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Is there any evidence that they had insurance companies, with policies and premiums, in biblical or Talmudic times? If so, what halachic constraints were placed on these practices?

  • Sorry, I downvoted for the low quality - "insurance companies in Biblical times". I think it's worth rewriting either about the Biblical times or the contemporary Halacha. Also sources don't "include" they maybe "deal" or "cover". – Al Berko Oct 22 '20 at 18:26
  • Our insurance companies are private companies, based on private and personal contracts. There's no connection between the clients, the only connection is between a client and the company. Anyway, the closest thing I can think of is Asmachtah, where people agree to put money on chance and someone wins, but again, this is between a group of people. – Al Berko Oct 22 '20 at 18:30
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Two beraitot quoted in Bava Kamma 116b discuss forms of mutual insurance:

רשאין החמרין להתנות שכל מי שיאבד לו חמורו יעמיד לו חמור אחר בכוסיא אין מעמידין שלא בכוסיא מעמידין לו ואם אמר תנו לי ואני אשמור אין שומעין לו

The donkey drivers are permitted to stipulate that with regard to anyone whose donkey becomes lost, the caravan will provide him with a different donkey. If the donkey was lost through negligence, they do not provide him with another donkey, but if it was lost not through negligence, they provide him with another donkey. And if the individual whose donkey became lost said: Give me money instead of the donkey and I will guard the caravan along with everyone else, they do not listen to him.

ורשאין הספנים להתנות שכל מי שאבדה לו ספינה יעמיד לו ספינה אחרת אבדה לו בכוסיא אין מעמידין שלא בכוסיא מעמידין לו ואי פירש למקום שאין הספינות הולכין אין מעמידין

And if a number of boats are traveling together, the sailors are permitted to stipulate that with regard to anyone whose boat was lost, the others will provide him with a different boat. If his boat was lost through negligence, the other sailors do not provide him with another boat, but if it was lost not through negligence, the sailors provide him with another boat. And if the boat sailed to a place where the boats do not travel, the other sailors do not provide him with a different boat.

  • Good find! Thanks. Anything with premiums? – Maurice Mizrahi Oct 22 '20 at 17:02
  • @MauriceMizrahi not that I’m aware of from Talmudic times – Joel K Oct 22 '20 at 17:15
  • A good point but this is not commercial, more like professional unions. BTW the Gemmorah says that the Unions are subjected to Rabbis and are not autonomous. – Al Berko Oct 22 '20 at 18:24

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