A Brief History Of Insurance


When do you think insurance came about? Was it 100 years ago? Was it 200 years ago? Can we date back insurance all the way to Benjamin Franklin? Are we able to date it back even further to the ancient empires? Insurance has been in some form in our society for hundreds of years, but how long and what was the original conception of insurance services?


The Beginning Of Insurance

If you can believe it, insurance can be dated back all the way to the ancient world. It can be traced to the earliest human societies because even though the economy isn’t like it is today, there were still ways to sustain it with bartering and trade. In ancient times, there were two types of economies. It was the natural economy and the non-monetary one. Bartering and trade in those times were the ways people obtained what they wanted. In a side note, monetary economy includes markets, financial instruments, and currency. Insurance in those days were agreements of mutual aid. For example, if there’s a house that belongs to a family and it’s been destroyed, then the neighbors will help to rebuild it because they are committed to helping their neighbors. It wasn’t until the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE where the first mentions of a monetary economy were touched upon in China and Babylonia by the traders there. This was mentioned because Chinese merchants had to travel far and wide to trade with others. Due to their travels, they needed to protect their goods as well as their means of transportation.

The Development Of Insurance Services

As monetary economies began to become more popular, so did forms of insurance. There were maritime loans for the advancement of money for voyages by the ancient Greeks. Additionally, there were other forms of insurance that began to be developed for families with deceased members as well as insuring goods. Lastly, in the Medieval eras, there were insurance contracts that were invented as well as insurance pools to back landed estates that have been pledged. During this time, marine insurance also began to take place in the insurance contracts to separate the investments.

Modern Insurance

As the Enlightenment period hit Europe, insurance became more sophisticated and much more like the form that we know today. Many forms of insurance were developed in London, which in turn were instituted in America as people migrated to the colonies. Insurance services such as property insurance came to light when there was the Great Fire Of London in 1666 as well as business insurance when schemes of underwriting for business ventures began to take place. Life insurance and accident insurance were also pretty popular in the early 18th century because people were looking out for the future of their families.

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