A History of Insurance in the US

history of insurance

A History of Insurance in the US

We have lived with insurance for such a long time that it almost seems like it has always been around. That has not been the case. Like everything, insurance had its start somewhere. We will be taking a look at the history of insurance in the US.

The first insurance that was established in the US was home insurance. In 18th century Philadelphia there was a legitimate fear of house fires due to the proximity and material of the homes. Benjamin Franklin and his associates created the first insurance company in America, The Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire, in 1752. An inspector would go out to the property and determine if it had the necessary characteristics to be insured; if it was made of brick and not wood, and it did not have trees in the front that would impede the shorter fire hoses of the time. Once it was decided to be insurable, they would decide on a rate and write up a seven-year renewal policy for the home.

Life insurance would follow soon after. Again, Benjamin Franklin aided in establishing the Presbyterian Minister’s Fund, previously known as the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers, in 1759. There was some criticism by the church because they believed it cruel to put a monetary amount on someone’s life. However, they were calmed once they found out it would help widows and orphaned children.

In 1850 medical insurance was established by the Franklin Health Assurance Company of Massachusetts. Their policies only covered injuries that occurred during travel and they did not cover medical care. Instead, they only provided coverage for missed wages while one was recovering. Not necessarily the same as most policies present today.

Traders Insurance Company gave out the first auto insurance policy in 1898 to a doctor named Truman J. Martin. Massachusetts was the first state to require auto insurance before allowing registration. They passed the legislation in 1925 and were the only ones to do so for 30 years afterwards.

We are constantly finding new ways to use insurance but the most important remains the same. Insurance has and always will provide protection and comfort for the hard times in life.

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We hope this information on a history of insurance in the US is helpful.

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About Kayla Gonzalez

Kayla is a graduate of Texas A&M University and joined the Empower Brokerage marketing team in early 2021. She creates content for the company websites and assists with various marketing campaigns. LinkedIn Profile

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