A Brief History of Insurance

While there were primitive methods of insuring goods centuries before, it was in 1752 that Benjamin Franklin helped to establish the practice of insurance, especially property insurance. (An earlier company formed in Charleston, South Carolina, went bankrupt in 1740 by a fire that destroyed over 300 buildings.) In those days fires were easily spread due to so many wood buildings. The risk of losing everything was great. Franklin founded the Philadelphia Contributionship for home insurance due to loss by fire. This is the nation’s oldest insurance company still active today. At the time, the population of Philadelphia was approximately 15,000 with less than 10 strictly volunteer fire departments. Benjamin Franklin stated at the time that the mutual principle of this first insurance company was “whereby every man might help another without any disservice to himself.”

 An ad was placed in the Pennsylvania Gazette for subscribers to come to a meeting during which directors were chosen to administer the insurance fund. Policies covered 7 years after a policyholder paid a deposit. Some of the deposit paid for administrative costs and whatever was left was returned to the policy owner after 7 years.

The insurance industry has grown exponentially in the last century. The companies of old were restricted to selling just one kind of insurance; however, in the 1950s multi-line policies began to be permitted. In California today, you can find a number of residential and commercial insurance policies from the Eugene C. Yates Insurance Agency. His staff offers personal and business insurance quotes for Lodi, CA, and all of the surrounding areas. Visit EugeneCYates.com for more information on the many services the company provides.