Idaho Upset over Toyota Ads

January 3, 2008

The Idaho Department of Insurance (DOI) has joined forces with the
Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a Washington group that includes insurers, law enforcement officials and consumer groups, in expressing concern over Toyota car company’s recent ad campaign. The campaign shows people dumping their cars so they can buy new ones.

According to the DOI and Coalition, every scene depicted in the ads is a crime, and is as much about increasing insurance fraud as it is about increasing car sales. DOI Fraud Investigator, Don Roberson, has written to the president of Toyota asking him to pull the ads.

“Insurance fraud is a very costly and very harmful venture,” Roberson said. “It affects all of us in the form of increased premiums.”

In a response posted to the Coalition’s blog, Toyota said, “The ridiculous situation portrayed in the commercial is intended only for levity, and is not meant seriously or to encourage ridiculous or antisocial behavior. Our only intention is to advertise our products. We hoped the commercial would create a pleasant moment of laughter that would help the viewer keep Toyota in mind.”

However, the DOI and Coalition believes the ads encourage fraud. More than one in four adults in the United States believe that it is acceptable to cheat on an insurance claim, up from 21 percent just nine years ago. The National Crime Bureau and the Coalition estimate 10 percent to 25 percent of each insurance premium dollar spent by consumers goes to insurance fraud. That annual cost is $60 billion.

Source: DOI

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