Advocacy Through the Ages: Providing Peace of Mind Then and Now
Since 1885, we at Morris & Garritano have been providing comprehensive insurance solutions and trusted brokerage for our clients.
The insurance industry has grown, expanded, and matured since its inauguration as society’s needs are ever evolving and becoming more complex. Our agency is committed to adapting and innovating, but what remains consistent throughout time is our purpose: providing peace of mind.
Strength in Numbers
This practice of “providing compensation in exchange for an agreed upon premium payment in the event of a specified loss” (Investopedia) goes back generations. For as long as there have been civilizations, there have been people; facing risks and seeking protection.
Pretty early on, people figured out that if risk could be spread out among a large group of participants, the entities could be strong enough to handle an event that might otherwise devastate a singular individual.
Advocacy Through the Ages
This concept of allocating risk among a large group to distribute and help absorb the impact of potential loss dates back to 2000 BC with writings found in ancient Babylon.
The carved monument known as the Code of Hammurabi documents the famous, brutal, and often extreme laws of the day under the King of the same name. Among these, was a basic form of insurance guaranteeing a debtor would be forgiven of his loans in the event of a major catastrophe such as disability, death, or terrain disruption, making repayments impossible.
This structure of protection continued with an early form of group coverage used in Medieval Europe’s guild system where members collectively paid into a pool used to cover losses faced by the company.
Spreading the impact of loss across a larger group provided people with a reliable safety net, encouraging more citizens out of remote farms and into cities for trade jobs. With this migration, the production of goods and availability of services increased.
The 1600s brought a boom of shipping and exploration with cargo, exotic goods, and colonial settlers being ferried back and forth across the Atlantic. In a London coffee house owned by Edward Lloyd, merchants, ship owners, and others would gather to discuss, write, and purchase insurance for their voyages. It was here modern underwriting took form, and in 1686, Lloyd’s of London was established as the first formal insurance company, carrying on still today as one of the world’s leading insurance markets.
New expansions and events, such as the Great Fire of London just a couple decades earlier, were bringing in demands for new types of coverage. Underwriters who had previously dealt exclusively with marine insurance were now widening their focus to include fire insurance, soon to be followed by life insurance.
Early life insurance companies had failed to find much success until 1693 when Edmund Halley, renowned astronomer, mathematician, and namesake for Halley’s Comet, developed the first modern mortality table to predict risk and calculate fair premiums and coverage more accurately.
Oversees in the developing American colonies, the insurance market was nearly nonexistent until a century later due to the sheer amounts of uncertainty and incalculable risks of the young settlements.
It was not until 1752 when the US got its first insurance company co-founded by none other than Benjamin Franklin. Named the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire, this agency, as indicated by its name, covered the colonies’ greatest risk – fire.
Like modern insurers today, the Contributionship would send inspectors to evaluate properties for applicants. Rates were based on the resulting risk assessment and those who did not meet the standard were denied coverage. Once policies were issued, premiums were collected, and claims were paid out of a capital reserve fund.
Franklin’s Philadelphia Contributionship set a new standard in the growing industry and its criteria was expanded and used for new standards in construction and further urban development.
On each side of the Atlantic, the Industrial Revolution set off an insurance boom as production and expansion of industry called for the necessity of coverage for businesses and individuals alike.
As modern life continued, newer more complicated types of insurance emerged and by the 1900s, particularly after the World Wars and intermittent times of economic hardship, employers began to standardize basic insurance and benefits to compensation packages.
Carrying on today, carriers and brokers are continuing to innovate and develop to meet the heightened demands of an ever-evolving society.
Protecting What Matters With Morris & Garritano
Providing insurance means providing peace of mind, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing here at Morris & Garritano for over 137 years. With our own rich history in the industry, we’re poised to leverage the experience of our past with the innovation of our future to continue providing excellent service for generations to come.
Through risk mitigation and analysis, brokers like us are able to understand the needs of an individual or corporation and build a comprehensive solution to minimize loss and offer coverage that can reduce catastrophe in the event of an emergency. It is all about proactively assessing risk and protecting the needs of the client.
At Morris & Garritano, we are passionate about our work. We are dedicated to furthering our legacy by remaining at the forefront of the industry and providing personalized service through meaningful relationships. For more information on what we do and how we can assist you, your family, and your business, you may contact our team anytime.