Istorija osiguranja

Time Machine: Interesting Insurance History

Once upon a time, in the vibrant bazaars of Babylon, you could find a scribe sitting at his wooden desk, carving peculiar symbols into a clay tablet. Was he drawing? No. He was issuing the first known insurance policy in the world. Get ready, folks, because we’re going back to look at the fascinating history of insurance!

Ancient Babylon

Beginnings of general insurance

(1750 BC)

The Code of Hammurabi, the legal code of ancient Mesopotamia, is our first stop. Among various laws on trade, theft and marriage, there is the earliest record of insurance: downpayment contracts, which were related to maritime trade.
Merchants who borrowed money for their voyages could pay a premium to their lender.
In return, the lender promised to cancel the loan if the shipment was lost or stolen at sea.
Interesting, isn’t it? We can think of it as the first “ship insurance”.


Beginnings of health and funeral insurance

(600 BC)

Now, let’s speed up the time machine and jump to ancient Rome, where funeral associations were very popular. For a small fee, these associations provided proper funeral arrangements for their members and even financial support to the family of the deceased. This was essentially the first “life and health insurance


Caravan cargo insurance

(500 BC)

Have you ever wondered how merchants protected their goods during the dangerous journeys along the Silk Road? Here’s the story: Chinese merchants put their goods on several camels to limit the possible loss due to the accident of any individual camel. If one camel got lost in the desert, the loss would be limited only to the load carried by that particular camel.

Middle Ages

Age of guilds

(Late 12th century)

Let’s move on to medieval Europe where merchants and craftsmen joined together to form guilds. Guilds offered a type of group insurance: if a member’s property was stolen or destroyed, the guild would provide them with assistance.


Modern insurance

(17th century)

Afterwards, in 1666, the Great Fire of London occurred, the spark that would launch the modern insurance industry. After this disaster, Nicholas Barbon began selling “fire insurance” to frightened Londoners, offering to rebuild their homes if such a disaster happened again. In 1681, Edward Lloyd’s Tavern turned into a marine insurance center and eventually evolved into the legendary Lloyd’s of London.


The rise of life insurance

(18th century)

Our journey ends in the Land of Opportunity, where life insurance became very popular in the 18th century. The Presbyterian Ministers’ Fund, founded in 1759, is considered the first life insurance corporation in the United States. This is how the insurance industry expanded into the complex giant it is today.

So, dear readers, this was our whirlwind trip through the surprisingly interesting insurance history. It may have started with clay tiles and stubborn camels, but it has blossomed into a multi-trillion-dollar industry that provides security and peace in an unpredictable world. The next time you reluctantly pay your insurance premium, remember those brave Babylonian seafarers and pioneering Romans. You’re not just paying a bill, you’re participating in a centuries-old tradition of risk management, community support and human ingenuity. Isn’t that worth every penny?