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ERC

CHILE Report Summary

Project ID: 647019
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CHILE (A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The objective of the project is to work out interactions between the national developments of insurance law in Europe, to explore the possibility of common historical roots of European insurance law, and to reassess the history of insurance law in Europe. The project does, thereby, aim at creating a historical basis for a European legal scholarship in the field of insurance law.

Today’s state of research in the field of the history of insurance law is unsatisfactory: with the exception of maritime insurance, modern research focuses on national developments and the history of insurance law is told differently in the European countries. Even though modern research suggests that there have been interactions between the national developments these interactions often appear to be only footnotes to a mainly national development.

For the first time, the project takes these points of interactions as a starting point for an in depth research into the history of insurance law in Europe. It is, to take an example involving England and Germany, known that English life and fire insurers where present on the German market since the late 18th century and that those who, in the beginning of the 19th century, were involved in founding the first commercial life and fire insurers in Germany had been working for English insurers. What needs to be explored is what impact this had on the practice and standard contract terms of German insurers. On the basis of the research into this and other points of interactions it will, for the first time, be possible to research into the doctrinal history of insurance law on a European level.

The project will help to reassess the history of insurance law in Europe and it will create a historical basis for a European scholarship in the field of insurance law: the harmonization of European insurance contract law is on the agenda. Comparative historical research will help to understand the existing differences between the insurance laws in Europe.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

There are three ingredients to the project: (1) The Principal Investigator will supervise a number of doctoral students. Under the agreement six positions for PhD-students over the time of five years are funded. As it is manageable to complete a doctoral thesis within 2.5 years the funding is good for twelve theses in total. (2) Over the five years of the project the Principal Investigator will organize a number of conferences each resulting in a conference volume. (3) In the end of the project the Principal Investigator will publish a monograph on the history of insurance law in Europe.

In the first reporting period six PhD-students have started working on their theses. The six topics which are being worked on are as follows:

1. The influence of foreign standard terms of contract on the practices of French insurers in the field of life insurance
2. The influence of foreign standard terms of contract on the practices of German insurers in the field of life insurance
3. The influence of foreign legislation on the beginnings of the administrative regulation of insurances in Germany and Italy
4. The influence of foreign legislation on the beginnings of the administrative regulation of insurances in France, Belgium, and Germany
5. The influence of insurance practices on the beginnings of insurance contract law legislation in France
6. The influence of maritime insurance on the development of life and fire insurance in England

In the first reporting period two conferences have been hosted at the University of Augsburg:

The first conference on 06 and 07/11/2015 was on the “Perspectives of a Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe”. Even though the Principal Investigator had proven in his preliminary research that a comparative historical approach to insurance law is fruitful, he had planned to organize a conference with scholars from different countries to fully lay out the state of research in the history of insurance law in Europe and to work out the perspectives of a comparative history of insurance law in Europe. Seven external experts were present at the conference. Two further external experts had submitted a working paper for the conference. The conference volume will have the same title as the conference: “Perspectives of a Comparative History Insurance Law in Europe”. It will cover Italy, France, Spain (with some observations on Portugal), Belgium, the Netherlands, England and Scotland, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. Furthermore, two experts were invited to comment from the perspectives of economic history and of social history. The book will be the inaugural volume of the overall project. And it will be the inaugural volume of a new series launched with the German publisher Duncker & Humblot with the title: “Comparative Studies in the History of Insurance Law/Studien zur vergleichenden Geschichte des Versicherungsrechts”.

The second conference was held on 11 and 12/11/2016. It was on tontines. Tontines are an investment product which was invented by Lorenzo Tonti in the middle of the 17th century. It is a pooled life annuity. For investors it functioned as an early form of pension scheme. Tontines existed between the 17th and 19th century across Europe. It is said that they had an influence on the development of life insurance (law). That was the reason why tontines were chosen as a topic for the second conference. 18 external experts were present at the conference. Three further external experts were not able to attend the conference, but submitted working papers for the conference. The developments in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, England and Scotland, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, and Russia will be covered by the conference volume. In the end of the 19th century tontines offered by US-American life insurance companies on the European market made many European legislators to ban tontines. For that reason it was necessary to include an American paper in the conference and it was decided to include the South American perspective, too. By name (but not in substance) tontines are still in use in Africa and in Eastern Asia. For that reason the Principal Investigator decided to invite a customary lawyer to the conference. And some American and Canadian scholars have recently argued that tontines should be reintroduced. To give a complete picture of tontines the Principal Investigator decided to include this perspective in the conference, too. Finally, it was necessary to include financial historians, economic historians and social historians in the conference and in the volume. The publication of the conference volume is planned for the end of 2017.

A third conference is currently planned for the end of 2017 or early 2018.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The project reassess the history of insurance law in Europe and, thereby, progresses beyond the state of the art.

The project aims at creating a historical basis for a European legal scholarship in the field of insurance law.
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