Insurance is one of Hong Kong's oldest industries. In the nineteenth century the lucrative trade between China and Europe carried many risks — piracy, warfare, fire, loss of goods, and other mishaps. Dozens of different insurance firms — some home-grown, others imported — established themselves in the colony to protect ships and their cargoes. With the diversification of Hong Kong’s economy into manufacturing and services, and the development of life and health insurance policies, Hong Kong became a global centre of insurance. The industry continues to transform itself today through changing practices and new lines of business. This is the first comprehensive history of Hong Kong’s insurance industry, and argues its central importance in the economy. Typhoons, shipwrecks, fires, wars, political turbulence and unexpected events of all kinds provide a dramatic background to a fascinating survey. The book is richly illustrated with photographs and documents.