The UK's biggest direct writer Direct Line continues to show impressive growth after revealing it has gained 400,000 new policyholders in the last year to reach a total of 2.7 million.

The interim results of its parent company, the Royal Bank of Scotland, reveal Direct Line's pre-tax profits jumped a massive 111% to £76m, partly due to the acquisition of the Green Flag roadside rescue business last November. Premium income grew 30% from £347m to £450m.

The number of motor in-force policies increased by 8% in the six months to June 30, 2000, and the number of home policies by 4%.

RBS also generated around £193m in premium income from its intermediary divisions, NatWest Insurance Services and Royal Bank Insurance Services. However, the banking giant does not separate the results for these two operations.

Further premium income is added via its joint ventures Tesco Personal Finance and Virgin Personal Finance. Again detailed information of the profitability of these is not available.

RBS chairman, Viscount Younger of Leckie, said the company has been focusing its efforts on integrating with recently acquired NatWest Bank.

Pre-tax profits, goodwill amortisation and integration costs have risen 23% to £2,011m, an increase of £372m.