The word insurance refers to any contract where a person pays another person or business to insure the safety, but to be more precise, pay for the replacement of any such personal property if said property is lost, destroyed, or damaged in some other way other then the neglect or purposeful destruction of the owner of said property. There is insurance for just about anything, insurance is generally divided into four areas; vehicle, property, health, and life insurance.

Insurance has been around since society began. The earliest form of insurance was the old protection rackets that organized crime families still use even today. Criminals or rulers of a country would ?guarantee? that a business or home would not be damaged or destroyed by criminal activities for a weekly cut of said earnings of the business. This form of blackmail and extortion quickly led to merchants and shopkeepers living in their businesses. So that when the criminals came they would be greeted by sword and spear. These actions, taken by these early businessmen, led to the old saying, ?The greatest protection comes by the sword.?

The first known form of insurance appeared in China as early as 5000 BC. It was a way for traders and merchants to lessen their losses in the event their shipment was stolen or ruined. The first know form of Life Insurance began in ancient Rome. They were called burial clubs and they covered the cost of member?s funeral expense and help the members surviving family out fiscally.

Contemporary life insurance began in the late 17th century England as a replacement for traders insurance. In America the first modern life insurance plans began in the late 1760s. The Presbyterian Church in New York and Philadelphia created the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers in 1759. This was fashioned under the Christian doctrine that it is the responsibility of the Church to help the poor, needy, and widowed. Later the Episcopalian priests created a comparable fund in 1769. From 1787 to 1837 over a dozen life insurance companies came into being, but less then half survived that century.

Now in the modern age insurance is now a necessity for a normal life in every nation on Earth. Insurance now covers Life, property, health, and even liability from lawsuits. The insurance commodity is now a multi-billion dollar business. The first known insurance business was started after the Great London Fire in 1666. The fire destroyed 13,200 houses. After this tragedy, Nicholas Barbon opened an office to insure buildings. In 1680, he established England’s first fire insurance company, “The Fire Office,” to insure brick and frame homes.

The first insurance company in the United States was founded in Charleston, South Carolina in 1732. The company insured against fire damage and Benjamin Franklin helped popularize the concept of insurance in the nation at the time. In 1752, Benjamin Franklin founded the Philadelphia Contributorship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire. Franklin’s company was the first to make contributions toward fire prevention. His company also tried to warn against certain fire hazards, but it refused to insure buildings that were at considerable risk of fire, such as wooden houses or warehouses.

About the author

Graham McKenzie is the content syndication coordinator a leading South African Life Insurance and Life Cover portal.