Have you noticed the large number of prime time adverts on UK television this week for Direct Line?
You know the banal ones featuring Alexander Armstrong of Pointless and Pimms O’clock fame ranting on about ‘you won’t find us one car insurance comparison sites’ and ‘twelve months cover for the price of ten’
No? Well you should take notice of them as you the British taxpayer have an 82% share in their success, for now.
Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance, a subsidiary of RBS the toxic bank bailed out by the UK Government in 2008 and the major reason the Bank of England has had to create over £200 billion of debt, is looking like it is the first of many parts of the operation that will be sold or hived off.
RBSI this week renamed itself as Direct Line Insurance Group and changed its company status to a plc from a private limited company. This move suggests that it aims to openly float on the Stock Exchange although it could be priming itself for a private sale to one of the large multi-nationals.
A question mark hangs over the over famous brands bought by RBSI including ageing dog Churchill and ‘Joanna Lumley’s’ Privilege. Perhaps these could be sold off separately or with their own book of business. RBSI also own the commercial insurance broker only channel NIG, which is the antithesis of Direct line in it’s structural model.
The UK Government has stated that all of RBS Insurance interests must be disposed of by 2014.
Just in time for Scottish Independence!