Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Rush

Mr. Benjamin Rush served the insurance industry as loss prevention pioneer, as corporate executive, underwriter and government advisor. Often called the Father of Modern Marine Underwriting, he developed a classification system for marine risks by analyzing marine losses; initiating marine loss control programs, and identifying the profitability of various segments of the market.

Further, he developed a system for engineering exposures to make them profitable for insurers. Rather than refuse insurance, Rush preferred to bring in engineers with insurance experience who were able to recommend modifications in equipment and procedures to reduce loss potential. Carrying the science of loss prevention beyond anything previously know, he hired engineers with insurance experience to assist assureds in fire prevention and established the Marine Services Department which proved instrumental in preventing looses to cargo. He considered loss prevention not only good business, but also a "moral responsibility."

In 1898, he introduced what was then considered to be the first contingency contract (profit sharing) relationship for producers. In addition, he was one of the first to introduce merit rating on the part of casualty companies and he fostered the idea of issuance of participating policies by stock insurers.

He was instrumental in forming Marine Hull Syndicates in 1922 and for three years he served as Chairman of the Board of Managers. Under his administration, these organizations were launched as important factors in the creation of the modern mercantile marine. He was also one of the founders of the American Foreign Insurance Association.

He served many years in the Insurance Company of North America (INA). His concern for loss prevention led to his advocacy of social consciousness in insurers’ corporate activities. He was one of the earliest consumerists and he tried within his own firm to demonstrate his concern for policyholders. He often argued that client interests be placed before those of owners and employees.

Benjamin Rush was a spokesman in behalf of change in the insurance business, and he was a vigorous opponent of cartels in any aspect of business. He was willing to subjugate the interest of his own company to those of society by acting as a major force in developing the American Hull Insurance Syndicate. He saw the need to rehabilitate American hull insurance after World War I, and the Syndicate was an effective instrument to achieve that end.

The lessons learned by Mr. Rush in his marine underwriting then led to his starting the multi-line movement in North American. He recognized the importance of meeting consumers' total property-liability insurance needs through one contract and a series of separate products. He worked to assure the passage of the first state statute to grant multi-line underwriting powers to individual insurers.