Compute the interest

Another comment based on Sharon Ann Murphy’s wonderful book on 19th century life insurance in the US: She describes an 1852 case in which the American Mutual Insurance Company tried to renege on a claim, where a preëxisting condition was found in an autopsy.

Not surprisingly, the jury sided with the beneficiaries; they “were out thirteen minutes, just long enough to compute the interest” on the original claim.

Indeed, the verdict is not surprising. What is most surprising, however, is that the jury computed the interest. I wonder how likely it is that a jury of twelve today would include even a single person capable of computing compound interest.

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