HSB (formerly Hartford Steam Boiler) was founded in 1866 to address one of the 19th century’s most dangerous perils.

Steam, which powered the Industrial Revolution, enabled unprecedented levels of innovation and productivity, through factory machinery, locomotives and steamboats. But a key risk emerged: Steam boilers were exploding approximately one out of every four days, destroying businesses and causing fatalities across the country. In fact, the largest maritime disaster in U.S. history occurred in 1865 when the Sultana, a Mississippi River steamboat, took the lives of over 1800 people, including Union soldiers who were returning home from the Civil War.

The Hartford Polytechnic Club, a group of local business and civic leaders, explored what could be done about steam boiler explosions. Based on their discussions, members of the club founded Hartford Steam Boiler. Their idea: the establishment of better standards by understanding the underlying risk and associated technology, periodic inspection services, and a financial guarantee (i.e., insurance) to encourage inspections could dramatically reduce what many people thought were “acts of God.”

HSB’s IoT efforts are a continued evolution of the original model that combines technology with engineering and insurance. HSB CEO Greg Barats leads IoT for Munich Re, HSB’s parent company and one of the largest global reinsurers in the world. With a broad ecosystem, HSB builds its own hardware, software and data platform solutions; the company also partners with technology leaders and invests in relevant startups via its dedicated corporate Venture Capital fund.

(Source: https://www.munichre.com/hsb/en/about-hsb/hsb-group/history.html)

Related article: Creating the Tipping Point for Insurance IoT: How HSB and Its Partners Are Creating a Playbook for the Future