Direct Line was founded in 1985 by Peter Wood and Martin Long and became synonymous with the television ads that touted Direct Line’s red telephone. This was the unique selling point for the company; the telephone was the main channel used for communication and distribution. It was launched to cut out the middleman and another step in the United Kingdom’s insurance industry’s disintermediation.In the early years while expanding into home insurance, the business was acquired by the bank Royal Bank of Scotland. This partnership then came to a head in 2009 when RBS was forced to agree to a divestment in order to satisfy terms of a bailout. That divestment was completed in February 2014.