Historic insurance document from the Society for Equitable Assurances on Lives and Survivorships issued in 1793. The policy was for Lord George Murray. This item has the signatures of the Trustees for the said Society and is over 214 years old.
Lord George Murray (January 30, 1761 – June 3, 1803) was an Anglican cleric best remembered for his work developing Britain's first optical telegraph, which began relaying messages from London to Deal in 1796, a few years after Claude Chappe's system began operation in France. He was Bishop of Saint David's from 1801 until his death.
Murray was the second son of John Murray, 3rd Duke of Atholl. He had five children; the eldest son, another George Murray, was also a cleric, becoming in time Bishop of Sodor and Man and Bishop of Rochester. Murray died in London, leaving a wife, who had become Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Charlotte, and five children.
The Society for Equitable Assurances on Lives and Survivorships was established as the first mutual life assurance company, set up and run for its members and continues to run as the oldest mutual life assurance company in the UK. It later became the Equitable Life Assurance Society.
In 1750, James Dodson, Fellow of the Royal Society, revolutionised the way that life assurance worked by developing his scientific basis for calculating premiums. Dodson used mortality tables and probability studies to calculate tables of fair annual premiums. The great advantage of these was that the policyholder's premium was fixed throughout the term of the policy and the amount paid on death was guaranteed.
As early as 1777 the Society was able to reduce all premiums by 10%. Another reduction in premiums followed in 1781 and a regular system of bonuses was subsequently developed
The combination of fair dealing and reasonable bonuses rapidly attracted new business and by 1799 there were 5,000 policies in force for sums totalling around £4 million. By 1810, membership approached 10,000. Notable policyholders of 19th century included such esteemed characters as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wilberforce and Sir Walter Scott.
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