An Introduction to Life Insurance

Life Insurance – a mini-series, by John Copsey

Over the next five weeks, I will be delivering different articles on the various types of life insurance products, such as Term Insurance, Convertible Term Insurance, Whole of Life Insurance, and other protection products that are available for clients to protect their loved ones and their liabilities, through both death and serious illness.

The history of life insurance

I thought a good place to start would be to look at the brief history of the life insurance market.

The United Kingdom is regarded by many as being the birthplace of ‘modern insurance’ with the advent of privately owned and technically advanced companies establishing a dominance in a global market for most of the 19th century.

The first insurance companies were established in the United Kingdom during the 1700s, and covered not only life, but also fire and accident claims. The industrial revolution saw Britain’s role dominant in the international market however, it is thought that the Romans operated an early type of life insurance, by paying into a burial club to cover the cost of funerals!

In the UK, it is thought that the earliest life insurance policy was written in London in 1583, insuring the life of a Mr William Gybbons, who was a ‘salter of meat and fish’, and the beneficiary under his policy was a man called Richard Martin.

Unfortunately Mr Gybbons died near to the end of the policy year, and the underwriters refused to pay out on the grounds that the contract was for a “lunar year” and not a “calendar year”. However Mr Martin took the underwriter to court, and the court ruled in his favour!

Today there are more than 350 authorised life insurance companies in the UK, with some 5 million Whole of Life insurance policies and 500,000 Term Assurance policies in place. *

The insurance sector now employs approximately 325,000 people, and it’s pleasing to be able to report that the insurance industry now pays out 98% of all protection claims. *

Stay tuned, as our next article will look at ‘Term Assurance’, and the benefits of having these policies in place.

By John Copsey, Chartered Financial Planner.

If you are interested in implementing a life insurance policy, please email us at [email protected], or call us on 01482 219325.

Source: A Hurried History of Life Insurance

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