The Pearl Assurance Company began in 1857. It operated out of the Royal Oak pub, which was opposite the famous Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London’s East End. The Pearl Life Assurance & Sick Benefit Society began in 1862 and was located nearby. In 1864, these two organisations joined to form the basis of a new company called the Pearl Life Assurance Loan & Investment Company Ltd. By 1868 it had 59 locations in London and 28 in provincial towns.
Pearl Assurance concentrated on weekly premium life assurance. Most policies offered funeral expenses for a penny a week. Pearl evolved to become a major force in life insurance and financial services provision.
Pearl was taken over by AMP in March 1990 in the largest takeover of a British financial institution by an overseas organisation.
In 2009 the business was acquired by Liberty Acquisition Holdings which subsequently changed its name to Pearl Group. In March 2010 Pearl Group changed its name to Phoenix Group Holdings.
Pearl overprints appear on Life Policy stamps, including an inverted variety with thicker font and a handstamped version.