Monday, 20 April 2015


One day a few years ago I stopped in to visit a friend, and was curious about the huge pile of clothing and stuff in the middle of her living room floor!?! She explained to me that they were hit by lightning during the storm the night before. Most lights and all their electronics were fried.  The electrical surge even ran along the metal bar in their closet, down the wire hangers, and burned anything that had something metallic on it, including belts and the patches on her husbands ambulance uniform shirts. The current even found the underwires in her bras that were in the drawer!! Thankfully her insurance covered such an event and my friend was accessing the damage in preparation for the agent's visit.

I worked a short stint at an insurance company doing dictaphone typing when I was still discovering what I wanted to do.  That wasn't it.  But my father-in-law, after leaving the RCMP, worked for many years as an investigator for the Fire Underwriters Investigation Bureau in Montreal. 

You may find some insurance claims in a newspaper:

One of my ancestors - actually Henry Alexander, the brother-in-law of my great grand uncle - died in June of 1887 in Ottawa. When his wife Jane received $2000 from his life insurance, she wrote an acknowledging letter and the Insurance company posted this letter in the Ottawa Journal...

Search at newspaper archive (US, UK, Canada, etc) websites "insurance claim" and you may learn of some calamities that required a claim, and some disputes and fraud!
The Dominion (of Canada) Register and Review (a government publication) in some years listed fires, where they occurred, the value of damage and the insurance paid.  I have listed some below.

Relevant Links:

How to check your house after a lightning strike

History of Insurance

Insurance - Olive Tree Genealogy transcriptions

Insurance Reports for Dominion of Canada - lists of shareholders

The Citizen's Insurance Company of Canada: list of shareholders - 1800

Annual Report of the Mutual Lie Insurance Co of NY; list of policy holders 1864

Handbook of the New York Fire Insurance Exchange, including list of members - 1903

The Boston Fire, Nov 9th and 10th, 1872; complete list of losses

Official List of Committees with Directory of Members and Exchange Rules - 1907

The Ontario Mutual Life Assurance Co, Waterloo; 12th Annual list of claims paid 1881

The Federal Life Insurance Co, Hamilton, Ontario 1896 - list of Medical Examiners

Woolson's economy household inventory and insurance record - c1918

How companies were doing on the Stock Exchange 1908 (in search box type insurance)

Fire Insurance Cases: England, Scotland, Ireland, America; 1729-1839

Fire Insurance Cases: England, Scotland, Ireland, Americal 1840-1848

Digest of Cases Decided in the Supreme Courts of Scotland 1800-1842

Chart of the assessment life associations and friendly societies transacting business in Canada: showing the business done, death claims paid, number of assessments made, income, expenses, assets, etc., of the leading Life Associations and Friendly Societies licensed to do business in Canada ; 1894 to 1903

The Post magazine almanack, the insurance directory, reference and year book (London) - has a limited search at Hathitrust.  If interested you may find it at your library.

Australia - Unclaimed Money from shares, bank accounts and Life Insurance.

Dominion of Canada Register & Review - 1883 - Record of fires and insurance paid

Dominion of Canada Register & Review - 1882 - Record of fires and insurance paid

Dominion of Canada Register & Review - 1886 - Records of fires and insurance Paid

Sessional Papers of Dominion of Canada - Insurance List of Officers and Shareholders 1902


  1. Thanks for writing this. I hadn't thought about looking for insurance. I will now! I wanted to tell you that I’ve included your post in my NoteWorthy Reads post for this week:

  2. Thank you Jo. I hope you find something!
    I have learned from your blog also.


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