来源：网络 2010-08-10 18:40
You Bet Your Life（以命相赌）
6. Some of the first commercial insurance companies began around 1580 in England. These companies were some of the first to accept payment for insurance. Fire insurance became more popular after the fire in London in 1666. This was one of the most terrible fires in history. It lasted for five days. London had to be rebuilt almost completely. No wonder that many people decided to try fire insurance after that.
7. We think today's insurance companies are large, but there was also a pretty big company about two hundred years ago in England. The company still does business. The name of the company is Lloyd's of London. It carried more than ￡600,000 of insurance between 1793&1815. The England pound was then worth many times what it is worth today; so you can see how big Lloyd's was then. Of course, it didn't make money all the time. For example, around 1975 the company paid a claim of ￡190,000. In American money, that would be nearly half a million dollars.
8. Lloyd’s has become famous for some of the unusual things it has insured. For instance Lloyd has insured against the birth of twins. If twins had been born to the family insured, the company would have had to pay a certain amount of money to the parents. You can see in this example that some insurance is a little like gambling. There have also been many cases of famous performers or athletes who have insured themselves against accidents. Suppose a very good actor feared that his looks could be injured. If they were, he would not be able to make a living as an actor. Therefore, he might attempt to insure himself against that possibility.
9. Now there are companies that will insure people for damage caused by a sonic boom. A sonic boom is the loud crash and shaking that happens when a jet plane goes faster than the speed of sound. When this happens, a shock wave hits the earth and may break windows or cause ceilings to crack. If you're not near an airport used by jets, you may not need to worry about sonic booms, but some people do suffer damage in this way. They want to make sure that they don't have to pay all the repair bills themselves.
10. From protection against enemies to social security to sonic booms, insurance has come a long way.