Another boring post about insurance… think again!
Let’s talk about where insurance started and some interesting facts about it. You might think that insurance is a relatively recent invention, simply to fleece money from people for something that may never happen – wrong!
Where Insurance Started
Actually, some of the first documented occurrences of insurance date back all the way to 1750 BC. It’s actually found in the code of Hammurabi, which is a Babylonian text. This legal code allowed merchants to pay a fee, this fee would safeguard the shipment of marine cargo against theft or loss.
Fast forward a few hundred years, and we are in the middle of the Great Fire of London. Homes were wrecked and ravaged by the flames, and a lot of property was damaged. Initially, the only people they thought would benefit from the protection of insurance were people in the marine trade, carrying cargo.
But, after seeing the devastation of the fire, underwriters began to offer coverage on buildings. Those were the foundations of the insurance that we know today.
What Can Be Insured
Now, we live in a world where the strangest of things can be insured for the right price. There are some occasions like, car insurance, medical insurance that are invaluable. Incidents where a client may need injury compensation after being hit by a drunk driver just to pay the bills.
And, there are times where it can get a little bit more unusual. For example, some golfers can add some excitement to their games by offerings a considerable prize (think millions) for anyone that can get a hole in one – for this, they take a ‘hole in one’ policy. Amazing right?
You might remember reading that in the 1940’s there was a very successful PR stunt, in which a publicist got in touch with an insurances company, Lloyd’s of London, and got their clients’ legs insured. That client was Betty Grable, and her legs were, at the end of that day, worth a cool $1 million.
Earning her the nickname, ‘girl with the million dollar legs.’ Rumor has it that in more recent years Beyonce has a few body parts that have been insured, along with many other celebrities.
The Word “Insurance” and What It Really Means
The word insurance is interesting in itself, it is derived from the French ‘ensurer’. En is ‘make,’ and sur is ‘secure. Initially, the word meant that two people were engaged to marry, however over time, the word has evolved to the word we use today.
Since the insurance of the million dollar legs, many more celebrities, and large corporations have used insurance to get themselves some slick news coverage.
For example, Gene Simmons tongue was insured for $1million, and Dolly Parton has a nifty $300,000 on each breast. And you might think that that is pretty sensational, but have you heard of Basil Brush and his fluffy tail? That tail was insured for £1 million too.
And, if you think those numbers are incredible, then you’ll be mind blown when you hear that the United Kingdom’s insurance industry handles somewhere in the region of £1.8 trillion worth of insurance investments. In 2017 the U.S market was worth around £1.7 trillion, which is a phenomenal size of a market by any standard.
Strange Celebrity Insurance Cases
If you love the facts about the celebrities, then you’ll be delighted to know that Jackie Chan’s martial art move, and penchant for doing his own stunts, and breaking many (many) bones over the span of his career means that he is just too high risk to insure.
In the end, he and his crew set up a specialist association where he takes care of the medical bills for all of the stuntman and stunt women – as well as training them. Unsurprisingly it’s called Jacki Chan Stuntmen Association.
In a slightly sadder case, in Japan, life insurance policies pay out if someone commits suicide. Which leads people to believe that a quarter, if not more of the suicides in Japan are financially motivated and that people have committed suicide to secure their family’s financial future.
The Largest Insurance Payout Ever!
The largest-ever insurance payout came in 2010 when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull erupted and caused ash to fill the skies. The visibility was so bad that hundreds of flights all across Europe were grounded, and a reported 10 million airline passengers stranded.
The eruption didn’t actually cause any damage to the surrounding homes or cause a loss of life, but it did cost the insurance realm a whopping 2.5 billion euros in compensation.
Even Astronauts Have Insurance
Imagine NASA astronauts unable to find affordable insurance. Well… remember the Apollo 11?
Those astronauts were unable to find affordable life insurance and had to come up with an ingenious idea to provide financial security if it all went wrong. They came up with something called ‘insurance covers.’
These limited edition postal covers were to be sold if the astronauts died. The assumption was that the value of the covers would skyrocket, and make a small fortune. However, in the end, the mission was a success, and magically those ’insurance covers’ ended up being sold and are highly collectible even today.
Here are some other cool facts for you!
- The first car insurance liability policy was issued in 1897
- Married driver pay a lower insurance because they are less likely to have an accident
- The Toyota Sienna Minivan has one of the lowest yearly premiums of all other cars
- Your job dictates if you get a lower rate, jobs like engineering keep your rates lower
- The leading cause of death for the age group 15 to 20 is car accidents
- 62% of all bankruptcies in the USA are due to medical bills
- Starbucks pay for their employees’ health insurance than it pays for coffee
- You know those rumors of Halloween candy being poisoned? The only recorded case was a father poisoning his son trying to get an insurance payout
- It is rumored that some people who are unable to afford medical insurance, will purchase fish antibiotics as they are the same dosage and grade as human antibiotics (and don’t require a prescription).