For our first blog we have decided to take you way back to where it all started. We are going to have a bit of fun with our topics and hope to keep you entertained and amused with some quirky knowledge and information along the way!
One of the earliest recognised “cities” on record is Babylon, built after the “Biblical Flood” and believed to have been established as a small town in 1867BC. The city was constructed by a “mighty hunter” named Nimrod, who, according to myth, was the great-grandson of Noah, of the “Ark” fame.
Though farming was the main industry of the ancient Babylonians, trade was also an integral part of their life and of Babylonian civilization. The Babylonian Kings of the day knew that trade was, through taxes, the key to great wealth. With this in mind they were keen to protect their merchants, or taxpayers.
The Birth of Insurance: The Code of Hammarubi
For trade to flourish, the trade routes had to be safe and protected from bandits so the Babylonians developed a system which was recorded in the famous Code of Hammurabi, c. 1750 BC, and practiced by early Mediterranean sailing merchants. If a merchant received a loan to fund his shipment, he would pay the lender an additional sum in exchange for the lender’s guarantee to cancel the loan should the shipment be stolen. Insurance was born.
Roman Burial Clubs
We are all familiar today with “Life Insurance”, or at least we should be! But the ancient Romans established the very first form of life insurance with their “Burial Clubs”. The concept of Roman b Burial Clubsb holds many of the core principles that we now include within a modern Life Insurance policy, remarkable really considering this was so many years ago!
Troubled Sprits and Lavish Funerals
The Burial Clubs arose out of a commonly held Roman belief that unless a man was buried correctly his spirit would remain troubled. The troubled spirit would be unable to pass into the next world and instead would remain locked to this existence becoming a particularly miserable ghost b something that most of us would like to avoid if at all possible. But the Burial Clubs also had a much more practical benefit for its members, helping to cover possibly lavish funeral expenses and also to give the family of the deceased some financial assistance moving forward, the concept that we all embrace today.
Donating to a Common Fund
The Clubs’ “Members” originally consisted primarily of soldiers but eventually grew to incorporate all levels of Roman society. The simple premise was that the burial club required members to regularly donate to a common fund, which was then used in the event of a memberb s death to fund the funeral. As the popularity of these clubs grew so did their complexities, ultimately resulting in not only payment for pre agreed funeral arrangements but also an inclusion of an additional benefit providing for the surviving members of the immediate family of the deceased.
Life Insurance has been around a very long time and many millions of people have benefitted from this ancient concept. Today life insurance is essential as it gives us “peace of mind”, in knowing that the death of the insured person will not result in financial hardship for their loved ones.
So the concept of insuring ourselves, our loved ones and our possessions has been around a very long time, and no doubt, we will continue to protect our valuables for many years to come. The world is constantly changing and life is becoming increasingly hectic and sophisticated, but, to quote Benjamin Franklinb & b in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxesb !