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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
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
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