Insurance and World Health Day – a journey back in time

We explain what World Health Day is and take you on a journey of discovery through the history of insurance

Article

2 minute read

2022-04-07

Every year our calendars are filled with a series of international days, each drawing attention to an important issue. One of these days is World Health Day, which was launched back in 1950. Read on to find out why World Health Day is so important and what it’s got to do with insurance.

What is World Health Day and why does it matter?

World Health Day is an international event run by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is celebrated on 7 April each year with the aim of highlighting the importance of taking care of our health. With this in mind, each World Health Day is dedicated to a specific health topic of concern.

When it was first introduced, the event was designed to draw the attention of the world’s developed countries to the need for more advanced healthcare in other regions. Today, it aims to raise awareness of our own well-being by covering topics such as nutrition, vaccination, equal opportunities and mental health.

What do insurance and World Health Day have in common?

Just like World Health Day, insurance has always been about making sure that you are well informed about all issues relating to your health and safety. Insurance should make you feel safe and protected – and give you the confidence to enjoy life to the full.

This basic idea laid the foundation for the first insurance models a long, long time ago. Let’s look back at how insurance began and how it has developed over time.

The origins of insurance

The concept of insurance as we know it today dates back to 3,000 BC, to a time when the Greeks were looking for a way to protect the livelihood of individuals by pooling together as a community. Specifically, the aim was to provide cover that would protect seafarers if their ships were wrecked in a storm, for example.

This was the only way of maintaining their livelihood. It was also crucial to ensure that maritime trade could continue without any interruptions. All seafarers had to pay a sea loan to be protected in the event of an emergency.

The emergence of the first insurance companies

Fires were an increasing occurrence from the 15th to 18th centuries. This was a major worry for homeowners, as the repair costs would have been unaffordable to most. People wanted protection for their homes, leading to calls for an institution to be created that would cover the risk of damage caused by fires and pay out where necessary. In the aftermath of the Great Fire of London in 1666, which reduced over 13,000 houses to rubble, many such fire insurance schemes were started but it took a few years until the system was sound.

The first official fire insurance company was established in Hamburg, Germany in 1676. The insurance sector really started to take off in the 17th and 18th centuries. By this time, fire insurance funds had not only sprung up in almost all corners of Germany – insurance was suddenly also available for other areas, too. Fire insurance was joined by life insurance and cargo insurance. The first reinsurance companies were also formed to reduce the risks for individual insurance companies.

The start of compulsory insurance

During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, more and more companies started to specialise in insurance and offer a range of services to citizens.

It was also at this time that social security contributions became mandatory in Germany. Since then, every employee has been covered by health, retirement and unemployment insurance – with employers covering a large proportion of the contributions.

The integral role of insurance in our society

Once compulsory insurance came into the picture, more and more people started to appreciate the benefits of insurance. Insurance gives people a sense of security and means they don’t have to worry so much about what would happen if they lost their job or retired.

You can now take out a wide range of insurance products for all areas of your life that are particularly important to you. Although these are not compulsory, they are designed to protect you and your loved ones’ health, livelihood and possessions. This way you can go through life without worries and focus on the things that matter most to you.

How can you celebrate World Health Day?

We believe that World Health Day is still relevant today – after all, modern times are creating their fair share of new challenges. Take the remote working trend, for instance. While working from home has many advantages, it has caused us to become much more sedentary. This is not only taking its toll on our bodies, but could also affect our mental health in the long term.

World Health Day is a fantastic opportunity to reflect on how we can do something positive for our health. We recommend taking regular breaks, incorporating more movement into your daily routine and more fresh fruit, veg and legumes into your diet. Also check out our tips on how to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Our insurance products protect the people and things you love, giving you the peace of mind you need to live life to the full. What’s more, with our Getsafe app, you can keep an eye on your insurance anytime, anywhere.

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Author: Getsafe