An open letter to Mr Brian Richards, Director of Customer Development, Norwich Union, and hopefully a man who Googles himself.

Dear Mr Richards,

Thank you for your recent ‘quote me happy’ communication regarding car insurance.

I’m not that bothered by junk mail. I register with the various bodies to keep my name off marketing lists, but I accept the fact that UK legislation is so piss-poor that you are allowed to send me anything you wish just because five years ago I met someone at a party whose brother knew a man who once cleaned the windows of a house insured by you.

Besides, I live in a rural area, and junk mail keeps the Post Lady in a job.

I’m merely bemused at the tone of it. I just cannot comprehend what sort of idiot you think I am.

Brian, can I go through your letter piece by piece?

Firstly, printing the words ‘Norwich Union Direct Motor Insurance’ over and over again in very faint watermark-style wavy lines does not make your letter into an important certificate.

And likewise, the urgent ‘Please Keep This Document Safe’ line at the top does seem unnecessary. It’s not a document. It’s a piece of junk mail. I will throw it away. So nya nya to you.

‘I have been specially selected’ is flattering, but perhaps exaggerates somewhat my specialness. I would imagine you have sent this to thousands of people. If you haven’t, and it’s just for me, then I am going to change the locks and take out an injunction.

Your offer of a free mini radio is tempting. Perhaps printing ‘Free Gift of a Mini Radio – APPROVED’ as if it had been rubber-stamped in red ink over the margin was over-egging, somewhat. I refuse to believe there is a man in your office with a rubber stamp whose sole job is to check each recipient to see if they are worthy of a crappy mini radio. That would be unusual business practise, even in Norwich.

Likewise, ‘Please note that this offer is not transferable’ in big capital letters is impressive, but I don’t tend to swap car insurance free radio offers with my friends. They have a life. I’m not even going to mention the terribly important ‘NOTE TO UNDERWRITERS – ALLOW MAXIMUM DISCOUNT’ flash. Do your underwriters go through my recycling or something? I’ve told you before (see above) – stop stalking me.

And finally, the urgent reminder to take out a policy before the offer close date would be helpful, if the offer close date wasn’t in five months time. On a scale of ‘urgent’ to ‘really, really not that urgent at all, I’ll get round to it after I’ve next cleaned the oven’ I’m afraid it scores rather badly.

All in all, I can’t really say that you’ve sold me in.

Brian, I’m sure you’re an intelligent man, having got so high up in such a big company and all that.

If I’ve misjudged you, then please let me know via the comments box.

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