PETER Wood, the founder of Esure, has been here before. Back in 1985 he revolutionised the insurance business by founding Direct Line, cutting out the middle man by selling entirely through call centres. Within a decade it was the market leader and Wood was already a rich man when he left in 1997.
Unable to keep away from the market, he went into partnership with the former Halifax bank and founded Esure in 2000. After 13 years of growth he has decided to cash in again.
In a twist of fate it was Direct Line’s successful float at the end of last year that breathed life into the London IPO market and laid the groundwork for Esure’s listing.
Wood, 65, takes a direct interest in his company’s marketing strategy, and can either be blamed or congratulated for TV adverts featuring the late Michael Winner and the lurid pink Sheilas’ Wheels team.
But his smartest decision was joining with a private equity firm to offer cash-strapped Lloyds Banking Group £200m for its 70 per cent Esure stake in 2010. That could now be worth £700m.