History November 07, 2018 at 12:00 pm

6 thriving companies in the U.S. and UK that profited from slave trade

Farida Dawkins | Contributor

Farida Dawkins November 07, 2018 at 12:00 pm

November 07, 2018 at 12:00 pm | History

A ledger entry for policy No. 1055 taken out in 1847 by Nicholas Mills on the life of “Nathan York, Slave.” Mr. York had been insured under a previous policy, No. 447…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

New York Life Insurance

Despite the fact that New York Life Insurance’s first president James De Peyster Ogden described slavery as “evil,” this doesn’t negate the fact that the company sold insurance policies to slave owners in the interest of their slave’s lives. By 1847, a third of the policies held then was for slaves.

Previously called the Nautilus Mutual Life Insurance company, NYLI was founded in 1845 and is currently the third largest life insurance company in the United States. NYLI holds $570 billion in assets and is ranked number 69 on the 2018 Fortune 500 list.

Initially, the company sold fire and marine insurance but then ventured into the slave business because of the demand. Life insurance was a necessity for slave owners so they could reap further benefits from enslaving Africans as evidenced in the case of the Zong Massacre in which 133 slaves were thrown overboard in an attempt to collect on the insurance policies taken out on their lives.

NYLI is a subsidiary of AIG, another company which profited from slavery, as reported by The New York Times.


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