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Insurance Underwriters


Lloyd's of London is generally considered to be the first insurance underwriter. Formed in the late 1600s, Lloyd's subscribed marine insurance policies for seagoing vessels. Over the years, various fraternal and trade unions adopted the principles of insurance. 

In the United States, fire and life insurance companies date from colonial times. Benjamin Franklin helped start the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses, a fire insurance company, in 1752. The first life insurance company was established in 1759 by the New York and Philadelphia synods of the Presbyterian Church.

Industrial insurance began in the late 19th century, offering life insurance to millions of industrial workers. Private insurance companies began to furnish insurance protection in the early 1900s. In 1910, the first workers' compensation policy was issued. Group coverage was introduced in the life insurance field in 1911, and has since been broadened to include disability, hospitalization, and pension benefits. The Blue Cross organization pioneered group hospitalization insurance in 1936.

Package insurance, such as automobile and homeowners insurance, which includes a variety of types of insurance, developed on a large scale in the 1950s. Health maintenance organizations were first established during the early 1970s in an attempt to stem the rising cost of health care. Judgments in liability lawsuits had drastically increased by 1980, resulting in rapid growth in purchases of liability insurance. Today, insurance packages and managed care companies provide many options and levels of coverage.