The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860

Slavery Era Insurance Registry

The Slave Era Insurance Registry is a database of policies covering enslaved people. In 2000, California passed a sunlight law based on its finding that "insurance policies from the slavery era have been discovered in the archives of several insurance companies, documenting insurance coverage for slaveholders for damage to or death of their slaves, issued by a predecessor insurance firm. These documents provide the first evidence of ill-gotten profits from slavery, which profits in part capitalized insurers whose successors remain in existence today." SB2199 Sec. 1(a). The corresponding law applies to companies doing business in California whose predecessors underwrote slave insurance policies.

From the site:

Below are links to the Department's report to the California Legislature describing the information received from insurers in response to this statute, including the database of slave and slaveholder names and identifying information.

After the publication of the Department's report on Slavery Era Insurance, New York Life Insurance Company pointed out clarifying information (pdf, 5,347 kb) that it had provided to the Department before the publication of the report.


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