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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

History of Insurance

Insurance has been an institution of human society for thousands of years, having been practiced by Babylonian traders as long ago as the 2nd millennium BCE. Eventually it was given legal mention in the Code of Hammurabi, and practiced by early Mediterranean sailing merchants. The Greeks and Romans had "benevolent societies" which acted to care for the families and funeral expenses of members upon death. Guilds in the middle ages served a similar purpose. The Talmud deals with several aspects of insuring goods. Insurance became much more sophisticated in post-Renaissance Europe, and specialized varieties developed. In America, Benjamin Franklin helped to popularize and make standard the practice of insurance, particularly against fire.

In the United States, the insurance industry is highly regulated, primarily by the states, who operate both individually and in concert through a national insurance commissioner's organization.


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