Gross written premiums less treaty: £2.1bn

Includes gross written premiums less treaty for:
Direct Line Insurance: £1.46bn
UK Insurance: £636m

Address: Direct Line House, Edridge Road, Croydon , Surrey CR9 1AG

Tel: 020 8686 3313
Fax: 020 8681 0512

Year established:1984

History: Direct Line began in 1984 when four businessmen, led by the company's former chief executive Peter Wood, used their experiences in the insurance and IT industries to

take a fresh look at private motor insurance.

Following a search for companies to back their proposals, an agreement was reached with The Royal Bank of Scotland who provided initial funding of £20m for Peter Wood's plans and

on 2 April 1985, Direct Line opened its telephone lines to the British public.

Today, the Direct Line Group remains a wholly owned subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Scotland and now has over 3 million customers.

Chief officer: Annette Court

Biography: Annette Court was appointed chief executive of Direct Line Group in April 2001. The Group includes Green Flag, the Direct Line and Privilege insurance brands, and the international businesses in Spain, Japan (Yasuda Direct) and the recently acquired motor insurance operations of Allstate in Italy and Germany.

Court joined Direct Line in 1994 as central planning manager and subsequently in 1996 was appointed to the role of motor business manager where she took responsibility for the

revenue and profitability of Direct Line's motor insurance business.

In July 1997 she became managing director, motor insurance. In 2000, Direct Line was re-organised into its current divisional structure and she became managing director of Direct Line

Insurance, with responsibility for all direct business, including Direct Line Rescue,

Number of UK branches: 91,500

Main lines of business: Motor, property