history of insurance | ABCO | NJ

Insurance: An Ancient Practice and a Modern Necessity

From the ancient days of grain storage to the modern insurance agency, people have always tried to prepare for the worst ahead of time. Insurance is a modern necessity, but it has its origins in the early days of humanity. Here is a quick history of insurance and the way people have used it throughout history.

In the Beginning

Insurance can technically trace its roots to early human history and the introduction of grain stores. People would collectively store their grain for use in times of famine. There was also often a form of insurance in communities. If a family’s home burnt down, the community would help them rebuild it. Later, some Greeks and Romans organized funds to help the families of people who died and to pay for funeral expenses – essentially, the first life insurance.

The Official Start

Insurance as we know it became popular the seventeenth century onward. The oldest fire insurance organization, Hamburger Feurekasse, began in 1676, but property insurance as we know it began with the Great Fire of London, which destroyed massive portions of London, devastating the city. Business insurance and life insurance would also find their beginnings in some way in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In America

In America, property insurance was popularized by none other than Benjamin Franklin. Franklin standardized the use of insurance, particularly in regard to property damage from fire. Franklin helped modernize Philadelphia’s fire-fighting abilities. He started one of America’s first volunteer fire companies. Franklin often wrote about fire prevention to help modernize the fire-fighting abilities of his adopted Pennsylvania home, which was far behind his original home, Boston. This passion for fire-fighting led to Franklin’s formation of an insurance company which contributed to fire prevention, even refusing to insure buildings that were at exceptionally high risk of fire.


Today, insurance is a massive industry, but the principles are the same as they were at the beginning. Insurance helps us prepare for the worst but hope for the best. If you haven’t invested in a great insurance plan, ABCO Insurance Agency, Inc. is here to help. We can help you find the right plan for the right price. Contact us today!

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