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The History of Life Insurance

Life insurance reflects one of the best parts of human beings; caring for others. One buys life insurance because he or she loves their spouse and children. There are benefits while living but the real reason is to make sure others are financially taken care of.

One of the first records of life insurance was in Rome. There, groups came together called Fratres (burial clubs). These were set up by the poor to pay for the funerals of the members and to help the surviving family members financially.

The middle ages had guilds for the various types of highly skilled labor. There are accounts that show that these guilds helped their members with various types of insurance including life insurance and disability insurance.

Life insurance came into its own in England in the late1600's and became popular from that time on. During this time period Lloyd's of London was growing. Lloyd's whose name came from Lloyd's Coffee House where insurance was transacted by ship owners with the underwriters (backers) who met to put together insurance contracts and other shipping and merchant related business.

Some people think of insurance as gambling. It really isn't gambling even though it has the similarities of probability and odds. Insurance serves a public good of sharing the financial risks of existence and life and death among many to serve those who have experienced a loss.

The first life insurance company in the United States started in 1735. This company was started for the benefit of Presbyterian ministers' families.

Life insurance was originally dominated by the mutual life insurance companies. These are life insurance companies that are owned by the policyholders and thus those policyowners receive their pro-rata share of the company's profits. There are also stock life insurance companies where the profits are made for the benefit of the stockholders.

Similar to the mutual life insurance companies are fraternal life insurance companies which were started by the various fraternal orders to assist their members. Today the insurance business has evolved to a multi-faceted business with various programs and numerous distribution methods. The internet and the insurance industry is in its infancy with most insurance companies having a web site and now with web sites able to do life insurance quotes online such as which also has educational pages where you can learn about the types of life insurance including whole life insurance, term life insurance, return of premium life insurance and survivorship life insurance (also known as joint and survivor life insurance or second to die life insurance).

The web also has disability insurance sites such as which explains disability insurance, the types, the disability insurance companies, the terminology as well as giving a facility for disability insurance quotes.

There are choices today that differ greatly from the choices of even a few years ago. The internet has made information on life insurance accessible just as any subject. But you still need the right knowledge. That may come from a qualified insurance agent who knows their business or from a great life insurance or disability insurance web site that provides great information for you to study.