History of insurance
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gives you a quick guide to the history, nature, legislation, functions and organisations of insurance in Malaysia
A quick tour into the history of insurance

The earliest evidence of insurance contracts dates back to the period around 2,800 B.C. where the Babylonian legal code showed regulations on insurance. Basically the concept of insurance was developed to deal with perils faced by merchants and traders at sea. This varied from protection of the cargo and goods carried by ships to the protection against the loss of lives of sailors and officers.
There is evidence showing that such practices were also prevalent among the Chinese, Greeks and Europeans. The first case of life insurance dates back to 1583 in England where a term contract was issued on the life of a certain William Gybbon. A significant development in the life insurance industry was the development of the mortality table by Edmund Halley in 1693. However, it was about a century later that any degree of accuracy was achieved in predicting mortality rates.

The introduction of insurance in Malaysia dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries where trading firms and agency houses acted as agents for insurance companies from the United Kingdom. Upon the achievement of independence, there was an effort to establish domestic insurance companies. The early 1960's saw the growth of many life and general insurance companies. Some of these companies operated on an unsound basis with improper underwriting guidelines.

The Government subsequently intervened and the Insurance Act, 1963 was introduced. Under the Act, the general conduct and supervision of the insurance industry was vested in the Director-General of Insurance under the Ministry of Finance.


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