A new form of protection begins
Within hours of beginning at Thomas Farriner’s bakery, the Great Fire had spread quickly through the streets. By the end of the first day, hundreds had lost their homes and the King had declared those properties in the way of the fire should be pulled down immediately to stop its spread. But by then it was already too late. The fire raged on for another four days, destroying 13,200 homes and leaving over 70,000 people – more than 80% of the population – financially ruined and homeless.
None of the lost buildings were covered by insurance, simply because it did not exist. This was soon to change, in the years following the fire, as the city began to regenerate, many people began to wonder what they could do to protect themselves in the future. As a result, noted economist, Dr. Nicholas Barbon, and his associates, created The Insurance Office for Houses, near The Royal Exchange in 1680. This allowed Londoners to protect their homes against future fires by spreading the potential losses amongst those who bought into the scheme his company offered. In this way, he created the beginnings of the modern insurance industry out of the devastation of the fire.