From the “betcha didn’t know” file, Thursday, May 2, is National Life Insurance Day, which according to “The Appreciation Society” is the 349th anniversary of the first day of a life insurance policy ever being written in the United States.
While the first life insurance company in America was organized in 1759 by the Presbyterian Synods in Philadelphia and New York under the title, “The Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Presbyterian Ministers, and of the Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers,” (there’s a mouthful!), apparently the first policy wasn’t written until five months into the following year.
Episcopalian priests created a comparable relief fund in 1769. Between 1787 and 1837 more than two dozen life insurance companies were started, but fewer than half a dozen survived.
You might also be surprised to know Benjamin Franklin was instrumental in the creation of that first life insurance company, more commonly known as The Presbyterian Minister’s Fund. No stranger to firsts and inventing things, Franklin was behind the creation of U.S.’s first mutual fire insurance company in 1752, called the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire.
According to Investopedia, the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire set new standards for building houses because it refused to insure houses they considered fire hazards. The criteria they used to evaluate buildings would one day be reworked into both building codes and zoning laws.
Seven years later, Franklin helped get that first life insurance company off the ground. The various religious authorities at the time were outraged at the practice of putting a value on human life, but criticism cooled when it was seen that insurance worked to protect widows and orphans.
There are over 1,500 national days recognized by the National Day Calendar. National Life Insurance Day was started in 2014 after a submission by Liran Hirschkorn, an independent insurance agent at Auburn, Ala.-based www.BestLifeQuote.com and certified by the Registrar at National Day Calendar by the policies set forth to designate a National Day Observation.
Interestingly enough, while independent insurance broker BestLifequote maintains a robust website, we were unable to find any mention of National Life Insurance Day in a quick search of the site. But if you want to do anything special to celebrate, just be sure to use the hashtag #LifeInsuranceDay on social media.
So while the much more ballyhooed Life Insurance Awareness Month happens in September, now you know the story of National Life Insurance Day.