Direct Line Group : Everything you need to know

Direct Line Group : Everything you need to know

Direct Line Group: Everything you need to know

Headquarters address

Churchill Court, Westmoreland Road, Bromley, BR1 1DP, United Kingdom

Year established

1985
Size (employees) 10,200+
Gross written premium £2,974 million
Underwriting expertise Motor, home, commercial and rescue, and other personal lines
Key people Jon Greenwood (acting CEO), Neil Manser (chief financial officer), Jessie Burrows (managing director – customer sales, service & claims), Jasvinder Gakhal (managing director – motor), Aurore Lecanon (chief risk officer), Ash Jokhoo (chief information officer), Kate Syred (chief customer officer), Vicky Wallis (chief people officer), Humphrey Tomlinson (general counsel)

About Direct Line Group

Direct Line Insurance Group Plc (Direct Line Group) is a London Stock Exchange-listed insurance company, offering a range of policies through its several brands and subsidiaries. It was founded by Peter Wood and Martin Long in 1985 as the insurance division of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group and became the UK’s first telephone-only insurance provider, thus the name.

Direct Line became a “standalone insurance company” in 2012, after a divestment from the RBS Group. The company was then the subject of an initial public offering (IPO) in October of that year, when RBS Group sold a 30% share of the business. In March 2013, RBS sold a further 17% share and another 20% in September of that same year before selling the remainder of its holding in February 2014, completing the divestment.

Over the years, Direct Line has grown to become one of the UK’s largest insurance companies, owning several subsidiaries. It is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index, which consists of the 101st to 350th largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Direct Line Group: The brands

The group owns several brands and subsidiaries. These consist of:

Direct Line

Direct Line started as a telephone-only car insurance provider in 1985. Its goal has always been to “put the customer first” by “cutting out the middleman, the forms, and the jargon” – considered revolutionary changes in the insurance industry during that time. At present, Direct Line offers a range of products, including home, pet, travel, life, over 50s life, and cycling. Customers can now access the brand’s policies online as well.

In 2007, the company launched the Direct Line for Business brand, which offers various commercial insurance policies to landlords and small businesses nationwide.

Churchill

Churchill is one of the UK’s leading providers of general insurance products – including car, home, travel, and pet insurance – which customers can access over the phone and online. It was acquired by RBS Group in 2003, making it a part of its insurance division, now operating as Direct Line Group. Churchill was established by Direct Line co-founder Martin Long in 1989.

Green Flag

Green Flag is Direct Line Group’s roadside rescue and recovery service. It is offered as an optional standalone product across all the group’s brands. Green Flag has access to a quality-controlled network of local technicians and independent garages across the UK, enabling it to deliver fast and efficient service. 

NIG

NIG is Direct Line Group’s brand specialising in commercial insurance. Its team of experts focuses on identifying and understanding the risks faced by UK businesses to offer tailored coverage that meets each client’s unique needs. The company operates a trading model designed to “reflect the differing requirements of how brokers like to trade.” This includes having regional offices, a national trading centre, a dedicated schemes centre, an eTrade centre of excellence, and dedicated experts for specialist sectors.

DLG Partnerships

Direct Line Group’s Partnerships team helps organisations provide cover to customers through the group’s brands. This includes providing expert technical and product support. Among the companies that the partnership works with are Starling Bank, Nationwide Building Society, Sainsbury Bank, Volkswagen Financial Services, NatWest, and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Privilege

Privilege caters to customers who buy motor and home insurance through price comparison websites. Its insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited.

DLG Auto Services

DLG Auto Services is Direct Line Group’s network of car repair shops. These bodyshops handle an estimated 90,000 accident-damaged vehicles annually.

Darwin

Darwin caters to clients who buy motor insurance primarily through price comparison websites. The insurtech brand uses a smart pricing system to provide rates that match an individual’s profile. Its insurance policies are also underwritten by U K Insurance Limited and arranged and administered by iGO4 Limited.

DLG Legal Services

Launched in 2014, DLG Legal Services is an SRA-regulated law firm that provides clients affordable access to a broad range of legal services covered under the Motor Legal Protection (MLP) and Family Legal Protection (FLP) products. These include personal injury, inheritance, and property claims, and contract and employment disputes. Policyholders are also granted access to the brand’s legal advice line.

Leadership at Direct Line Group

Jon Greenwood – acting chief executive officer

Greenwood took the reins as acting CEO of Direct Line Group in 2023. He previously served as the group’s first chief commercial officer, heading its product and trading strategy. Greenwood joined the firm in 2000 as product and pricing director for UK partnerships and later moved up to managing director of the group’s household and life units. Prior to joining Direct Line, Greenwood held leadership roles at HBOS, MBNA, and Pinnacle.

Culture at Direct Line Group

Direct Line Group operates with a vision that insurance is “personal, inclusive, and a force of good” and a purpose to “help people carry on with their lives [by] giving them peace of mind now and in the future.”

Among the group’s strategic objectives are:

  • To ensure building its technological and organisational capability to continue to provide products that meet customers’ changing needs and that are available through multiple channels
  • To continue providing outstanding customer service and value for money
  • To create value for its investors
  • To support the communities the group serves
  • To protect the environment

As part of its efforts to achieve these objectives, Direct Line Group has initiated the following:

  • In 2021, the group published its Opportunity Action Plan, which sets out a series of ambitions that the business planned work to address the lack of social mobility within the UK.
  • In 2020, the group launched a Community Fund to support communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In 2020, Direct Line Group also published its first Sustainability Report and TCFD Report and became a 100% carbon-neutral business by investing in high social impact projects to offset its Scope 1, 2 and 31 emissions.
  • In 2019, the group partnered with StreetWise for the UK’s most technically advanced commuter research trials of self-driving vehicles
  • In 2018, Direct Line Group rolled out 130 mental health first-aiders across its businesses.
  • In 2016, the group signed up to the Women in Finance Charter.

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