The first insurance company to do their business solely through call centres when they launched in 1985, Direct Line are one of the few companies who can genuinely claim to have changed the way in which the industry functions.
Aimed at cutting costs – and passing on those savings to customers – the Direct Line originally only provided policies for cars, but now offer a full range of products including homes, travel and pet cover.
Owned by the wider Direct Line Group (which is also responsible for competitors Churchill and Privilege, as well as roadside recovery business Green Flag), the company are still based out of head offices in Leeds – though their contact centres are based all around the UK.
One main way in which they differ from the majority of their rivals is that they do not feature on price comparison websites such as CompareTheMarket.com, and Direct Line even go as far as to advertise this point. The company argue that the commission paid to these sites would add extra costs to the business, which would bump up insurance prices for customers.
Since their foundation, Direct Line have been marketed using the distinctive red phone on wheels – though in recent years this mascot has been joined by a computer mouse, to illustrate the amount of business that all insurance companies are now doing online.