Congratulations to ICP on 40 years of publishing the finest magazine catering to the insurance meeting planners of the world. I say this because I'm pretty sure it is the only magazine catering to the insurance meeting planners of the world, but even if it isn't it's by far and away the finest one for which I have ever been a feature writer.

Forty years is a long time to be in business, and a lot can happen over four decades. Take names for instance. This magazine used to be known as ICP, but beginning with this issue, it will be called FIM, which has the same number of vowels but is easier to pronounce. Many celebrities have changed their names over time. For instance, Elton John used to be Reginald Dwight; Tina Turner used to be Anna Mae Bullock; and 50 Cent used to be known as Nickel. So, welcome FInancial & Insurance Meetings!

But even more has changed in the insurance industry in the last 40 years. Debit routes, for instance, have gone the way of rate books, and sitting down to discuss insurance at a client's kitchen table over a cup of coffee has given way to sitting down to discuss insurance at a client's gourmet granite kitchen counter over a cup of cappuccino. But in the overall scope of things, 40 years is just a drop in the bucket when you consider that the insurance industry has been around for centuries.

The earliest form of insurance was created in China during the Wang Chung dynasty — right around the time the Chinese invented gunpowder and used it to make fireworks. Unfortunately, fireworks led to people losing fingers and hands because they failed to follow the simple directions: “Light fuse; get away.” This loss of appendages led to the creation of insurance.

Insurance first appeared in Europe in 1346 when Medieval Life Insurance opened its doors. Business was brisk and flourished until 1347 when the bubonic plague came to town. Medieval Life went belly up shortly thereafter.

Insurance arrived in America at the same time as the Pilgrims. In fact, Plymouth Rock Life and Casualty was the first company to use the phrase, “Own a piece of the rock,” because they gave away a chunk of Plymouth Rock with every policy. Sales were so good that they chipped the rock away completely and had to change their name to Plymouth Bay Life and Casualty, thus making way for another company to latch on to the now familiar slogan.

Dental insurance was “founded” by George Washington, who found a clause in his homeowner's policy that covered all of the wood in his house. So, he just chiseled his new choppers out of a chunk of baseboard and voilà, his teeth were automatically covered for termite damage.

Nowadays, you can find insurance to cover just about anything. In addition to your life, your car, and your home, you can purchase insurance to cover you if you are a passenger on a bus. This is known as a rider rider.

Over the years, insurance has affected all of us. Every one of us knows someone who either sells insurance, has sold insurance, or will sell insurance, and we will be obligated to buy from all of them. But we will do so cheerfully because insurance protects us against our losses and provides a solid base for our financial future. Most important, however, is that without insurance, every one of us would be unemployed.

To have Dale Irvin professionally summarize your next meeting, call Speak Inc. at (848) 457-9880.