Despite the depressed conditions in the British insurance industry in the first 30 years of the 19th century, in 1824 two prominent City financiers, Sir Moses Montefiore and Nathan Mayer Rothschild, decided to set up a new insurance company distinguished by a larger share capital and a more influential board than any existing operation. They invited three other men eminent in the spheres of commerce and finance to become co-presidents; Samuel Guerney, MP John Irving, and Francis Baring of the powerful Baring banking family. The subscribed capital of £5 million was huge by the standards of the time. The new firm was named the Alliance Assurance Company.
The Alliance was principally notable for its expansion through the acquisition of established London, provincial and dominion insurance companies. This process of acquisition began in the 1840s and continued unabated into the first decade of the 20th century.
The Alliance offered both fire and life insurance from its founding and entered the accident business in 1907.
In 1959 the company merged with the Sun Insurance Company to form Sun Alliance. Today, the business is part of RSA, currently the second largest insurer in the UK.