Iggy Pop advert banned

29 April 2009

A car insurance advert featuring legendary punk rock star Iggy Pop has been banned by the advertising watchdog after viewers complained that the policy on offer didn’t cover musicians.

The TV and poster campaign featured ‘the Rock Iguana’ – best know for his 1977 song, Lust for Life – gyrating and playing golf. During the advert, which was promoting Swiftcover’s car insurance, Iggy said: “And I got it Swiftcovered. I got insurance on my insurance.”

However, 12 viewers contacted the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after watching the advert to complain it was misleading as Swiftocover states on its website that its car insurance policy is not available to people working in entertainment.

Despite Switftcover arguing the advert aimed to promote its online service, with Iggy championing the virtues of the internet to find insurance products, the ASA has now banned the advert. It dismissed Swiftcover's defence that the ad made no reference to Iggy Pop’s profession, and that he was cast in the role because of his reputation for “living life to the full”.

In a statement, the ASA says: “We considered some viewers might interpret [Iggy’s claim that he got it “Swiftcovered”] to mean Iggy Pop held a policy with Swiftcover and that its insurance cover did extend to musicians and those who worked in the entertainment industry. However, we noted that Iggy Pop did not have a policy with Swiftcover.” 

Musicians and people working elsewhere in the entertainment industry may find they struggle to find car insurance, with many non-specialist providers excluding such ‘high risk’ occupations.

Will Thomas, head of motor at confused.com, says: “Insurers use occupation as a measure of risk – so, if you are a professional footballer, work in entertainment or are even a reporter you may struggle to get cover or face a hike in premiums.”

Musicians, for example, may carry a lot of expensive equipment in the cars. However, it is the 'risk of association' that can often cause insurers to blacklist certain occupations. Hayley Parsons, chief executive of Gocompare.com, says: "Insurers worry that sportmens or those in the entertainment business could travel with friends also in the industry - that they could sue for personal liability."

While some occupations are blacklisted by mainstream insurers, others may have to pay more because they are deemed high risk. So, what can you do if you think your occupation could be getting in the way of you getting car insurance?

Most price comparison websites will have thousands of different occupations listed, but think about which suits you the most. For example, last year Confused.com found that a ‘reporter’ would pay 30% more for car insurance than a ‘journalist’ or ‘writer’.

Bear in mind that if you lie about your occupation, or are too liberal with the truth, your insurance could be invalid. Parsons says: "It you lie about your job and your insurer wouldn't normally offer a policy to someone with your real occupation then your insurance could be cancelled and declared void - leaving you without any cover."

If you get a quote that you think could be affected by your occupation, consider contacting the insurer to explains the ins and outs of your role.

Timing is also relevant. “About once a year insurers review their claims books and work out the frequency of claims by customers by their age, location and occupation,” says Thomas. “They then weight their premiums on this data. So, if thousands of people in the same occupation as you have claimed, you may find you pay more. But the next year, this might not be the case.”

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