Insurance History

In the modern age almost everyone is familiar with the concept of insurance. Some have the time and inclination to learn as much as possible about insurance to make sure they are fully covered, but for others the confusing array of promotions and policies can be alarming and time consuming. In these cases, many will use insurance brokers who are familiar with industry lingo and can get the cover needed arranged at competitive prices.

The concept of insurance in various forms is likely to date back to the very first human beings. In societies without money, there were still ways to secure assistance in case of unfortunate events. When explained, it is easy to see how systems and the etiquette that made this insurance effective are still deeply embedded in people today. Sharing food may well have been an early way of insuring against future hunger.

If someone in your community you know and trust has a no food, and you have a surplus, you may provide them with sustenance. This is a kind act, but it is also performed on the assumption that if in the future the tables have turned, that they would help you in return. The same could have applied to damage to property, if your home was damaged, the community may well have helped to repair it - but if necessary you would have been expected to help others in similar situations. If you did not help others who had helped you, they would understandably feel annoyed and would remember assisting you is not a good investment of time and energy; they may well let the wider community know this is the case, and if you need help again, it may not be so easy to come by.

In modern times, families and friends often assist one another when needed.

It is made clear that favours are still not often performed for free. If you often give a friend a lift to town when their car is unavailable, and on one occasion your car is not on the road, you may well approach this friend for assistance. If they will not help you, you understandably become annoyed and may well refuse to give them a lift in future. It is as though they have broken an unspoken contract. Over many years, different cultures began to develop new methods of insurance for a variety of purposes. In around 600AD the Greeks and Romans had what were called 'benevolent societies', these were guilds that would pay funeral expenses and look after a member's family in the event of their death. Throughout the Middle Ages there were similar guilds in many cultures, and until the 17th century England still had 'Friendly Societies' who provided insurance when necessary to those who contributed by depositing certain amounts of money.

After The Great Fire of London in 1666, Nicholas Barbon introduced building fire insurance for brick and frame houses. It is from this point that insurance, and insurance brokers as we know them today, began to evolve. Next time you are looking at renewing any of your insurance policies direct, or though insurance brokers, it can be made a more interesting process just by thinking that the concept is probably as old as humanity itself.

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