Direct Line, A History

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The United Kingdom played a great role in developing insurance as it is today. The Great Fire of London in 1666 created an immediate need for an organized way to compensate the thousands of UK homeowners whose homes were destroyed by this devastating fire. At the time, the Insurance Office plan was born, initiated by Sir Christopher Wren in 1667. In 1681, Nicholas Barbon and associates began the Insurance Office for Houses. This move basically established the history of insurance as we know it in the United Kingdom.

Today, the strength of any insurance company, as well as the stability should be a primary consideration when purchasing any type of insurance in the UK. Although the UK has a rich history of insurance providers, some have proved more viability than others. Many not so viable companies have dissolved, leaving homeowners without cover. Therefore, it pays for UK homeowners to go with an insurance company they can can trust.

As an example, Direct Line has been in business for over twenty years. It was set up by Mr. Peter Wood as a small partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland. The success of the business was overwhelming. When it opened in 1985, it was the first insurer in the UK to utilize telecommunications via the telephone as a way to accommodate customers. In other words, customers could carry out their insurance needs over the telephone. This personal touch to the world of insurance was a monumental event in the UK, as it eliminated the middleman and sped up the process of insuring customers.

With a staff of 63, as noted, the company opened its door in April, 1985 with one centre in Croydon. There are now centres in Bristol, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. After only three months in business, the company offered as many as 9,000 insurance quotes for auto insurance. This was all done using the telephone.

Now, with Internet access, the business continues to flourish. This insurer with its familiar red phone logo offers an assortment of insurance packages and services over 10 million individuals and businesses in the UK and throughout Europe. It is the leader of the direct car insurer provider in the UK, with customer claims made every 30 second or so and a new customer signing on for a policy every 10 seconds. The company literally receives thousands of phone calls a day and inquires via the Internet. Insurance cover includes policies for cars, homes, life, travel, van, landlord and more.

Other firsts that the company has credit for is it is the first direct United Kingdom insurance carrier to offer no claims discounts to named drivers.

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