Direct Line to cut 900 jobs to save costs

Direct Line boss Darrell Evans: "We will support our staff through this difficult time"

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Insurance company Direct Line Group, which is being demerged by parent company RBS, has said it will shed 900 jobs in a bid to save costs.

Direct Line has launched a series of initiatives to target £100m of gross annual cost savings by the end of 2014.

That includes the closure of a site in Stockton-on-Tees, which will affect about 500 jobs.

The company is expected to be floated by the bank in an initial public offering (IPO) later this year.

Direct Line, which owns the Churchill and Green Flag brands, employs about 15,000 staff in total.

State-owned RBS has been ordered by European regulators to sell the business as a condition of securing its bailout from the UK government.

Direct Line has reported a 7% rise in operating profits for the six months to the end of June.

Pre-tax profits, however, fell from £187.5m to £106.5m, which the company said reflected restructuring and other one-off costs relating to the separation from RBS Group.

In its six-month interim report, the insurance firm said it had been operating on a "substantially standalone basis" from RBS since 1 July, with independent functions and governance.

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