Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)
Benjamin Franklin was the prime mover and organizer of the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss By Fire – the oldest fire insurance company and operating cooperative in the nation. Franklin promoted the principle of mutual insurance in the United States and, as a signer of our Declaration of Independence, helped create a national climate in which cooperatives might grow.
The Philadelphia Contributionship, the first successful mutual insurer in the country, had far-reaching influence on the philosophy and conduct of the insurance industry. Organized for the benefit of its policyholders, it proved the wisdom of the mutual idea whereby, as Franklin said, “every man might help another, without any disservice to himself.”