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Interesting fun facts - when did insurance start?

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When did insurance start?

Definition of insurance

–noun

  1. the act, system, or business of insuring property, life, one's person, etc., against loss or harm arising in specified contingencies, as fire, accident, death, disablement, or the like, in consideration of a payment proportionate to the risk involved.
  2. coverage by contract in which one party agrees to indemnify or reimburse another for loss that occurs under the terms of the contract.
  3. the contract itself, set forth in a written or printed agreement or policy.



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Understanding insurance

Before going into the history of insurance, we need to understand what insurance is, and the purpose of insurance and how insurance works.

Insurance is a means of protecting a person or business against financial loss, where financial compensation can be made for any form of loss. Assets, such as boats, airplanes, buildings, houses, cars and furniture, are easy to evaluate in financial terms since humans trade these assets using financial means.

Insurers, these are companies that provide this service, also protect individuals against loss of income, loss of a limb and loss of life. These types of insurance are there to protect an individual, or their close family, against the hardships associated with their loss.

Medical insurance is called a "medical aid" in South Africa, whereby compensation is paid out for individuals who require medical treatment or hospitalization.

Our partial list of insurance includes:

  1. life insurance
  2. Fire
  3. Health
  4. Accident
  5. Car, bike and SCV (automobile or automotive)
  6. Liability
  7. Theft (burglary)
  8. Crop
  9. Rain
  10. Flood
  11. Earthquake insurance

No matter what insurance we consider, they all work on the same principle: a group of individuals and companies pay regular sums of money towards a fund that is used to compensate the individuals that have the misfortune of losing their assets.

Today, organizations take on the responsibility of receiving these funds, and compensating the individuals who suffer these financial losses.

There are several cheap insurance companies in South Africa, and some very well known and reliable insurance companies. A list of insurance companies may be found in our directory.



History of insurance

Since one of the earliest business activities that involved a great deal of risk was shipping, the first type of insurance was in all likelihood marine insurance.

Claudius, Roman Emporor  
Claudius -Roman emperor

There are records of ancient law that indicate the existence of marine insurance as early as 300 B.C. in Rome. Some historians believe that Claudius, the Roman emperor, originated the insurance of ships in A.D. 43.

In the twelfth century the Lombard merchants of Italy introduced marine insurance to German merchants, and by the thirteenth century, this form of insurance was widely used in Europe.

In 1583 in London, a group of men insured the life of William Gibbons, a sea captain, who was the first known man to be insured.

Lloyds of London
Lloyd's of London

Lloyd’s of London, the most famous insurance association in the world, was begun in 1689 in a coffee house kept by Edward Lloyd in Tower Street, when patrons interested in shipping clubbed together under a "mutual plan".

In 1734 Lloyd’s men began issuing Lloyd’s List, which gives information about ships and crews.

It is issued today by the shipping industry all over the world.

The first life insurance company in the world was the Amicable Society for a Perpetual Assurance, founded in London in 1705.

The first life insurance company in the United States was the Presbyterian Ministers’ Fund of Philadelphia, founded in 1759.

The first fire insurance company in the country was the Friendly Society for the Mutual Insurance of Houses against Fire, founded in 1735 in Charleston, South Carolina.

 

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