Indemnity Marine Assurance Company Ltd
The Indemnity Marine Assurance Company was the first company to open for business following the passing of the Marine Insurance Bill in 1824, which ended the monopoly of Lloyds and the London and Royal Exchange on marine insurance.
Indemnity Marine's head office, c1920
On April 22 1824, a meeting proposed by John Staniforth discussed the formation of a company along mutual lines to provide marine insurances for merchants and ship owners. The first official board meeting was held on July 22, when it was decided that the new company would commence business on August 9. The Indemnity Mutual Marine Assurance Company was duly established and organised under a deed of settlement dated July 4 1825.
The first policy was actually taken out on August 4 1824, before the company had even started business, by a company director George Hibbert. The original mutual scheme was abandoned after three years and, on June 18 1842, an act of parliament was passed extending the powers of the company. On December 31 1886, the company was incorporated as the Indemnity Mutual Marine Assurance Company Ltd.
In 1917, the company became a subsidiary of the Northern Assurance Company Ltd and, by 1924, could claim to be the oldest purely marine company in business. On December 6 1934, the company changed its name to the Indemnity Marine Assurance Company Ltd and, in 1968, its parent company, the Northern, became part of the Commercial Union Assurance Company Ltd.
|1824||The company is established|
|1842||An act of parliament is passed extending the company's powers|
|1886||The company is incorporated as a limited company|
|1917||The company becomes a subsidiary of the Northern Assurance Company|
|1934||Name changes to the Indemnity Marine Assurance Company|
|1968||The Northern becomes part of the Commercial Union Assurance Company|
Did you know...?
Burning of the Kent, 1825
- In 1824, the company paid out £10,000 on the loss of the East India Company ship, Kent, which was destroyed by fire on her outward journey.
- In 1825, the company paid out on a loss of £1,500 on the William Fraser, which was captured by a pirate ship from Puerto Rico.
- In 1853, the company paid out £100,000 on the loss of the Madagascar, which disappeared while travelling from Melbourne to England, carrying 36,000 ounces of gold dust and 156 passengers.
- In 1854, a great fire took place in the port of Memel that destroyed several ships. Although the ships were insured against the usual sea risks, there was some doubt at the time whether such policies covered a vessel burned at her moorings, and a number of underwriters proposed to resist the claims. William Ellis, underwriter of Indemnity Marine at the time, had no such doubts and announced that those vessels insured by him would be paid out in full, thus setting a precedent for the other companies involved.
Subsidiaries and constituents*
|1871 - 1967||Merchants' Marine Insurance Company Ltd (marine business transferred from Northern Assurance)|
* 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
|1824 - 1838||36 Great Winchester Street, London (rented from William Astell MP, a company director at the time)|
|1838 - 1871||35 & 36 Great Winchester Street, London (freehold purchased; close to excise and navy pay offices)|
|1871 - 1888||13 Great Winchester Street, London (numbering of street changed)|
|1888 - 1903||1 & 2 Threadneedle Street, London|
|1903 - 1928||1 Old Broad Street, London|
|1928 - 1949||Lloyds Building, London|
|1949 - 1974 at least||4 Fenchurch Avenue, London|
Staff and officials
|1824 - 1831||George Channer|
|1831 - 1844||Henry Steward|
|1844 - 1851||Nicholas Chester|
|1851 - 1870||Francis Stephens|
|1870 - 1888||Charles Corke|
|1888 - 1891||Henry Cattley Stewart|
|1891 - 1925||J F Mainland|
|1925 - 1945||Francis R Vine|
|1945 - 1952||E H Howard|
|1952 - 1970||J G Slade|
|1970 - 1974 at least||H T Frost|
Underwriter (effectively manager, although the title was not used until 1933)
|1824 - 1827||John Staniforth|
|1827 - 1876||William Ellis|
|1976 - 1889||Lawrence D Smith|
|1889 - 1912||Henry Haslam|
|1912 - 1923||Arthur H Roberts|
|1923 - 1930||William James Creasy|
|1930 - 1955||E H N Dowlen (manager and underwriter from 1933)|
|1955 - 1972||Leonard Alfred Locke (and manager)|
|1972 - 1974 at least||P J Wingett (manager as well from 1974, replacing H W J Spittle)|
Indemnity Marine press advertisement, 1824
- Robert Rickards (director of Guardian Assurance)
- George Lyall
- William Astell MP
- David Barclay
- Cornelius Buller (later governor of the Bank of England)
- John William Buckle
- Richard Hart Davis
- John Theophilus Daubuz
- W D Dowson
- Edward Ellice
- Ellis Ellis
- Ralph Fenwick
- George Hathorn
- George Hibbert
- John Hodgson
- John Innes
- Niven Kerr
- Thomas Murdoch
- Stewart Majoribanks
- John Horsley Palmer
- Robert Scott
- John Staniforth
- Andrew Henry Thomson
- Henry Usborne
- William Wilson
- Samuel Winter
Branches and agencies
The company appointed its first agency on September 22 1887.
Indemnity Marine headed notepaper, 1954
- San Francisco, United States (by 1890)
- Sweden (1937)
The Indemnity - A Century Retrospect, 1824 - 1924 by J F Mainland and E H Howard. The Indemnity Mutual Marine Assurance Company Ltd, 1924.
In the archives
The Aviva archive contains records relating to the running of the Indemnity Marine Assurance Company between 1865 and 1997. The collection includes board minutes, lists of proprietors, shareholders registers, registers of transfers, annual report and accounts, agreements and correspondence.
Indemnity Marine deposited most of its early records with the London Metropolitan Archives in 1969. Additional small deposits were made in 1976 and 1986. The records include constitutional documents, minutes, financial material, letter books and some details of ships and cargoes. Some items were subsequently returned to the company (Mss 11847, 11853/2-9, 11854-8, 11875).