Most people understand insurance basics, but how about the other intricacies, such as who invented insurance and what are the craziest things that have been insured? Here are some insurance fun facts:


When was insurance invented?

The basic premise behind insurance to minimize or share risk through cooperation and mutual aid is as old as humankind. Reaching far back in history, there are many examples of systems that sought to protect citizens’ land, property and physical well being from loss or injury. The Greeks and Romans are credited with introducing the idea of “benevolent societies,” which provided monetary and other support to families of the deceased, and were the precursor to modern health and life insurance. In the United States, Benjamin Franklin began the first modern property insurance company as we know it in response to a severe fire that destroyed many homes and buildings in Philadelphia. Founded in 1752, the Philadelphia Contributorship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire is still in existence today.

What are the largest insurance company payouts in history?

In 2010, the eruption of an Icelandic volcano left $10 million people stranded for several weeks, and resulted in approximately $3.4 billion in compensation. The tragedy of 9/11 and its associated loss of life and property resulted in $40 billion in payouts. Outrageous payouts to individuals include 1.5 million to repair a sports car belonging to the British actor Rowan Atkinson; 7.75 million for a slip on the ice that resulted in serious complications for the victim; and 37 million to a teenage girl who was paralyzed in a head-on collision.

What is the most expensive life insurance policy ever recorded?

An anonymous Silicon Valley billionaire recently purchased a life insurance policy worth 201 million dollars. Before that music mogul David Geffen held the most expensive policy, valued at 100 million dollars.

What are the most unusual items to be insured?

Entertainers are at the top of the list when it comes to insuring uncommon items, like body parts. Surprisingly, Mariah Carey has insured her legs, rather than her voice, for 1 billion. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards insured the middle finger of his left hand for 1.6 million dollars. And singer/actress Dolly Parton is reported to have insured you guessed it her chest, valued at $600,000. In addition to body parts, people have purchased insurance for their chest hair, a single cigar, and to protect themselves in the event of alien abduction.

What are occupational insurance discounts?

You probably know that a clean driving record will improve your auto insurance rates, but did you know that your occupation might qualify you for a discount too? Auto insurance companies have identified that people in certain professions are more likely to be careful drivers. So if you’re a teacher, pilot, accountant, or nurse, you may be eligible for a discount. In some cases, just having a degree related to one of these “low-risk professions” may qualify you for the break.