What Is Insurance?
The short answer - it's protecting against loss by sharing risk with others.
The idea of insurance began as a logistics problem. A group of merchants needed to get their goods to market, which required navigating a treacherous river in wooden boats. The risk of loss was high.
Their solution? Work together. They distributed their cargo evenly across each other's boats. That way, no one would lose everything if one of the boats capsized. By literally spreading out the risk, they were all protected from financial ruin.
That was more than 5,000 years ago in China. Today, you'll find a new, ever-evolving and multifaceted insurance industry that's still built around protecting people and businesses from risk. The industry employs nearly 2.3 million Americans and donates over $500 million a year to charity.
Today's insurance coverage begins with actuaries, the human calculators who determine the odds of future events using sophisticated algorithms and good ol' hindsight.
Next, underwriters use those calculations to assess different people's risk levels. Then agents and brokers work with customers to tailor a policy to each person or business. Finally, if the worst should happen, claims adjusters step in to help customers recoup their losses and move on.
Meanwhile, corporate services professionals behind the scenes keep the insurance world turning. From managers to marketers, from IT technicians to customer service representatives, the industry can't function without them.
Everyone knows the basic insurance policies: health, car, life, homeowners and so on. But as the world changes, there's no limit to what insurance can protect - movie shoots, fancy weddings, pets, corporate data, even the physical assets of pro athletes and movie stars. And that's only the start.
What insurance provides, besides payout checks, is peace of mind. It covers the 'what if.' Without it, fear of losing everything would prevent many people from taking the risks that help the world progress, improve and innovate. In fact, when some of the world's smartest minds say that modern society wouldn't exist without the protection insurance provides, it's easy to see why it has been called 'the backbone of the economy.'