Think progress

Direct Line opened its private motor book in the Spring of 1985 with an unknown name and a workforce no larger than a medium-sized brokerage. Its planned route to market seemed doubtful; it would forego any branch network or sales force, and operate with the marketing aid of a red phone on wheels and a row of desk-bound telephones. However, within weeks, the company had provided 9,000 quotations. The simplicity of the idea and its convenience clicked with the public, but for both the UK's fi