|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|Headquarters||Leeds, United Kingdom|
|Parent||Direct Line Group|
It was the first telephone insurer in the UK when launched in 1985 by founder Peter Wood, and soon became the UK's largest provider of motor vehicle insurance. Its head office is located in Croydon, but the company also has offices in Glasgow, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. Overseas, the division has expanded into Spain (Línea Directa), Japan (in partnership with Yasuda Life), Germany and Italy.
The company was part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group's (RBS) insurance division until 2012, when the division was partially separated to form a new business, the Direct Line Group. While part of RBS, Direct Line was effectively nationalised alongside RBS in November 2008 during the banking crisis, due to the financial crisis, and RBS's dependency on UK taxpayers' money.
As announced on 12 March 2013, the RBS is going to sell 15.3% of its Direct Line shares after having already sold 30% of it in October, 2012. After the sell, the RBS will have lost its majority share and will only hold 49.99% of the company's stake.
Direct Line is well known in the UK for its distinctive logo - a red telephone on wheels - which is used extensively in its marketing.
- "Yasuda joins Direct Line on variable-risk auto insurance". The Japan Times. 1999-10-13. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- RBS sells stake in Direct Line, BBC news report on March 12, 2013, on bbc.co.uk