How Did the Insurance Industry Get Started, Anyway?

by OnlineInsurance Staff on November 3, 2010

These days, the insurance industry is as high tech and cutting edge as any other industry. Online insurance quotes are just a couple clicks of the mouse away, and you can conduct all of your business without ever coming ace to face with an insurance agent, much less the other people who are insured by the same company.

But the insurance business wasn’t always that way. Insurance has its roots in China, dating way back to the 2nd millennium BC. Chinese merchants often had to transport their goods over dangerous river ways. To ensure that no one lost all of his goods, several merchants would band together and share cargoes, so that each merchant had some cargo on each boat. That way, even if a merchant lost his boat, he would only lose a small percentage of his wares (and everyone else’s).

The Ancient Babylonians were the first ones known to have official written insurance agreements. Ship captains would pay money for a form of pirate insurance, which guaranteed that their shipments would be paid for if they were stolen. Apparently, the Pirates of the Caribbean had nothing on the Pirates of the Mediterranean.

These early agreements laid the philosophical foundation of shared risk which eventually evolved into the insurance industry we have today. Then, as now, the basic concepts of insurance were:

  • Everyone paid a modest fee to protect themselves against loss.
  • If a protected person or company suffered loss, they would recoup their losses from the insurer.

Insurance in a more modern form was born in Genoa, Italy in the 1300s. The insurance still mainly involved insuring merchants and their vessels and cargo, but the dealings were more formalized and written down in contract form.

The Great Fire of London is likely what started the idea of homeowner’s insurance. Following the fire in 1666, companies in London started offering insurance for homes against fire.

As for insurance in the United States, it was none other than the eminent Benjamin Franklin who introduced the concept, forming a mutual benefit society which protected its members against loss by fire. While you couldn’t get online insurance quotes from his Philadelphia Contributorship, you could obtain policies through Mr. Franklin or one of the other society’s members.

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Why You Don’t Need Life Insurance

by OnlineInsurance Staff on October 26, 2010

The conventional wisdom says that you need to have life insurance in order to make sure that your loved ones are protected in case something happens to you. The fact of the matter is that the life insurance companies want you to believe this. While it’s true for many folks that having some life insurance can bring the peace of mind that your family will be taken care of if you die, before you go out looking for online insurance quotes you might take a couple of extra minutes to reflect on your individual situation.

There are some specific reasons why you may not actually need life insurance:

  • You don’t have any family or friends. If you’re alone in the world, chances are pretty good that no one you care about is going to financially be impacted by your death. However, if you have even one relative or friend that cares about you, life insurance is probably a good idea.
  • You hate your family and friends. Having them doesn’t mean loving them, does it? If you want to really show them some spite, try dying in such a way that you create additional financial debt for them. We suggest pancreatic cancer, if you can handle the pain.
  • Your agent wants you to buy whole life. OK, we get that whole life policies let you make investments all while buying peace of mind. Most experts agree (at least, those that aren’t insurance agents) that you are better off keeping your investments and your insurance separate.
  • You’re filthy stinking rich already. If you’ve got $50 million in the bank, you probably don’t need to worry about a life insurance policy. Just make sure to design your estate in such a way that the government doesn’t get to keep most of it when you do pass away.
  • You’re immortal. Ancient Greek gods and Dick Clark probably don’t need to worry about dying anytime soon. The rest of you should at least get some online insurance quotes and make an informed decision about how to provide for your loved ones once you’re gone.

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Crop Insurance Online

October 20, 2010

Here in the rural areas of the country, most of us are familiar with a kind of insurance most city dwellers have only heard about: crop insurance. Crop insurance, for those who aren’t involved directly with agriculture, is a type of insurance designed to ensure that ranchers, farmers, greenhouse owners, and other agricultural workers are [...]

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Buying Insurance Online

October 13, 2010

Many people ask the question, “What insurance company should I use?” We had a friend who always had a quick answer for that one. He would tell people to use the same company he used. Of course, he was an insurance agent, so he had a bit of a vested interest. These days, when you [...]

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Do I Really Need All Those Kinds of Insurance?

October 6, 2010

The Internet has made many aspects of our lives much easier and more efficient, including purchasing insurance. These days, it’s nothing for the average person to get online insurance quotes for all of their insurance needs. And, for the most part, this is a good thing. There is one area in which getting online insurance [...]

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Top Ten Weird Insurance Policies

September 21, 2010

Do your eyes glaze over at the mere mention of the word insurance? Shopping online insurance quotes for home, life, and auto can be mind-numbing and tedious, but take a look at these bizarre insurance policies for a laugh. They may have you thinking differently about the tediousness of insurance. A $100,000 love insurance policy [...]

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A Buyer’s Guide to Motorcycle Insurance

September 17, 2010

So you’ve finally found your dream motorcycle. You’ve made sure you know how to ride it because you’ve already taken a motorcycle safety course. You’ve got your helmet and leathers, and you’re just dying to get out on the open road. But wait, if you don’t yet have motorcycle coverage, you may need to research [...]

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Do I Need Travel Insurance?

September 14, 2010

Heading out on vacation is one of the most exciting times of the year. You’ve spent a lot of time planning this trip, and you’re so excited that the anticipation is almost palpable. Thinking about all the things that could go wrong is not your top priority, but you could be shorting yourself if you [...]

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Why Buy Renters Insurance?

September 10, 2010

In this life, nothing is certain, and nothing lasts forever. That’s why we take precautions like buying car insurance and saving for the future. Many people who rent, however, underestimate the risk of losing everything, and don’t protect themselves with renters insurance. When you add it all up though, your belongings are worth so much [...]

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50 Articles on How Your Driving Record Impacts Your Insurance Quotes

September 5, 2010
Thumbnail image for 50 Articles on How Your Driving Record Impacts Your Insurance Quotes

In most states it is now mandatory to have a small amount of car insurance. How you drive affects what your car insurance will cost. If you have a bad record or even a few blemishes, that could affect what your insurance quotes could come back as. Learning how the record affects your quotes is [...]

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