My favorite passage from my latest piece:

Speculative life insurance flourished. Contracts on the life of Admiral Byng saw premiums rise and fall with each day's testimony at his court martial, and paid off handsomely after his execution. When George II took to the field with his army ahead of the Battle of Dettingen, insurers offered 3:1 odds on his survival. In one particularly callous instance, when hundreds of Palatine refugees were stranded and starving on the outskirts of London, Lloyd's sold contracts on the number who would remain alive by particular dates.
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