Journal of Social and Economic Development

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 274–292 | Cite as

Insurance and risk practices: an exploration of religious texts to reveal the evolutionary development of insurance institutions

  • Ashu TiwariEmail author
  • Imlak Shaikh
  • Archana Patro
Research Paper


Archeological evidence shows that many ancient civilizations were engaged in practices resembling insurance to protect individuals from adverse economic loss. The present study argues that such protection mechanisms are indeed very old and have their roots in various religions, but rather than an economic orientation, they were governed by religious faith for collective survival. The concepts of protection, pooling, and temporal diversification of resources are discussed intensively in all religions. By exploring various religious texts, the present study identified four quasi-insurance arrangements, namely religious insurance, political insurance, mutual insurance, and institutional insurance. However, these protection arrangements vary in the degree to which they represent “strict adherence to faith” versus “laws of collective survival.” The argument of the present work is supported using the theory of religious evolution developed by Bellah in 1964.


Evolution of insurance Archeological evidence Civilizations Religious faith Religious texts Social systems Collective survival Protection Religious insurance Political insurance Institutional insurance Mutual insurance 


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Copyright information

© Institute for Social and Economic Change 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Management RohtakRohtakIndia
  2. 2.Management Development Institute GurgaonGurgaonIndia

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