Accidental Death Insurance Company (No. 1)
An insurance pioneer, the first Accidental Death Insurance Company was established in 1849 and provisionally registered as the Accidental Death Indemnity Association. By 1850, the company had changed its name to the Accidental Death Insurance Company.
The company was promoted by George Sands Sidney and was initially intended to insure against deaths that occurred within three months of an accident. A few months after the business started, the company's actuary, Edward Ryley, suggested providing insurance against non-fatal injuries arising from accidents. Thus the company became the
"founder of the modern business of Accident Insurance"
The company's first prospectus stated that
"The numerous casualties to which the life of man is liable are subjects of daily occurrence and observation - there is scarcely an individual who cannot refer, within the sphere of his own family or acquaintance, to instances of sudden or accidental death; and few who cannot look back to their own providential escape from imminent danger. To guard against the consequences of such a calamity, whether happening in the pursuit of business or pleasure, is the duty of everyone, and this company will afford to all, according to their circumstances, the means of obtaining so desirable an object."
The company made slow progress in is first years. Fortunes improved in 1852 when it identified the professional and mercantile classes as potential accident insurance customers and focused its efforts on attracting their business.
Towards the end of the 1850s, the lack of restrictions in the emerging business of accident insurance left the company vulnerable to a number of frauds (see below for examples). In 1857, the company had £14,000 at stake on several cases of suspected fraud. In order to secure the original shareholders from loss, the business was transferred to the Travellers and Marine Insurance Company, which later became the Accidental Death Insurance Company (No 2).
In 1867, the second Accidental Death Insurance Company was acquired by the Accident Insurance Company Ltd (No. 1) whose business was transferred in 1870 to the Accident Insurance Company Ltd (No. 2). In 1906, the second Accident Insurance Company was acquired by the Commercial Union Assurance Company Ltd.
|1849||The company is established as the Accidental Death Indemnity Association|
|1850||By now the company name has changed to the Accidental Death Insurance Company|
|1857||Business is transferred to the Travellers and Marine Insurance Company|
|1859||The Travellers and Marine Insurance Company is renamed The Accidental Death Insurance Company (No.2)|
|1867||The Accidental Death Insurance Company (No. 2) is acquired by the Accident Insurance Company (No. 1)|
|1870||The Accident Insurance (No. 1) business is transferred to the Accident Insurance Company (No. 2)|
|1906||The Accident Insurance (No. 2) is acquired by the Commercial Union Assurance Company|
Did you know...?
- The company is acknowledged as the founder of modern accident insurance. While the Railway Passengers Assurance Company Ltd was established a year earlier it limited itself to railway accidents until 1852.
- In 1854, during the Crimean War, the company began offering insurance against the death of officers. It was a popular policy, but the unusually high mortality rate meant it was not very profitable.
- In 1857, James Shillling drove his aged father, Thomas Shilling, into the Medway River at a point where there was no prospect of help. Shilling Snr clung to his son and the two men drowned. Both were heavily insured for over £1,000 with two different accident offices; the Accidental Death Insurance Company (No.1) and the Railway Passengers Assurance Company. The claim was eventually settled by paying the insurance on the son, assuming that his death had been accidental while trying to defraud the company by causing the death of his father.
- In the same year, a wealthy miller and maltster was found dead in his own millstream. It was later discovered that he was insured for £2,000 under two different names with the same company.
- In 1851 the company insured a Lieutenant who was injured playing cricket and received £110 in combined compensation and medical expenses. This would be the equivalent of a claim for over £141,000 today.
Subsidiaries and constituents*
|1848 - 1852||Railway Assurance Accident Company|
|1852 - 1857||Maritime Passengers' Insurance Company (life business). See also Accidental Death Insurance Company Ltd (No.2), who also bought some of the company's business|
* Please note the first date given is the date of the establishment of the company and the second date is the date the company was acquired or became a subsidiary. Where only one date is given the company was established as a subsidiary of the parent company. Where one date is preceded by a hyphen the date of the establishment of the company is not known.
Head office premises
|1849 - 1859||7 Bank Buildings, Lothbury, London|
Staff and officials
|by 1850 - 1855 at least||Mr Young|
|by 1850 - 1855 at least||Mr Ryley|
- Mr Kenyon Parker
- Mr Holmes
- Mr Mayne