Insurance pioneer Peter Wood is understood to be preparing to buy out his Esure motor insurance business from Lloyds Banking Group.<br /><br />Esure, known for its “Calm down dear” TV ads starring celebrity Michael Winner, is thought to be worth £200m to £250m. Wood has lined up financing from buyout firm Penta Capital and hedge fund Toscafund. Both are chaired by former Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Sir George Mathewson, whom <br />Wood knows from his time at RBS. He pioneered the direct selling of insurance over the telephone in 1985, when he launched RBS’ Direct Line. He went on to found Esure in 2000 as a joint venture with HBOS.<br /><br />Lloyds inherited a 70 per cent stake in Esure when it took control of HBOS. Wood, who chairs the insurance business, owns 24 per cent, with the remaining six per cent owned by management. Lloyds declined to comment.