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Insurance, Philadelphia and ISOP: A shared history and vision

We have been growing with the insurance industry and region for more than 115 years.

Philadelphia has long played a pivotal role in the development and growth of the American insurance industry, from as far back as the 18th century.

In 1721 the first Marine Insurance Brokerage opened in Philadelphia, allowing merchants to insure locally. Throughout the 18th century, Philadelphia continued to play a large role in marine insurance, and in 1790, the first marine insurance company in the United States, the Insurance Company of North America, was founded here.

One of Philadelphia’s most famous sons, Benjamin Franklin, organized The Philadelphia Contributionship for the insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire in 1752. The standards the group used to evaluate buildings would later be turned into building codes and zoning laws.

In 1759 the Presbyterian Synods of Philadelphia and New York founded the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers. This led to the beginning of life insurance sales in the United States in the 1760’s. 

In the 1800s, Philadelphia’s more vulnerable residents began to form mutual aid societies as well. By 1838 there were 119 mutual aid societies. At least 56 mutual aid societies were also formed by German immigrants in the 1830’s and 40’s.

In 1901, the Fire Insurance Society of Philadelphia was founded. The organization grew to include a broader scope of the insurance trade when it was incorporated in 1909. In 1925, it was given a new name: the Insurance Society of Philadelphia.


Photos are from the Insurance Society of Philadelphia historical archive