Profile America: First Life Insurance Policy

Thursday, December 15 — America’s first life insurance policy issued by a general insurance company was issued on this date in 1794 in Philadelphia. The Insurance Company of North America was organized two years earlier, with a capital of $600,000. But the life insurance venture proved to have a very short life itself, as only six policies were written in five years, and the service was dropped in 1804. The Insurance Company of North America still exists as a subsidiary of a multinational insurance group. Now, of course, life insurance is an enormous business worth about a half-trillion dollars annually, with some 278 million policies in force. There are more than 9,500 establishments in the U.S. employing 357,000 people to sell and administer life insurance policies.

Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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