As a curious note at the beginning of this year I would like to share with you the following:
Last December I saw an advertisement on the TV about an insurance company and there slogan was about them existing for 200 years. Of course, writing a blog about the county's history of 200 years ago, this interested me and I went immediately on the web to see their site. Although informative, there was some information missing that I thought relevant for a post and I thought it wouldn't hurt to write them an e-mail with some questions. Here's what they've answered , December 19th, and which I will translate to the dot.
«Bonança (how the enterprise was called before) was founded by José Diogo de Bastos, a renowned business man that had been the Director of the Companhia Bom Conceito, replaced in 1804 by the Nova Companhia Bom Conceito, an insurance company extinguished in 1808.
Another element of the business society was one of the most important houses in Lisbon at the time- the heirs of Anselmo da Cruz Sobral – who had been a great friend of the marquis of Pombal (one of the most important figures of 18th century Portuguese History).
Although the marine insurance was the most important of the set of interests of the Company, the first insurance done by Bonança was on September 30th 1808, a fire insurance «on the property of the houses referred at the bridge of Alcântara that are attached to the South to the tercenas (land property) of His Excellency the Marquis of Pombal...» (probable quote of a period text). The ensured person was Ângelo José da Silva Freire, and important industrial. The first marine insurance was done in October 1st and had the purpose the hull and load of the ship that came from Porto to Lisbon, having the ship arrived without loss or damage at it's destiny.
Bonança was born in a troubled time and it's institution represented and exceptional and brave action, since it took the risk of uncertainty of the political situation and the economical depression lived at the time.
On August 30th, only 1 month before the the founding of the Company, the Sintra Convention had put and end to the 1st French Invasions, and there were many uncertainty about the future.
At that time, the largest part of our insurances were in the hands of foreigners because most of the other national insurance companies had closed.
The name chosen for the Company was an innovation comparing to what had been chosen until then for insurance companies, whose names were a result of the business people linked to them.
The chosen name was obviously linked to the aphorism “after the storm comes the calm” (Bonança in Portuguese), what, besides the historic opportunity, implied a strong suggestion to the life at sea.
Another curious point, the today's number 8 building in Chiado, where several of the Company's services still run, was a small palace build in the beginning of the 19th century, which in 1802 served as residence to the ambassador of France, who transfered it in 1805 to General Junot, the new representative of France at the date. In 1808 it was availed to install a part of the Napoleonic General Staff and, after the withdrawal of the French troops, was occupied by the British High Commissioner.»(picture soon)
I wanted to thank the Communications office of the Fidelidade Insurance Company and more so Mrs (or Ms) Filomena Pascoal for answering my questions. It is always nice not only to be replied but also with such diligence and kindness in sharing information.
For more information on the Insurance Company, here's a link to their site and the advertisement video I was talking about.