Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Insurance Thru the Ages

Most people think of insurance as a fairly recent invention. The truth is, however, that insurance has actually been around for quite some time and has a long and rich history. Sure, the insurance of days past might not look quite like the insurance of today, but it has existed, in various forms, throughout the ages.

Ancient Insurance

Believe it or not, there is an account of what is considered the world’s “first written insurance policy.” It’s known, by history buffs, as part of the Hammurabi Code, a set of ancient laws. The
insurance law of the time basically specified that if a person was struck by a disaster, such as a flood, a loss of property, or serious illness, he was exempt from paying back his debts. Wouldn't it be nice if things still worked that way?


Underwriting has been around for a while too. It’s believed to have gotten its start in London in the late 1600s. Back then, the shipping industry was just beginning, and people involved in the industry needed a gathering place to get their footing, make connections, and find specialty insurance to protect them in their new ventures. London cafes, in particular one owned by Edward Lloyd, became “hot spots” for securing insurance policies and doing other related business, all while sipping coffee.

A Protective Guild

Another popular type of ancient insurance is known as “guild coverage.” This type of coverage was popular during the dark and middle ages when most tradesmen belonged to guilds. Guilds were essentially like modern day workers’ unions and also provided apprentices and training for those apprentices all in an effort to keep trades going strong and business booming. The guilds also offered a “safety net” of sorts by collecting money known as coffers. Those coffers would then be distributed to guild members who found themselves in trouble. So, if an office caught fire or a tradesman was injured, the guild would typically take care of most if not all of the related expenses and losses. 

As you can see, insurance is nothing new. It’s a little more regimented and legalized these days, but it’s just as important now as it was in the past. So, make sure you have all of the different types of coverage you need in adequate amounts!

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