Why Does Insurance Matter?

Commemorating Our Right to Protection in the United States over the Decades

The 4th of July is just a day away, and as we gather with our families and friends to celebrate our independence as a country, we thought maybe this year we’d celebrate one more thing: our right to protection as a people.

Let’s be frank, many Americans don’t trust the insurance industry. But like a number of things in life, one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch, and the insurance industry as a whole is in place for our safety; not to hurt us. In fact, Benjamin Franklin himself created the first of many insurance policies in the United States, and he did so with the intention to defend the soon to be citizens of a new country.

So on this Independence Day, we’ve decided not only to commemorate our forefathers for our right to freedom but also to commemorate our forefathers for our right to security. Insurance was created in a time wherein people felt like they had no net for the unexpected, and it continues even now to be a guard for all the things in life that we just can’t predict.

The Founding Father Founds Insurance

How did Insurance start in America?

In 1730, a catastrophic fire hit Philadelphia’s Fishbourne’s Wharf. All the stores on the wharf burned down as did multiple homes in the area. By 1735, another fire took place, and this time people started to wonder if there was any possible way to protect their homes from something they had no control over. In turn, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to the Gazette with suggestions for fire safety, which included a call for a volunteer fire brigade (that officially formed in 1736).

Eventually, Franklin realized that even with safety precautions and a fire brigade, there were going to be times that blazes couldn’t be prevented. For the sake of protection, he decided to develop a safeguard, and in 1752 he formed The Philadelphia Contributorship, one of the first insurance companies in the United States. From then on, people felt more secure about their homes and what would happen in the case of a disaster. (http://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/features/2011/01/10/185786.htm)

Workers Work for Workers’ Compensation

How did Workers’ Compensation start?

Before workers’ compensation laws were in place, an employee’s only option if he was injured on the job was to seek recovery through a court system that was often biased against him. In turn, the workers movement began to grow in the first decade of the twentieth century with social change fostered by the movement of the “muckrakers,” a group of journalists who voiced their complaints on the injustices in society. The most famous of these authors was Upton Sinclair, who spurred a cry of outrage across America with The Jungle, a novel that detailed the repulsive working circumstances in Chicago slaughterhouses.

Outrage finally won over, but many states still didn’t have the funds to win the battle. Maryland (1902), Massachusetts (1908), Montana (1909), and New York (1910) all attempted to introduce workers’ compensation statutes, but all four laws were struck down under constitutional challenge as violating “due process.” Finally, in May 1911 Wisconsin became the first state to legalize an ongoing workers’ compensation program. Nine more states adopted the policy by 1911, and by 1920, 44 states had enacted workers’ compensation. By 1942, all 50 states were covered. What people now sometimes take for granted should any mishap take place on the job was actually a long and difficult struggle for our predecessors to establish. (http://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/features/2010/02/21/159363.htm)

The Beginnings of Business Owner’s Policy

How did the Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) start?

Before BOP began in 1976, commercial risks were not offered as property and liability coverage in the same form and instead had to be pieced together in sometimes a multiple number of different policies. The history of business owner’s insurance and liability insurance are fairly intertwined with the development of insurance in general. However, their contributions are everlasting, especially with the huge corporate scandals that have taken place over the last century.

Since the 1970s, there haven’t been too many significant changes to the standard insurance industry. That’s why today we gather not only to celebrate our freedom, but the wherewithal of all our predecessors to fight for changes in our protection and leave us with a secure system in place should life throw anything unexpected in our direction. (http://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/features/2010/02/21/159363.htm)

Click here to learn more about Workers’ Compensation or BOP insurance.

This blog/website is made available by CRES Insurance Services for educational purposes to give you general information and understanding of legal risks and insurance options, not to provide specific legal advice. This blog/website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. Claims examples are for illustrative purposes only. Read your policy for a complete description of what is covered and excluded.

Originally Published July 3, 2012


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