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A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - CHILE (A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe)

Reporting period: 2020-03-01 to 2021-02-28

The objective of the project was 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's starting point was the observation that today’s state of research in the field of the history of insurance law is unsatisfactory: with the exception of marine 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 has taken these points of interactions as a starting point for an in-depth research into the history of insurance law in Europe. On the basis of the research into these points of interactions it is, for the first time, possible to research into the doctrinal history of insurance law on a European level. The project has, thereby, helped to reassess the history of insurance law in Europe and it has created a historical basis for a European scholarship in the field of insurance law.
The project had three ingredients: (1) The PI has obliged himself to organize four conferences each resulting in a conference volume. (2) He has supervised twelve doctoral students who have published their findings in form of a monograph. (3) He obliged himself to publish a monograph.

(1) The first ingredient: conference volumes

The PI has obliged himself to publish four conference volumes. He has produced six volumes. He has over-delivered.

(a) P. Hellwege (ed.), A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe. A Research Agenda, 2018, 253 pp.

Even though the PI had proven in his preliminary research that a comparative historical approach to insurance law is fruitful, he had organized a conference to fully lay out the state of research on the history of insurance law and to work out the prospects of a comparative history of insurance law. The volume has been reviewed by: Loacker, (2021) 29 ZEuP 201; Brunori, (2020) 98/2 Revue historique de droit français et étranger 233; Gal, (2020) 84 RabelsZ 158; Cordes, (2019) 108 ZVersWiss 361 = (2019) 27 Rechtsgeschichte 375; Rossi, (2019) 78 Cambridge Law Journal 465.

(b) P. Hellwege (ed.), The Past, Present and Future of Tontines, 2018, 413 pp.

A tontine is a pooled life annuity. Tontines existed between the seventeenth and nineteenth century across Europe. Modern German literature claims that they were of extraordinary importance for the development of life insurance (law), however without substantiating this proposition. The volume offers a detailed analysis of the development, importance, and future of tontines. It has been reviewed by: Loacker, (2021) 29 ZEuP 201; Gal, (2020) 84 RabelsZ 162; Cordes, (2019) 108 ZVersWiss 361 = (2019) 27 Rechtsgeschichte 375; Lewin, The Actuary, 5 September 2019.

(c) P. Hellwege (ed.), Professional Guilds and The History of Insurance, 2020, 288 pp.

The third volume covers guild welfare. In Germany it is traditionally alleged that guild welfare played an important role in forming insurance as an institution and insurance law. The volume offers the first comparative analysis of the importance of guild welfare for the development of insurance.

(d) P. Hellwege (ed.), Widows and the History of Insurance, 2021, circa 170 pp.

The fourth conference volume is dedicated to the different means of providing for widows in comparative context. It discusses the genesis of modern life insurance by contextualizing life insurance as one out of many instruments to provide for widows. It thereby is able to offer new explanations to why life insurance has appeared in some countries later than in others. And it is able to reassess what were the novel aspects introduced by English life insurers.

(e) P. Hellwege (ed.), Essays on a Comparative History of Fire Insurance, 2021.

The fifth conference volume focuses on a specific risk: the risk of fire. It analyses the historical genesis of fire insurance, its historical developments, the structure of fire insurers and the offered insurance products in selected European countries.

(f) P. Hellwege and G. Rossi (ed.), Maritime Risk Management, 2021, 304 pp.

Finally, the PI has edited together with G. Rossi (Edinburgh) a volume which analyzes the history of different maritime risk management tools such as general average, sea loan and marine insurance.

(2) The second ingredient to the project: PhD-dissertations

Twelve topics have been worked on by PhD-students. Ten have already completed their degree. Two final students are shortly before submitting. These works have focused on (a) the impact of foreign insurance practices on other national insurance practices, (b) the influence of insurance practice on early insurance legislation, (c) the influence of marine insurance on the development of life and fire insurance, and (d) the beginnings of insurance supervision. Different PhD-students have worked on parallel topics covering different countries allowing us to gain a broader - comparative - picture of the developments.

(a) S. Ogis, The Influence of Marine Insurance Law on the Legal Development of Life and Fire Insurance in England, 2019, 244 pp.

(b) M. Bachmann, Die französischen Lebensversicherungsbedingungen zwischen 1788 und 1880, 2019, 388 pp.

(c) V. Leitenbacher, Die Entwicklung der Versicherungsaufsicht in Frankreich, 2020, 248 pp.

(d) S. Karmann, Die Ordonnance de la marine und die französische Versicherungspraxis, 2021, 346 pp.

(e) K. Doll, Die Lebensversicherung in Italien von den Anfängen bis 1800, 2021, 210 pp.

(f) A. Di Mieri, Die Feuerversicherung im italienischen Codice di commercio von 1882, 2021, 239 pp.

(g) F. Siegwart, Englische und französische Feuerversicherungsbedingungen vor 1900, 2021, circa 170 pp.

(h) M. Bogner, Das Versicherungsvertragsrecht – ein Spiegel der vorgesetzlichen Praxis?, 2021.

(i) D. Sirks, Fire and life insurance in the Dutch Republic, Duncker & Humblot, 2021.

(j) L. Zampano, Die Ursprünge der Versicherungsaufsicht in Deutschland und Italien aus historisch-vergleichender Perspektive.

(3) The third ingredient: a monograph

The work on a monograph summarizing the project's findings is in progress. However, the PI has already published two additional monographs, so that he has, again, over-delivered.

(a) P. Hellwege, A History of Tontines in Germany, 2018, 190 pp.

The first of these two monographs fully analyzes the history of tontines in Germany, supplementing the aforementioned conference volume. It has been reviewed by: Loacker, (2021) 29 ZEuP 201; Gal, (2020) 84 RabelsZ 165; Cordes, (2019) 108 ZVersWiss 361 = (2019) 27 Rechtsgeschichte 375.

(b) P. Hellwege, From Guild Welfare to Bismarck Care, 2020, 348 pp.

The second of these monographs results from the PI's research for the edited conference volume on guilds and it has been published in parallel to this conference volume. It further deepens the findings made for Germany.
The project has reassessed the history of insurance law in Europe and, thereby, has progressed beyond the state of the art. It, thus, has created a historical basis for a European legal scholarship in the field of insurance law.