Direct Line weathers the storm to up profits

Profits at Direct Line Insurance Group jumped last year as rising motor premiums outweighed weather-related claims that more than doubled amid the storms that hit parts of the UK in December.

Direct Line is the UK's biggest motor insurer. Picture: PA
Direct Line is the UK's biggest motor insurer. Picture: PA

Britain’s biggest motor insurer – which also owns Churchill and Green Flag – said pre-tax profits rose 11 per cent to £507.5 million in 2015 as the cost of car cover continues to rise.

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Direct Line said motor ­premiums rose 4.8 per cent to £1.4 billion, while gross premiums lifted 1.7 per cent to 
£3.2 billion.

Group chief executive Paul Geddes said: “Growth in own brands policies has contributed to overall premium growth and, alongside lower costs, has again allowed us to deliver an improved financial performance for the year.”

Direct Line said storms Eva, Desmond and Frank, which ranged from central Scotland to Lancashire, cost it £139m, with its staff processing, almost 5,000 related claims.