People have been trading since the dawn of time. Early traders found ways to spread the risk of losing cargo whether it was using multiple vessels to transport goods or adhering to codes of restitution enacted by ancient kings. According to Wikipedia, maritime loans were made in ancient Athens which advanced money for voyages with repayment being cancelled if the ship was lost. Rates for the loans differed according to safe or dangerous times of year. Maritime insurance contracts were widespread in 15th century Genoa, with premiums that varied with risk.