Norwich Union (NU) has expressed concern about the loosening of rules for uninsured drivers.

As of next month, uninsured drivers will no longer face court and a possible driving ban for their first offence. Instead they will receive a £200 fine and lose six points from their licence.

NU claims director Simon Machell criticised the measures for not being severe enough. "The financial penalties need to be more punitive and until they are, the problem is likely to persist," he said.

Machell said that the current average motor premium was about £500 a year and by setting the new fine at less than half that amount, drivers might consider it a better option to drive without insurance and risk being caught.

"I would like to see the fines at least at the level of the average motor insurance premium to act as a real deterrent because, at the end of the day, the cost of uninsured motorists is eventually borne by insured drivers," he said.

"Currently uninsured driving costs all those that buy motor cover £30."