A seemingly endless parade of British lizards, winsome cavemen, and good neighbors populates our TV screens. They tell us how much money we could save by switching insurance companies. Here’s a real money-saving proposition: We, as a nation, could save many billions of dollars by switching from government to insurance. You heard that right. Insurance, properly designed, can help us to manage the sort of hazards from which we traditionally have looked to government to protect us.
Few phrases in the English language can put people to sleep as quickly as “a brief history of insurance,” but please bear an overview of how the institution developed — until the growth of government stopped its evolution. It’s a more interesting tale than you’d think, involving the sons of revolutionaries, the Great Fire of London, and, yes, pirates.