Railway Passengers Assurance Company

Railway Passengers Assurance Company


The Railway Passengers Assurance Company was formed in 1848 to secure insurance against railway accidents which were then an almost daily occurrence. Agreements were reached with a number of railway companies whereby their clerks would sell insurance for journeys along with the tickets to travel and with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to pay a percentage tax on premiums rather than stamp duty on each policy issued. This last agreement was vital to the success of the company as booking clerks would not have been able to sell insurance if each policy had needed to be stamped upon purchase.

With these necessary agreements in place, the first advertisement for the company appeared in The Times in January 1849. Different premiums were offered depending on the class of fare. This was due to the higher risks involved in insuring those who travelled in the roofless second- and third-class coaches. Railway Passengers was thus the first company specifically established to undertake accident insurance, although its business was limited initially to accidents on the railway. Nonetheless, the company is a true pioneer in the field.

On November 6 1862, the company was incorporated under the Companies Act as the Railway Passengers Assurance Company. A further act of parliament in 1881 enabled the company to undertake employers’ liability insurance.

In 1965, the company’s South African business was transferred to the Commercial Union Assurance Company of South Africa Ltd while the company ceased undertaking marine and aviation insurance. Shares in the company were transferred to Commercial Union in 1968 and, from 1971, the company’s remaining business – fire and accident – was wholly re-insured with Commercial Union. O

n February 23 1981, the company was re-registered as a private company and, on March 11 2002, changed its name to the Railway Passengers Assurance Company Ltd. The company was dissolved on December 23 2005.