The History of Legal &
The Legal & General Insurance Company is
one of the largest insurance and financial products companies based in the
United Kingdom. Today, Legal & General has expanded past the borders of
the UK to offer many of its products in France, Germany, the Netherlands,
and the United States as well.
Six lawyers joined together in 1836 to form a life assurance society
called the Legal & General Life Assurance Society, the entity that would
evolve over time into the Legal & General Group plc of today. Now more
than just a life assurance company, Legal & General also offers insurance,
investment vehicles, and other similar products.
All six initial members of Legal & General were lawyers, and it was not
until 1929 that non-lawyers were able to purchase life assurance from the
company. Sergeant John Adams was the first chairman of Legal & General and
later became a judge who was known for his concern for the proper
treatment of juvenile offenders. By the turn of the twentieth century, the
Legal & General Assurance Society’s total assets were four million pounds,
double the amount with which the company was established.
Legal & General did not escape the troubles that plagued the world economy
during the 1920s and 1930s, but it was during this period that the company
began to expand past the life assurance business with the addition of fire
and accident insurance policies. The company also made its first foray
into international finance when it purchased the pensions business from
the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company based in New York.
By 1956, the life assurance arm of Legal & General had been extended to
Australia, and company assets reached one billion pounds during the
following decade. The company officially became Legal & General Group plc
in the 1970s and greatly expanded its international reach during the
1980s, establishing branches in France and the Netherlands. These
expansions paid off because the managed assets totaled eighty-two million
pounds in the 1990s. The Legal & General Group established policies to
give shareholders more benefits during the 1990s as well, and steps were
taken to streamline company operations with the sale of the Legal &
General Australia portion of the company.
In the first decade of the twenty-first century, the Legal & General Group
has won several industry awards. Today it continues looking for new ways
to expand its business and serve its customers.