History in the making.

Investment needed for London insurance museum to take-off.

Space rescues are not just the stuff of science fiction. They are also part of insurance history. NASA Mission STS-49 launched on 7 May 1992. The aim of this mission was the rescue of Intelsat 603, which was orbiting earth in the wrong place.

The space shuttle Endeavour was despatched to correct the orbit, with the mission insured at Lloyd’s for hundreds of millions of dollars. Space rescue cover was born.

This is just one of the fascinating stories that we hope will be told at an Insurance Museum, which could be based in the City of London’s insurance heartland.

With seed funding provided by the CII, market support is already growing for the Insurance Museum, but we are still looking for further expressions of support before it can be created.

The Association of British Insurers, the International Underwriting Association, numerous City of London Aldermen, the Lloyd’s Three Rooms
Club and some of the larger corporate entities are supporting the launch of the museum.

As Sue Langley, City of London Alderman, told us: “We have an amazing history and we need to tell the story. The Insurance Museum is something we should do, for the good of everyone we work with and for our future.”

We are looking to create a dedicated facility that will tell the story of insurance from the ancients to the present day, through to the future of risk transfer. The Insurance Museum aims to capture the spirit of insurance – its social good – through the theme of what it enables, demonstrate the evolution of the profession, educate and build public awareness and ultimately trust in the profession, supporting the CII’s Royal Charter.

It will also aim to promote the diversity of the insurance profession and attract new talent, as well as reveal the evolution of insurance from around the world, with the UK making up a significant part of that story. A working group, the Insurance Museum Initiative (or ‘I’m in’ for short), is liaising with market audiences to canvass feedback and input for the museum concept and has been encouraged by the huge support for the project.

The trigger for creating a permanent museum was the CII’s move from Aldermanbury to its new central London office in Lombard Street. With the move of the CII’s museum artefacts, the question was raised whether something more could be done to engage audiences with the valuable heritage story of insurance. Ultimately, the museum will be home to much more than the CII’s collection, with curated artefacts and stories from around the world to engage audiences with the incredible history of insurance.

Project supporter and insurance mediator, Terry Renouf, said: “Imagine a venue that tells tales of piracy, kidnap and ransom, space travel, the Titanic, aircraft, shipwrecks, rebuilding San Francisco, The Beatles, David Beckham, Dolly Parton, Ken Dodd and James Dean. All of this could be amongst the exhibits at the Insurance Museum.”

CII past president, Reg Brown, who is helping lead the project, said: “We are now focusing on fundraising for the phase-one delivery of a ‘pop-up’ museum in the heart of the city, as this will enable the physical creation and perfection of the museum concept. The pop-up museum will create the opportunity to develop and test content with key audience groups, while also providing a base camp for operations and fundraising events. Our phase-one fundraising target is £3m.”

Are you interested in creating a museum and willing to invest in creating one? Say ‘I’m in’ by visiting the Insurance Museum campaign website at: insurancemuseum.uk or e-mail Insurance Museum project manager Jonathan Squirrell at: info@insurancemuseum.uk

By Dr Adrian Leonard
The writer is an insurance historian and Associate Director of the Centre for Financial History, University of Cambridge

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