In 1666, The Great Fire of London burned through London causing almost 14,000 buildings to go up in flames. This was spark that ignited the beginning of fire insurance.
Before the fire, marine insurance had already been established. Merchants were able to purchase insurance on their boats and the goods they were transporting. After the fire, the marine insurance "underwriters" realized there was a new market to insure. They began selling fire insurance in the form of metal plates that could be attached to buildings.
However, in the 1600's fire insurance did not operate on the same principle as modern insurance, instead these metal plates meant that the firefighters of the day would attempt to extinguish these buildings. Insurance companies hired dock workers to act as firefighters for only their insured buildings.
At the scene of the fire, it was complete chaos. Firefighters from different companies ran around trying to determine whether or not they should stop the fire. They also had to protect any surrounding buildings that were insured by their company. If a building was uninsured, the firefighters would watch it burn and interfere only if it another insured building were in danger.
Looking to the past it is clear to see the progress we have made. These days firefighters respond to any fire in an average of 5 minutes and fire insurance has taken a new and more helpful form.
Want to add fire insurance to your coverage? Call our office at 716.631.0190 for more information and to get started.
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