Of course, Quotes Chimp could be argued that insurance has been with us since the dawn of civilization. Early Chinese merchants are frequently credited with having been the first to understand the concept of spreading risk. Not that they had a Lloyd's of Peking, mind you, but they reached a clever agreement to protect each individual against the losses and ravages of weather, bandits, and other perils of the time. That agreement allowed each merchant to ship a small part of his cargo in each of several caravans that would be sent out. If a boat sank in the roaring rapids of the Yangtse river, all of the merchants would lose a small portion of their goods instead of one merchant losing everything.