Norwich Union stands up for white van man

Article date: 14 November 2003

Norwich Union has rebuked a recent depiction of White Van Man(WVM) as a ‘mobile thug’.

The company responded to a recent article in TheIndependent reporting on a 6 per cent increase in light vantraffic in which David Marsh, a social psychologist who conductedthe first research into the concept of WVM for the Social IssuesResearch Centre in Oxford, said: "Van drivers have taken on themantle of what sociologists refer to as ‘folk devils’.He has overtaken even the football hooligan in the league of socialundesirability. WVM is now most often viewed as a mobile thug and adangerous threat to the decent, right-thinking majority."

Mark Keavney, from Norwich Union, one of the UK’s largestinsurer of vans, commented: "As a major insurer, we have access tosubstantial claims data regarding van and car drivers - and thereis no suggestion that van drivers are any more of a risk on theroads.

"While the ‘white van man’ title creates astereotypical association with bad driving, research shows thatthey actually make less claims against their insurance policy thancar motorists.

"Their reputation for cavalier driving has just made the generalpublic more likely to register a bad van driver than a badmotorist."

-ends-

For further information, please contact: DebbieWells at Staniforth on 0161 274 0100 or David Ross at Norwich Unionon 08703 66 68 65/07786 526350.

Notes to editors
About Norwich Union

  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer with a marketshare of around 16 per cent and is more than 1.5 times the size ofits nearest rival. It is also the largest personal linesinsurer.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    - One in five households
    - One in five motor vehicles
    - More than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  •  Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection ofimages are available on the Aviva internet press centre atwww.aviva.com/media.
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality broadcast.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68

For all life & pensions media enquiries 08703 66 68 73
For all other media enquiries 08703 66 68 68

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