History of French insurance

After China, the United States and India, Atlas Magazine is introducing the French insurance market. This month's edition is dedicated to the historical aspect.

parisIn France, the beginning of modern insurance can be dated to the time of Colbert, Secretary of State of the King's House, and Secretary of State for the Navy (1669-1683). It was under his leadership that marine insurance was first legislated.

One of the first French marine insurance companies was set up in Bordeaux in 1665 under the name of Compagnie des Assurances de Bordeaux.

The Chambre d'Assurance and Grosses Aventures de France was established in 1668 before it was rebaptized in 1686 under the name of Compagnie Générale des Assurances et Grosses Aventures de France.

In 1717, the first fire insurance company was registered under the name of Compagnie d'assurance contre l'incendie.

While coverage for marine and fire risks was encouraged, life insurance was strongly discouraged for political and religious reasons. In its article 10, the Marine Ordinance issued by Louis XIV in 1681, is very clear on this point: "We forbid any insurance on the lives of people".

It was only a century later in 1787, just before the French Revolution of 1789, that the first life insurance company was born under the name of "Compagnie Royale d'Assurance sur la Vie".

In the 18th century, the French Revolution raised doubt on the entire insurance business, dismissing the first fire insurers as criminals, some of whom were even executed.

Insurance companies and all joint stock companies were strongly criticized and suppressed. At the initiative of MP Pierre-Joseph Cambon, the members of the National Convention, which governed France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795 and which succeeded the Legislative Assembly, voted a decree in 1793 banning the financial companies including the insurance companies.

History of French insurance

  • 1665
    Establishment of the Compagnie des Assurances de Bordeaux, one of the first marine insurance companies
  • 1668
    Establishment by Colbert of the first non-life insurance company: «The Chambre d'Assurance et Grosses Aventures de France»
  • 1686
    The Chambre d'Assurance et Grosses Aventures de France was rebaptized Compagnie Générale des Assurances et Grosses Aventures de France
  • 1692
    The Lloyd’s gets established in Paris
  • 1717
    Establishment of the first mutual fire company «Compagnie d’Assurance contre l’Incendie»
  • 1750
    «Association Mutuelle contre les Incendies» company sets foot on the market
  • 1786
    Establishment of the Société d’Assurances Générales contre l’Incendie and of Compagnie d’Assurances contre l’Incendie
  • 1787
    Establishment of the Compagnie Royale d’Assurance sur la Vie
  • 1789
    The French Revolution
  • 1792
    Adoption of a law levying taxes on shareholdings in insurance companies to restrict investors’ craze for joint-stock companies
  • 1793
    Decree of 24 August making certain financial companies, including insurance companies and discount banks, illegal.

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