||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (April 2013)|
|Founded||1971 (as National Breakdown Recovery Club)|
|Headquarters||Pudsey, Leeds, United Kingdom|
|Key people||Mike Bowman (Director)|
|Parent||Direct Line Group|
Green Flag is a British breakdown cover and vehicle recovery provider based in Pudsey, near Leeds. Formed in 1971 (as the National Breakdown Recovery Club) as an alternative to the AA and RAC, using a network of local garages and mechanics to deliver recovery and repair services instead of patrolling mechanics. The company is part of the Direct Line Group.
Green Flag started as an idea between two friends - Bob Slicer and Jeffery Pittock - in a pub in Bradford. Slicer owned a fish and chip shop in Buttershaw, so that's where the business began as the National Breakdown Recovery Club.
Back then, the AA and RAC were well-established, and offered assistance at the roadside. But the NBRC promised something different – a network of garages and mechanics that would recover and fix member's cars. The mechanics' local knowledge was meant to provide a swifter response to calls than the established competition.
When the service began as a three man business (with Ernest Smith) in 1971, membership only covered breakdowns within a 50-mile radius of their Morley Street base in Bradford, and cost £1.50 a year.
Within three years, NBRC had become the UK's largest breakdown recovery firm with over 100,000 members.
The company was renamed Green Flag in 1994. The company, now being run by Ernest Smith as Chief Executive, was looking to expand into other insurance services. "Green is the symbol of health in Europe," Smith told The Independent at the time.
NCP was bought out by US investment firm Cendant who put Green Flag up for sale in May 1999, after regulators blocked their attempt to gain critical mass by also buying RAC. Later that year, Green Flag became part of the RBS Group when it was acquired by Direct Line for £220m.
2008 saw Green Flag announce that it would be branding 400 vans across its network to match its marketing.
In 2010, mascot Maximili'ant was introduced to Green Flag's marketing. An ant was chosen as the company claims "they're hard working, strong and work well in a team - qualities reflected in the Green Flag network." The character was brought to life by the voice of Harry Hill in TV and radio advertising until 2012.
In 2011 Green Flag reviewed its network of contractors, reducing the number of partner firms from 283 to 173, with a number of firms reacting angrily to the decision. Now, five firms represent the majority of Green Flag's network.
RBS' insurance division was floated in October 2012 as Direct Line Group. The new company had declared itself a separate entity the previous month. The RBS holding in Green Flag's parent is now just 28.5%.
Green Flag offer a range of breakdown products, from basic roadside assistance to full European cover with recovery, covering cars, motorbikes, trailers and small vans.
Green Flag's services are also available through partners including Direct Line, Churchill, Sainsbury's Bank, Esure, RBS and NatWest. They also operate a specialist breakdown service for caravan and motorhome owners on behalf of the Caravan Club.
Like the rest of the Direct Line Group, Green Flag's products are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited.
Green Flag are multiple Your Money award winners. They were named Best Breakdown Cover Provider in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014. They were also Best Online Breakdown Cover provider in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2014.
Between 2000 and 2002, the company were the main title sponsor British Formula 3 Championship and then, between 2002 and 2004, the British Touring Car Championship. This was not the company's first motorsport sponsorship, as National Breakdown had sponsored rallies between 1984 and 1987.
Green Flag is the current sponsor of British gymnast Nile Wilson.
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- Your Money award winners 2004
- Your Money award winners 2005
- Your Money award winners 2006
- Your Money award winners 2007
- Your Money award winners 2008
- Your Money award winners 2009
- Your Money award winners 2010
- Your Money award winners 2013
- Your Money award winners 2014 revealed
- Green Flag is delighted to have won the Roadside Assistance Company 2012 Award
- Auto Express Driver Power Survey 2013: breakdown cover providers
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- Nile Wilson. "Sponsors: Green Flag". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- Green Flag. "Green Flag partners with Premiership Rugby". Retrieved 28 February 2014.