In 1666, after the Great Fire of London leftover 75% of the city’s inhabitants homeless, efforts were made to prevent future tragedies. Insurance companies started writing some of the world’s first property insurance policies and the insurers started funding fire brigades to minimize future losses. Because the brigades were funded by insurance companies, the companies issued fire marks to their policyholders. Fire marks are metal plaques fixed to the outside of the insured’s property, signaling to the brigade which property was their responsibility to protect in case of fire. The marks were unique to each insurer, often bearing their logo or other symbolic icon. You can see an example of a fire mark below. This mark is on display in our Glendale office; we’re avid collectors.
Royal Exchange Assurance of London’s fire mark from JLK Rosenberger’s collection.
Read more about the history of fire marks in our original SSAP Chat articles here and the expansion of fire marks here. And look for two more future articles about the rise and fall of fire marks to be published in January 2020 on SSAPChat.com.