History of Insurance

Insurance is protection of goods or health via charging fees from many people in the event of loss to the individual.

Insurance was practiced by Chinese and Babylonian traders long ago around 2nd BC. Chinese merchants traveling in river rapids would spread their trade items across many boats to limit the loss due to any single boat capsizing. One thousand years later, the people of Greek cities created the idea of the general average. Businesses whose items were being shipped together would pay a evenly and fairly divided premium which would be used to repay any businessman whose things were lost during a storm or if the ship sank.

The Greeks and Romans introduced the origins of health and life insurance c. 600 AD when they organized guilds called benevolent societies, which cared for the families and paid funeral expenses of members upon death. Ancient Jewish records describe elements to consider about the of insuring items. Before insurance was began in late 17th century, friendly societies, existed in England, in which people gave certain amounts of money to a general fund that could be used for emergencies.

Insurance contracts were invented in Italy in the 14th century, as were insurance pools backed by guarantees of estates. These new insurance contracts allowed insurance to be separated from investment, a separation of roles that first proved useful in marine insurance. Insurance became far more sophisticated in post-Renaissance Europe and specialized varieties developed. Some forms of insurance had developed in London by the early decades of the seventeenth century.

Toward the end of the seventeenth century, London's growing importance as a center for trade increased demand for marine insurance. In the late 1680s,Edward Lloyd opened a coffee house that became a popular haunt of ship owners, merchants, and ships’ captains, and thereby a reliable source of the latest shipping news. It became the meeting place for parties wishing to insure cargoes and ships, and those willing to underwrite such ventures. Today, Lloyd's of London remains the leading market for marine and other specialist types of insurance, but it works rather differently than the more familiar kinds of insurance.

The types of insurance we know it today are traced back to the Great Fire of London, which in 1666 devoured 13,000 houses. After this calamity, Nicholas Barbon opened a place of business to insure buildings. He established England's first fire insurance company,In 1680, called "The Fire Office," to insure homes.The first insurance company in the U.S. to provide fire insurance was formed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1732. Benjamin Franklin helped to popularize and make standard the practice of insurance, particularly against fire in the form of perpetual insurance In 1752, he founded the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire. Franklin's company was the first to make contributions toward fire prevention. Not only did his company warn against certain fire hazards, it refused to insure certain buildings where the risk of fire was too great, such as all wooden houses.Source Wiki