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How did the insurance industry get its start?

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A brief history of insurance

Sanborn Map3000 BC
Modern insurance as we know it today has evolved from its beginnings in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. It began as a method of transferring or distributing risk, and it was practiced by Chinese and Babylonians, where cargo was carried over several ships, for instance, to reduce the risk of loss.

600 BC
The origins of health and life insurance appear as early as c. 600 BC, where guilds or benevolent societies cared for families of deceased members.

1680 AD
Lloyd’s of London actually began as a coffeehouse owned by Mr. Edward Lloyd in the 1680s where ship owners and captains and merchants gathered to learn the latest shipping news and to buy or sell insurance on their cargoes.

1666
Fire insurance came about as a result of the Great Fire of London in 1666 in which over 13,000 houses were destroyed.

1752
Benjamin Franklin founded the first company in America for fire insurance in Philadelphia in 1752.

1760
A group of Presbyterian churches founded the first life insurance in the late 1760s as the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers, joined by a similar plan for Episcopalian priests in 1769.

1852
Prior to the Civil War, the lives of slaves were insured for their owners.

1970
It wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s that automobile drivers began to be required to carry insurance against damages. Employer-provided health insurance came about during World War II as a result of wage controls, but the benefit was considered taxable income until 1954.

1894
Following the disastrous Thanksgiving Day Fire of  1888, the insurance agency now known as George Mangan Insurance, opened for business in 1894.


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