Our history

Our heritage

We can trace our heritage back to 1696. Our business began in an age of highwaymen but is as relevant to customers today as it was then.

Our Archive is the most important insurance industry archive in the United Kingdom.

Hand in Hand Fire Office policy header, 1779
Hand in Hand Fire Office policy header, 1779

It documents our 300+ years of history and holds records for more than 750 companies that have contributed to our heritage.

Learn more about the Archive

For over three hundred years our ancestor companies have adapted to meet customers’ needs, just as we strive to do today.

Meet the ancestors

Our ancestors include the oldest mutual life insurer, one of the oldest fire insurers, the first company to issue a burglary policy, and the first and only insurance company to hold a royal warrant.

Explore our timeline


A selection of images from the Archive collection.

More from the Archive...

The National Archives

Explore our catalogue on The National Archives' Discovery service.


Uncover hidden gems from our photograph collection on historypin.


Read the Archive blog on Medium and unearth some fascinating stories from our past.