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A Brief History of Insurance

July 27, 2017

Since insurance first emerged, as early as Babylonian times, it has gone through a significant evolution process. From a time when there was no such thing as insurance to today, where it would be considered reckless to not have insurance, the concept of modern business and personal insurance looks a lot different today than it once was.

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Despite early signs of insurance, as outlined by the ‘Code of Hammurabi’, The Great Fire of London was the real instigator that led to the development of early versions of modern insurance.

London, like much of the world, was in a state of turmoil after the plague ripped through the UK, killing a large portion of the population. Just as Londoners thought things couldn’t possibly get much worse, the great fire of 1666 left its mark on the city, leaving hundreds of citizens distraught and homeless.

One benefit of this disaster, however, was Nicholas Barbon’s first instance of home insurance, which saw 5,000 homes insured against fire damage. From here, the concept of insurance as a form of financial risk prevention really started to take off. After Barbon and his associates opened the first insurance office in 1681, the concept of underwriting and business interruption was introduced to the world.

Similar to how the unofficial stock exchange of the British Empire had been operated out of coffee houses, the practice of underwriting started to take place in informal settings. These practices were developed to deal with the growing need to ship goods between the New World and the old colonies while decreasing the level of risk faced by merchants. These humble beginnings eventually led to the establishment of Lloyd’s of London, as well as several similar shipping and insurance businesses.

Nowadays, there are insurance policies in place to cover just about every risk out there, especially in the business world. From cyber insurance to management liability and everything in between, the team at Sydney Insurance Brokers can secure your comprehensive business insurance at the best available price.