Police Insure Blog

What did the Romans ever do for us?



Well, quite a lot actually - including introducing the world's first ever life insurance cover in the year 600 BC. The policies were administered by 'Benevolent Societies' managed by the governing 'Senate' and provided financial support for the families of the deceased. The funds paid out on the death of an insured person and were intended to cover funeral costs and to provide some financial security for surviving family members.


You may be surprised to learn that insurance can trace its history back 600 years before the birth of Christ, but it actually dates back even further than that. The Romans were by no means the first civilisation to devise a system to manage risks and protect valuable assets. Long before Caesar's legions had established the far flung borders of the Roman Empire, traders were insuring their goods before setting off on the long and often hazardous journeys to distant lands.


The earliest record of a system which we would recognise as insurance appears around 3,000 BC when Chinese and Babylonion traders took steps to safeguard ships' cargoes. The traders would pay a third party to transport the goods, on the understanding that the trader would be reimbursed should the goods be lost in transit. The transporter would often split the cargo into multiple, smaller loads to reduce the risk of total loss.


A thousand years later in 2,000 BC the ancient Persians developed the insurance idea to cover things other than commercial goods. Each 'Nowruz' (New Year's Eve) wealthy noblemen paid a bounty of 10,000 Derrik to the king to insure valuable family assets against catastrophe.


In 1,000 BC traders from the Greek island of Rhodes developed a system called the 'General Average' whereby each would pay a bounty to a central fund kept secure by an independent third party. Any trader losing a shipment would be reimbursed from this fund.


By the time of Christ's birth, insurance was a well established concept across the trading world, remaining largely unchanged until the 12th century AD. An agreement between traders and the rulers of Anatolia, in what is now Turkey, resulted in the world's first state sponsored insurance policies, where claimants were reimbursed from the national treasury.


Post renaissance Europe saw the emergence of an 'insurance industry' in response to the increased complexities of international trade. In the 1680's Mr Edward Lloyd opened his now famous coffee house in London and it soon became popular with ship owners, traders, merchants and captains. They were soon joined by a new breed of businessman - the underwriter - and insurance deals were agreed and signed over steaming cups of Brazilian coffee.


The 1680's also saw the establishment of the first fire insurance company, set up by Mr Nicholas Barbon. This venture was a direct consequence of the Great Fire of London in 1666 when over 13,000 homes were destroyed without compensation.


The 19th century saw the birth of accident insurance and the beginnings of regulation of the rapidly growing insurance business. It was in the 1800's that criminals first took an interest in the insurance industry and the opportunities it presented for embezzlement. Customers began to lie about values and events in order to make dishonest claims and insurance inspired murders began to make the news headlines. It was against this backdrop that insurance investigators appeared on the scene and a new job description entered the English language - The Loss Adjuster. People also began to question the morality of an industry which was prepared to insure slaves as if they were mere chattels. As recently as 1840, Nautilus Insurance of London sold almost 500 slave insurance policies to traders and slave owners. In fact, the practice of offering slave insurance policies continued right up to the end of the American Civil War in 1865.


The early 20th century saw a further development in the industry, with entire nations taking out insurance policies as a means of guaranteeing financial security. The 1900's also saw the introduction of legislation making insurance compulsory in many areas of activity.


And so, to the present day.


5,000 years have elapsed since mankind first came up with the idea of insuring valuable assets.

We live in an increasingly complicated world where our individual insurance needs are equally complicated.


21st century customers




21st century insurance products


Provided by a


21st century organisation.


That organisation is Police Insure. As a member of the police family you can take advantage of the best deals available - typically up to 40% cheaper than the competition.


We offer bespoke policies tailored to our clients' specific needs.

We are a customer focussed company offering professional services and appropriate products at the right price.

We will be there for you when you need us most.


Contact us now on 0161 762 4416 or visit the website at www.policeinsure.co.uk for a free quote


You'll be amazed at how much YOU can save!


David Griffin





Written by David Griffin at 00:00



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