The Disaster that Made Reinsurance

           Favorable laws and institutions along with innovative practices helped put Britain at the forefront of the world insurance business for centuries. However, when it came to reinsurance, the British were sitting on the sidelines while the industry was thriving in Germany. As with many other historic changes in insurance, the birth of reinsurance resulted from

The Convoy that Sank London’s Insurers

           Over three centuries ago, Britain had just overtaken Italy to be the center of the world’s insurance trade and it nearly came crashing down. At the time, marine insurance was the largest insurance sector; it was virtually synonymous with insurance itself. The dominance of London’s insurers almost led to ruin as many new underwriters complacently

The Amicable Society

           Life insurance and annuities have been around for centuries; in fact, basic burial insurance existed even in classical Rome. However, for the majority of this history, insurance contracts only existed as informal arrangements. Even in early modern Europe, though the lingo of modern insurance existed (there were underwriters at work, premiums paid, and indemnities claimed,

The 280-Year-Old Pension

           For over a century, life annuities were sold as a means of financing government deficits. In the 18th century, the French state would sell these annuities to fund its wars in Europe and abroad, often at very generous implied interest rates. Though they experimented most with life annuities, in contrast to Britain’s perpetual consolidated annuities

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