Direct Line Group

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Direct Line Insurance Group plc
Public limited company
Traded asLSEDLG
FTSE 100 Component
FoundedFebruary 2012; 8 years ago (2012-02)[1]
FoundersPeter Wood
Martin Long
HeadquartersBromley, England, UK
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Mike Biggs
Penny James
(Chief Executive)[2]
ProductsGeneral insurance, Finance
Revenue£3,299.7 million (2019)[3]
£535.7 million (2019)[3]
£419.9 million (2019)[3]
Number of employees
10,000 (2019)[4]
SubsidiariesDirect Line
Direct Line for Business
Green Flag
Darwin Insurance

Direct Line Insurance Group plc is a British insurance company based in the United Kingdom, formed in 2012 by the divestment of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group's (RBS) insurance division, through an initial public offering. The company owns a number of insurance subsidiaries, providing various insurance products, including Direct Line and Churchill, as well as the roadside assistance and vehicle recovery provider Green Flag.

The group is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


The company was originally established in 1985 by Peter Wood and Martin Long, as the insurance division of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS).[5] It was the first telephone only insurance company in the United Kingdom.[5] In September 2012, the group's chief executive, Paul Geddes, announced the business was "operating as a standalone insurance company", in advance of a future full divestment from the RBS Group.[6]

The company was the subject of an initial public offering (IPO) in October 2012.[7] RBS sold a 30% share of the business in the IPO, and sold a further 17% in March 2013, reducing its holding in the business to 48.5%.[8] RBS sold a further 20% in September 2013,[9] and sold the remainder of its holding in February 2014.[10]

Direct Line sold its TRACKER Network UK telematics business to the private equity firm Lysanda in February 2014.[11] In September 2014, it was announced that Mapfre would acquire the Italian and German businesses of Direct Line, for a sum of €550 million.[12] In February 2019, Direct Line announced it would be appointing chief financial officer Penny James as the CEO; its first woman CEO.[13]


The group owns a number of general insurance brands operating within the United Kingdom, including Direct Line, Direct Line for Business, Churchill, Privilege and Green Flag. Direct Line is a company that specialises in selling insurance and other financial services, sold directly to consumers by telephone and the internet.[14]


  1. ^ Alex Brownsell (9 February 2012). "RBS Insurance division to rebrand as Direct Line Group". Marketing. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Board". Direct Line Group. 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2019" (PDF). Direct Line Group. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Group profile". Direct Line Group. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Halifax opens fire in motor cover war". The Daily Telegraph. London. 10 January 2001.
  6. ^ "Direct Line nears RBS separation". BBC News. 3 September 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Direct Line IPO 'priced to go' at 175p". The Telegraph. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  8. ^ Steve Slater (13 March 2013). "RBS races ahead with Direct Line sell-off". Reuters. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  9. ^ "RBS makes £630m from sale of 20% of Direct Line". BBC News. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  10. ^ "RBS set to make £1bn from remaining Direct Line stake". BBC News. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  11. ^ "BRIEF-Direct Line completes sale of UK tracker network". Reuters. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  12. ^ Spain's Mapfre to buy Direct Line's German, Italian units for $700 million. Reuters, 25 September 2014
  13. ^ "Insurer Direct Line names Penny James CEO". Reuters. 26 February 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Halifax opens fire in motor cover war". The Daily Telegraph. London. 10 January 2001.

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