Sunday, October 14, 2012

County Fire Office

The County Fire Office was founded in London in 1807 to conduct fire insurance business in county areas, specifically country house and farming risks. It was originally established by "an association of noblemen and gentlemen" from the counties of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, and Yorkshire. Each county was allocated 250 shares at £100 each. No individual was allowed to hold more than ten shares. Five people were elected in each county as directors from holders of not less than five shares each.

A unique feature of the company was that each person who continued a policy for seven years was entitled to share in the profits of the concern without being liable to any losses. Business was conducted through agents, and offices were gradually opened in major towns and cities throughout the UK. The County Fire Office was registered as a limited company in 1905 and the business was acquired by Alliance Assurance in 1906, though the name County Fire Office was retained until 1970.

County Fire Office, Regent Street, London, first half of 19th century

by Mark Matlach

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