1706, when Queen Anne, over the Great Seal of England, granted a charter to the Amicable Society for a Perpetual Assurance Office.
Under the Inspiration of a Fleet Street bookseller, Mr John Hartley, this society started something new.
It began to insure its members for a whole life, not just for a year, a voyage, or a fixed term, and only on personal application.
Thus was founded the very first life insurance office in the world.
For over a century, it grew and prospered, being the only life office to survive the effect of the bursting of the South Sea bubble in 1721.
But with the growth of younger and more vigorous competition, it was finding itself cramped and hampered by its early charters, so in 1866, it amalgamated with the Norwich Union Life Insurance Society.
The Norwich Union continued to administer the Amicable’s business as a closed fund until the last policyholder, Samuel Stephens, who joined the Amicable at age 19 in 1857, died in 1932 at the age of 94.