime, the rest of the industry could follow Direct Line's other method of attacking uninsured drivers by paying to have their cars crushed. IT