History of Life Insurance

I don’t want to invade glenn’s thread, but here is something I came across the other day:

The story I found most interesting can be found on page 119 [page 6 of the PDF]… it is of Richard Martin, who bought a 12-month policy on William Gybbons. Gybbons died 345 days after the purchase of the policy… but the claim was disputed, because, you see, months are 28 days [so the policy expired after 336 days]

The underwriters lost in the Courts of Admiralty.

Lol, those funny brits.
They still teach this case in an introductory actuarial course at university of Waterloo (mthel 131 for those that remember). That and a some quasi gambling related cases from centuries ago.

If you want to read British actuarial journals from the 1800’s, they’re online at jstor.org/subject/finance. I didn’t read any of them myself (narrator: yes he did)

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April 1871

I can’t tell if this is intended as an ad or an article…

Came across this ad for an agency:

I notice they only list the assets... not the liabilities (or surplus....)
(also, the newspaper got cut/folded on scan, so we don


January 1876

They were big on advertising assets back in the those days. Probably some sort of assurance of stability. Still see it in some forms today, just not using assets. Today they’ll use company age, mutual ‘ownership’ and dividends as partipating in the company.

I have some pubs by MONY (and I bought them from you, iirc) from pre-Civil War, and there was plenty in there about assets, etc.

I get a little surprised to see the ads next to the ads for the dry goods store and for liver tonic, etc.

Yeah I decided to clean house on that stuff years ago. It didn’t stick. I’m still collecting.

I should charge it out as a business expense, the bookcase full of old books is a great zoom background. Makes me look smrt.