Skip to main content

A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - CHILE (A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-02-29

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.
There are three ingredients to the project: (1) The Principal Investigator will supervise in total twelve doctoral students. (2) Over the five years of the project the Principal Investigator is obliged to organize four conferences each resulting in a conference volume. (3) In the end of the project the Principal Investigator will publish a monograph summarizing the project's findings.

(1) The first ingredient to the project: PhD-dissertations

In total twelve topics are being worked on by PhD-students:

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.
7. The influence of foreign standard terms of contract on the practices of German insurers in the field of fire insurance,
8. The influence of maritime insurance on the development of life and fire insurance in Italy,
9. The influcence of insurance practice on the beginnings of insurance contract law legislation in Germany.
10. The influence of maritime insurance on the development of life and fire insurance in the Netherlands,
11. The influence of foreign standard terms of contract on the practices of French insurers in the field of fire insurance.
12. The influence of insurance practice on the beginnings of insurance contract law legislation in Italy.

The first three PhD-students have successfully completed the examination process. Two monographs resulting from PhD-theses have been published. One further monograph is in print.

(2) The second ingridient: conferences

Thus far, five conferences have been hosted at the University of Augsburg:

(a) A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe: A Research Agenda - November 2015

The first conference on 06 and 07/11/2015 was on the “A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe: A Research Agenda”. 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 on the history of insurance law in Europe and to work out the prospects 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 has the same title as the conference: “A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe: A Research Agenda”. 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 has the following summary of content:

Chapter 1: Introduction (Phillip Hellwege)
Chapter 2: Italy (Maura Fortunati)
Chapter 3: France (Sophie Delbrel)
Chapter 4: Spain (Miguel Ángel Morales Payán)
Chapter 5: Belgium (Dirk Heirbaut and Dave De ruysscher)
Chapter 6: Netherlands (Phillip Hellwege)
Chapter 7: England and Scotland (John MacLeod)
Chapter 8: Germany (Phillip Hellwege)
Chapter 9: Scandinavia (Martin Sunnqvist)
Chapter 10: A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe (Phillip Hellwege)
Chapter 11: The Economic Historian’s View (Jerònia Pons Pons)
Chapter 12: The Social Historian’s View (Bernard Harris)

The book has been the in
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.