Did you know the insurance marketplace as we know it started in a small coffee shop in London? That’s right. Coffee was introduced to the United Kingdom in the 1600’s. It was coffee, not tea, that was the cheaper and more readily available drink of choice. Coffee sparked a new wave of coffee shop culture in London. This space and beverage promoted new ideas, education, and medium for sharing information. By the 1700’s there were hundreds of coffee houses in London. For the price of a penny men could purchase a cup of coffee and engage in lively debate on news, politics, and culture. They were also able to conduct commerce and make key business connections. The absence of alcohol promoted a more civil discord than an ale house and allowed for serious topics to be discussed.
There was one such coffee shop started by Edward Lloyd on Tower Street in London. This spot supplied sailors, merchants, and ship owners with coffee and reliable shipping news. It was crucial at a time when London’s influence as a trade center grew. Over time, the Lloyd’s coffee house was regarded as the go-to source for shipping insurance as well as maritime information. Through these humble beginnings the concept of underwriting began, Lloyd’s of London created, and the modern insurance marketplace introduced. Since then, Lloyd’s of London has been a pioneer in insurance and has grown over 330 years to become the world’s leading market for specialist insurance.
So, there you have it… we have coffee to thank for many things. Including insurance. :)