Iggy Pop in insurance ad dispute

Musicians failed to get coverage via Swiftcover

LONDON -- Iggy Pop is at the center of a dispute over his involvement in commercials for U.K. car insurance company Swiftcover.com, after it emerged that musicians were unable to get cover with the company.

As part of 25 million pounds ($36 million) car insurance ad campaign, launched Jan. 4, the Stooges singer urges consumers to "Get a life. Get Swiftcovered."

Since then, a number of musicians claim to have been refused insurance by Swiftcover.com and have lodged formal complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA said it has received 12 complaints in relation to the Swiftcover.com TV ad campaign. The complaints object that it is "misleading because it uses a well-known figure from the music industry to promote an insurance service which they believe excludes musicians," according to an ASA spokesperson. As a result, the ASA has launched an investigation to determine whether the ad breaches the U.K.'s TV Advertising Code.

Swiftcover.com's marketing director Tina Shortle defended the company's decision to use the rock star in its campaign. "Swiftcover.com chose Iggy Pop as the face of its advertising because he loves life, not because he is a musician," she said in a statement. "He is an actor demonstrating the benefits of Swiftcover.com.

"The reason Swiftcover.com doesn't cover people in the 'entertainment business' is due to the risk of personal injury. That risk then becomes something for a specialist insurer to take on," she continued, adding that company data showed entertainers have a "higher level of claim costs."

The campaign covers TV, radio, outdoor and digital advertising, along with the sponsorship of digital satellite broadcaster Sky's 2009 sci-fi season, including the new series of "Battlestar Galactica."

The online insurer is part of the global insurance company AXA Group.

Iggy Pop's management declined comment.