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Insurance Fraud Casebook: Paying a Premium for Crime by Joseph T. Wells, Laura Hymes

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Preface

The idea of shared risk is the foundation of all types of insurance. In one of the earliest examples of shared risk, ancient Chinese traders would distribute their cargo throughout many different oceangoing vessels to limit the incurred losses if any single one of them capsized. Later, the Babylonians enacted the first known written laws in the Code of Hammurabi (circa 1750 B.C.), which, among its many provisions, allowed lenders to charge additional costs to cancel loans for which the collateral was lost or stolen.

Early insurance was principally limited to the extreme risks associated with ships and the goods they transported on the high seas. But even in ancient Rome, records exist to show that there were burial societies that paid for funeral costs of their members out of the dues they were assessed. The Achaemenid Empire in ancient Persia (circa 550–330 B.C.) was the first to offer individuals insurance for their general interests. Each year citizens presented the ruler with a gift. If it was worth more than 10,000 gold coins, the gift and the giver were recorded in a ledger. If the gift giver later needed money for an investment, for a child's wedding or another personal venture, the government would give him or her twice the amount of the recorded gift.

By the mid-1400s, marine insurance was highly developed but other forms of insurance were not. Sharing losses, rather than making a profit, was the main goal at the time. However, after the Renaissance in Europe, ...

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