History of term life insurance

I’m thinking about doing some documentation around the history of term life insurance. Anyone know anything about where this stuff started? Where I can go to find historical information that’s not pablum? Books on the subject?

The earliest known life insurance policy was made in Royal Exchange, London on 18 June 1583. A Richard Martin insured a William Gybbons, paying thirteen merchants 30 pounds for 400 if the insured dies within one year.[6][7]

Yeah, wiki is a good place to start.

I read part of this book recently:

I’m most interested in the history of P&C (particularly property) insurance, although seems tough to find books on that. That said the book above was interesting, back 100 years ago life insurance was apparently a bit of a taboo notion in the US, even when it was more accepted in other countries.

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Wiki is pretty nonauthoritative for stuff like this.
What I’ve got so far is that james Dobson did a paper in the 1700s that describes term insurance, seems to be the first time it was done. I’ll have a read of that to start.

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include if you can the first documented shout of “buy term and invest the difference!”


Oh really good point! Thanks!

I thought it was “… and invest the rest.”
That’s what I read growing up in an insurance household.

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I have the content ready for this, and yeah, it includes buy term invest the difference. It’s from a Canadian perspective (US might be a bit different). I think Canadians here will be surprised at the various flashpoints that brought us to today - it wasn’t just a continuous organic transition from no term to lots of term.
Gotta make a few more copies of the video to cut the length down a bit, then my internet marketing person needs to render it and make it pretty. Then I’ll post it here.

Watched the first cut of the video last night! I’m super happy about how it came out (I think it’s actually interesting material). Just gotta make a few minor tweaks, final cut should be ready by tomorrow.

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And we’re live! Like and subscribe for more fun facts on life insurance!

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I enjoyed the results of that video enough that I’m going to do one on whole life as well. That’ll take a lot more research since I’m going to have to read policies from the past(though I do have some on my bookshelf). Thankfully looks like a lot of companies have archives online.