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The Real Pirates of the Caribbean: How Pirates Used Insurance in Their Heyday

by | Apr 18, 2023

At Page Insurance, discussing insurance can be informative and entertaining. So, grab your spyglass and prepare for a swashbuckling tale of piracy and insurance on the high seas. In this blog post, we’ll explore the surprising connection between pirates and insurance, revealing how even the most notorious outlaws of the ocean used insurance in their heyday.

Setting Sail with Pirate Insurance:

During the Golden Age of Piracy, spanning the late 17th and early 18th centuries, pirates were a significant threat to maritime trade. However, beneath the Jolly Roger and tales of plunder, a lesser-known aspect of pirate life thrived: pirate insurance.

Pirates, just like legitimate sailors, faced numerous risks while at sea. Shipwrecks, storms, injuries, and even death were constant perils. To mitigate these risks, pirates developed a system of insurance, pooling their resources to ensure financial security for their fellow crew members.

How Pirate Insurance Worked:

Pirate insurance functioned similarly to modern workers’ compensation or disability insurance. When a pirate crew set sail, each member would contribute a portion of their potential spoils to a communal fund. This fund, or “insurance pool,” would then be used to compensate crew members who suffered injuries or the families of those who perished in action.

Pirate Articles of Agreement, or “pirate codes,” often outline specific compensation amounts for various injuries. For example, losing a limb might entitle a pirate to a set sum from the insurance pool, while losing an eye might warrant a different amount. These articles aimed to ensure that injured pirates and their families would not be left destitute, despite the crew’s criminal activities.

The Role of Pirate Captains:

Much like today’s insurance brokers, pirate captains played a crucial role in managing pirate insurance. They were responsible for overseeing the collection and distribution of funds and enforcing the agreed-upon compensation rates. Some pirate captains, such as the infamous Blackbeard, were known for their strict adherence to the pirate code, ensuring their crew members received due compensation.

The Pirate’s Perspective: Edward “Blackbeard” Teach’s Insurance Experience

While we may not have explicit records of a particular pirate receiving compensation from their insurance pool, historical accounts suggest that many pirates, including the infamous Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, held their insurance system in high regard.

Blackbeard, one of the most feared pirates of his time, was known to be a strict enforcer of the pirate code. As captain, he was crucial in managing the insurance system onboard his ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Blackbeard was adamant about ensuring that his crew members received their due compensation should they suffer injuries or loss of life.

Under Blackbeard’s command, the pirate crew abided by a comprehensive set of articles that outlined compensation rates for various injuries. The crew valued their insurance system, knowing it provided them with financial security in an otherwise tumultuous and dangerous profession.

While specific instances of Blackbeard’s crew receiving compensation might not be documented, the pirate captain’s dedication to upholding the insurance system highlights the importance of financial protection for pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy.

We’re Here for You!

While we don’t condone piracy, the surprising history of pirate insurance sheds light on the universal need for financial protection, regardless of one’s profession or lifestyle. Page Insurance is dedicated to helping you find the best insurance solutions for your unique needs, whether navigating stormy seas or simply driving to work. Contact us today to learn more about our wide selection of products and to discover how much we can save you in premiums.

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John Page, President of Page Insurance, has been a driving force in the insurance industry since 1999. As a licensed agent in Property & Casualty, Life, and Health insurance, John has won numerous awards for agency management and works tirelessly to improve agency operations with the client in mind. He is passionate about building and investing in the Page team of experts, ensuring they deliver top-notch service to clients. In his free time, John enjoys snowmobiling, gaming, reading, traveling with his wife and three kids, and cheering on the local Idaho Falls hockey team.