CHILE - A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe
Project Title: A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe
Project Acronym: CHILE
Project Number: 647019
Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Phillip Hellwege
Host Institution: Universität Augsburg
Project Duration: 1 September 2015 - 28 February 2021
The project's objective
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.
The state of research
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 different 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.
The starting points
The project takes these points of interaction as starting points for in-depth research into the history of insurance law in Europe. It is, for example, known that English life and fire insurers were 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.
Reassessing the history of insurance law
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.
The three ingredients to the project
There are three ingredients to the project: (1) Phillip Hellwege will supervise in total 12 doctoral students. (2) Over the five years of the project Phillip Hellwege will organize a number of conferences each resulting in a conference volume. (3) In the end of the project Phillip Hellwege will publish a monograph on the history of insurance law in Europe.
Dr. Michael Bachmann
Research Associate and PhD-Student (15/9/2015-30/9/2018)
Dr. Matthias Bogner
Research Associate and PhD-Student
Research Associate and PhD-Student
Dr. Antonio Di Mieri
Research Associate and PhD-Student
Dr. Katharina Doll
Research Associate and PhD-Student
Research Associate and PhD-Student (15/9/2015-30/9/2018)
Dr. Silvia Karmann
Research Associate and PhD-Student (1/6/2016-30/11/2018)
Dr. Veronika Leitenbacher
Research Associate and PhD-Student (1/6/2015-31/8/2019)
Dr. Sinem Ogis
Research Associate and PhD-Student (26/10/2015-31/12/2018)
Dr. Florian Siegwart
Research Associate and PhD-Student
Dr. Delphine Sirks
Research Associate and PhD-Student
Dr. Laura Zampano
Research Associate and PhD-Student (1/10/2015-31/12/2018)
2.2.2022 | Delphine Sirks, Fire and Life Insurance in the Dutch Republic. Development and legal aspects, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2022, 233 S.
In her dissertation, Delphine Sirks assesses the history and development of fire and life insurance in the Dutch Republic (1581- 1795). She tests the generally accepted narrative that fire and life insurance (law) were simply offspring of marine insurance. As a consequence of this narrative, literature generally treats the history of fire and life insurance (law) as annex to the history of marine insurance (law). In her dissertation, Delphine Sirks puts the history of fire and life insurance in the spotlight. Delphine Sirks has written her dissertation as part of the ERC funded research project CHILE. Within the project, she has been a research associate at Augsburg University from 2018 to 2020.
14.9.2021 | Phillip Hellwege (ed.), Essays on a Comparative History of Fire Insurance, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2021, 230 S.
The aim of the present volume is to reassess the history of fire insurance and fire insurance law in selected European countries from comparative perspectives. Its point of departure is the observation that today’s state of research is unsatisfactory. Foremost, the history of fire insurance and fire insurance law presents itself differently in the various European historiographies. German authors usually assert that modern fire insurance is rooted in medieval and early modern guild support, and German literature further claims that state-run fire insurance schemes as first established towards the end of the seventeenth century were of particular importance for the development of modern fire insurance. By contrast, English literature often treats fire insurance and fire insurance law as being the offspring of marine insurance. Research in many other European countries follows English literature in treating fire insurance as being firmly rooted in marine insurance. The present volume revisits these different narratives.
31.8.2021 | Laura Zampano, Die Ursprünge der Versicherungsaufsicht in Deutschland und Italien aus historisch-vergleichender Perspektive, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2021, 210 S.
In her dissertation, Laura Zampano analyses the genesis of insurance regulation and insurance regulation law in Germany and Italy from the perspective of comparative legal history.
4.6.2021 | Phillip Hellwege (ed.), Widows and the History of Insurance, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2021, 173 S.
The aim of the latest volume resulting from the ERC-funded project on a comparative history of insurance law in Europe is to analyse the genesis of modern life insurance by focusing on one specific purpose which life insurance serves: seeking provision for widowhood. This focus follows from the understanding that the evolution of life insurance can only be understood if its genesis is embedded in the history of the many competing and often insufficient strategies for the support of widows and the many strategies which widows employed to support themselves. This general framework was different across Europe. By contrast, the fact that life insurance is said to have been banned in some European countries, the different advancement in actuarial science, and the distribution of wealth cannot fully explain the late arrival of modern life insurance in some European countries. Finally, the approach taken in this volume allows to compare English life insurance products to traditional Continental European pension products.
30.4.2021 | Florian Siegwart, Englische und französische Feuerversicherungsbedingungen vor 1900. Gemeinsamkeiten – Einflussnahmen – Unterschiede, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2021, 170 S.
Modern literature usually claims - however, without further proof - that in the late eighteenth and then in the nineteenth century Continental European insureres more or less copied the terms and conditions of their English competitors. Dr. Florian Siegwart revists this proposition for French fire insurance before 1900.
6.4.2021 | Antonio Di Mieri, Die Feuerversicherung im italienischen Codice di commercio von 1882. Seeversicherungsrechtliche Tradition, Feuerversicherungspraxis und die Rezeption ausländischen Rechts, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2021, 239 S.
Modern literature usually assumes that nineteenth-century legislation on insurance conract law simply mirrored the insurers’ general terms and conditions. With respect to the Italian Codice di commercio of 1882, modern research furthermore assumes an influence of the Belgian insurance legislation of 1874. Dr. Antonio Di Mieri revists both these propositions. He comes to the conclusion that there was indeed a significant Belgian impact on the provisions on insurance in the 1882 Codice. However, these provisions were also influenced by the Italian law on marine insurance. By contrast, the impact of insurance practice on the 1882 Codice was minimal. Rather, there were significant differences between the provisions found in the Codice and insurance practice.
1.4.2021 | Phillip Hellwege and Guido Rossi (eds.), Maritime Risk Management. Essays on the History of Marine Insurance, General Average and Sea Loan, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2021, 304 S.
Insurance is a legal, an actuarial and a financial product, and it is one out of many risk management strategies. It follows that its history can only be studied in the broader context of the development of such strategies, applying an interdisciplinary approach. The theme of the present volume is maritime risk management. After an overview over the history of insurance, the contributions to the present volume examine different maritime risk management strategies by adopting a variety of methodological approaches. Some contributions focus on normative provisions, others contrast practice with legal scholarship, or focus on the emergence of insurance companies as opposed to individual insurers. Again, other contributions give insights in marine insurance practice in specific cities or analyse insurance practice through the lens of specific insurance litigation. As to the time frame, the different contributions span from antiquity to the nineteenth century.
19.3.2021 | Katharina Doll, Die Lebensversicherung in Italien von den Anfängen bis 1800. Entwicklungen, Erklärungsansätze und Alternativen, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2021, 210 p.
Katharina Doll analyses the development of life insurance in Italy up to 1800. The starting point of her study is the observation that modern research often refers to a number of different legal institutes and financial products as predecessor of modern life insurance in Italy without ever discussing them in detail. Dr. Doll comes to the conclusion, that these potential predecessors have never fully developed into a modern life insurance market and she offers explanations for these findings.
11.2.2021 | Silvia Karmann, Die Ordonnance de la marine und die französische Versicherungspraxis. Die Entwicklung des Versicherungsvertragsrechts in Frankreich vom Guidon de la mer bis zum Code de commerce, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2021, 346 p.
Silvia Karmann analysis in her thesis the influence of insurance practice on early French insurance conract law legislation. Her focus is on the Ordonnance de la marine of 1681. She contextualizes the Ordonnance by analysing the earlier French insurance practice as well as the provisions of the Guidon de la mer and by following the developments up to the Code de commerce of 1807.
2.11.2020 | Phillip Hellwege, From Guild Welfare to Bismarck Care. Professional guilds and the origins of modern social security and insurance law in Germany, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2020, 348 p.
German literature on the history of insurance stresses the importance of professional guilds for the shaping of insurance and insurance law. Similarly, scholars researching the genesis of Germany’s social security claim the importance of guilds as predecessor of social security. However, there is a problem with both narratives: the impact of guilds is commonly asserted but has never been analytically established. Against this background, the present contribution offers an analysis of the support offered by professional guilds from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. Its overall conclusion is that modern literature is correct in holding that Germany’s social security is rooted in guild welfare. However, medieval guild support had to go through two phases of transformation in the early modern period and in the nineteenth century before it was apt as a model for Bismarck’s social security legislation. By contrast, professional guilds had no direct impact on modern insurance and insurance law.
18.9.2020 | Phillip Hellwege (ed.), Professional Guilds and the History of Insurance. A Comparative Analysis, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2020, 288 p.
German literature claims that modern insurance (law) has three roots: marine insurance, the co-operative protection provided by medieval and early modern guilds, and state-run insurance schemes. By contrast, English scholars suggest that there is only one root for modern insurance (law): marine insurance (law). The literature on the developments in other European countries follows similar narratives. It seems that in these countries, guilds have had no influence on the formation of insurance. The aim of the volume is to test these different narratives. More specifically, the objective is to assess from a comparative perspective (i) whether it is possible to analyse in terms of insurance the support offered by medieval and early modern professional guilds to members in need and (ii) whether guild support had a lasting impact on the development of modern insurance and insurance law. To this end, the present volume covers various European countries followed by a comparative analysis.
1.8.2020 | Veronika Leitenbacher, Die Entwicklung der Versicherungsaufsicht in Frankreich. Vom Ancien Régime bis zum ersten Versicherungsaufsichtsgesetz 1938, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2020, 248 p.
The development of the French law of insurance regulation has, thus, far not received much attention by modern research, and the picture wich modern literature draws is often incoherent. Against this background, Veronika Leitenbacher fully analyses in her monograph the development of the law of insurance regulation from the Ancien Régime to the enactment of the first French Insurance Regulation Act of 1938.
14.11.2019 | Michael Bachmann, Die französischen Lebensversicherungsbedingungen zwischen 1788 und 1880. Englischer Einfluss und autonome Entwicklung, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2019, 388 p.
Modern literature claims that English insurers have coined continental life insurance practice in the 19th century. It is thought that especially French life insurers have simply copied and translated the standardized insurance contract terms of their English competitors. However, these assertations have never been verified by an in-depth analysis of French insurance practices and conditions. Michael Bachmann analyses the development of the practices and conditions of French life insurers between 1788 and 1880. Indeed, he is able to find examples of obvious transplants, but he is also able to trace examples of autonomous French developments.
8.11.2019 | Sinem Ogis, The Influence of Marine Insurance Law on the Legal Development of Life and Fire Insurance in England, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2019, 244 p.
Sinem Ogis addresses in her monograph the question whether English insurance law is in its entirety rooted in marine insurance. English literature and case law indeed often assert that life and fire insurance are nothing more than offspring of marine insurance. To describe life and fire insurance law as offspring of marine insurance suggests that the legal rules and principles as developed in the context of marine insurance were simply transferred as a whole to life and fire insurance. However, it is possible that the legal development happened differently. There could rather have been a convergence of the different legal regimes. By answering this research question, Sinem Ogis unfolds the roots of modern insurance business in England as well as the evolution of English insurance law.
31.10.2018 | Phillip Hellwege, A History of Tontines in Germany. From a multi-purpose financial product to a single-purpose pension product, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2018, 188 p.
A tontine may be described as a pooled life annuity. Investors buy shares, and the issuer promises to pay interest on the raised capital. The characteristic feature of tontines is that the annuities of deceased investors are shared by surviving investors. With the death of the last survivor, the issuer's obligation to pay annuities terminates and the issuer has no obligation to pay the raised capital back. Investors may use a tontine as a pension product and the issuer may use it as a means to raise capital. It is generally believed that the Italian Lorenzo Tonti (1602-1684) invented tontines and that he proposed them to Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661) in 1653.
Phillip Hellwege analyses the origins of tontines, their occurrence and their diverse designs in German-speaking territories from the middle of the 17th century to their decline in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Furthermore, he assesses their importance for the development of insurance (law) in Germany.
31.10.2018 | Phillip Hellwege (ed.), The Past, Present, and Future of Tontines. A Seventeenth Century Financial Product and the Development of Life Insurance, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2018, 413 p.
A tontine may be described as a pooled life annutiy. Investors buy shares, and the issuer promises to pay interest on the raised capital. The characteristic feature of tontines is that the annuities of deceased investors are shared by surviving investors. With the death of the last survivor, the issuer's obligation to pay annuities terminates and the issuer has no obligation to pay the raised capital back. Investors may use a tontine as a pension product and the issuer may use it as a means to raise capital. It is generally believed that the Italien Lorenzo Tonti (1602-1684) invented tontines and that he proposed them to Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661) in 1653.
The different authors analyse the origins of tontines their divers development and careers in selected countries, their importance for the development of insurance (law), their declince in the late 19th and early 20th century and their potential as a pension product of the future.
17.8.2018 | Phillip Hellwege (ed.), A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe, A Research Agenda, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2018, 253 p.
The history of insurance law has fallen into neglect. It is only recently that the topic has again received attention from legal historians. However, the state of research is still unsatisfactory. Foremost, there are distinct national narratives of insurance (legal) history. And these narratives give the impression of insurance (law) being developed differently in the single European countries. The present volume works out a research agenda for a comparative history of insurance law in Europe. For that purpose the contributions to this volume present the state of research in different European countries and identify possible points of interactions between the national developments of insurance law. Future research will focus on these points of interactions. The present volume is, thus, the starting point and framework for future research in the history of insurance law in Europe.
30.3.2016 | Phillip Hellwege, A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe, (2016) 56 American Journal of Legal History 66-75.
Issue 1/2016 has been the inaugural issue of the American Journal of Legal History under a new editorship and with Oxford University Press as new publisher. For this occasion, a number of legal historians were invited to reflect on the future of legal history. In his contribution, Phillip Hellwege outilined the project on a comparative history of insurance law in Europe.
Over the five years of the project, in total five conferences will be organized each resulting in a conference volume.
Fifth Conference: The Risk of Fire - September 2019
The fifth and last conference was held on 13 and 14 September 2019. It focused on a specific risk: the risk of fire. The speakers covered the historical genesis of fire insurance, its historical developments, the structure of fire insurers and the offered insurance products in the Netherlands, England, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and Germany. On the basis of these reflections, the speakers were able to analyse the history of fire insurance law from comparative perspectives. Prof. Dr. Phillip Hellwege welcomed at the conference Prof. Dr. Maura Fortunati and Dr. Federica Furfaro (Genoa), Prof. Dr. Jerònia Pons Pons (Seville), Dr. Sinem Ogis (former team member), Prof. Dr. David Deroussin (Lyon), and Dr. Martin Sunnqvist (Lund). Finally, three team members gave presentations covering the developments in the Netherlands, England, and Germany: Delphine Sirks, Matthias Bogner, and Ervis Caja. A conference volume will appear in 2020.
Fourth Conference: Providing for Widows - July 2019
The fourth conference was held on 5 and 6 July 2019. It was dedicated to the different means of providing for widows in comparative context. After the second conference had focussed on a specific financial product and the third conference with guilds on a specific institution, the fourth conference was dedicated to a specific group of beneficiaries. Prof. Dr. Geoffrey W. Clark (New York), Prof. Dr. Bram van Hofstraten and Manon Moerman (Maastrich), Dr. Martin Sunnqvist (Lund), José Antolin Nieto Sánchez and Maria del Mar Hernández Escudero (Madrid), Giovanni Ceccarelli (Parma), and Christel Chaineaud (Bordeaux) had accepted the invitations to come to Augsburg. A conference volume will appear in 2020.
Third Conference: Guild Welfare and the History of Insurance Law in Europe - February 2018
The third conference was held in Augsburg on 9 and 10 February 2018. In Germany it is traditionally alleged that guild welfare played an important role in forming insurance as an institution and insurance law. In German literature it is usually alleged that insurance as an institution and insurance law has three distinct roots: guild welfare, state-run insurance schemes and maritime insurance. However, a detailed analysis of the importance of guild welfare for the development of insurance law is still missing even for Germany. In other countries guild welfare plays only a minor role in the research on the history of insurance law. The conference wanted to assess the importance of guild welfare for the development of insurance and insurance law from comparative perspective. The following countries and regions were covered: Baltic States (Anu Mänd, Tallinn), Belgium (Dirk Heirbaut, Ghent), Germany (Phillip Hellwege), England (Patrick Wallis, London), France (David Deroussin, Lyon), Netherlands (Maarten Prak, Utrecht), Italy (Marina Gazzini, Parma), Poland (Jakub Pokoj, Krakow), Scandinavia (Martin Sunnqvist, Lund), Spain (José Antolin Nieto Sánchez and Victoria Lopez, Madrid) and Hungary (Balázs Rigo, Budapest). A conference volume will appear in 2019.
Second Conference: The Past, Present and Future of Tontines. A 17th century financial product and the development of life insurance - November 2016
The second conference was held on 11 and 12 November 2016. It was on tontines. Tontines are an investment product which was allegedly "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. The modern German literature claims that tontines were of extraordinary importance for the development of life insurance (law), however, without substantiating this proposition. A detailed analysis of the importance of tontines is still missing. Furthermore, one result of the first conference was that tontines existed also in other European countries. 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: Georges Gallais-Hamonno and Christian Rietsch (Orléans), Robin Pearson (Hull), Sophie Delbrel (Bordeaux), Maura Fortunati (Genoa), Rafael Illescas Ortiz (Madrid), Marcelo Nasser (Santiago, Chile), John Macleod (Glasgow), Kent McKeever (Columbia University), Martin Sunnqvist (Lund), Boudewijn Sirks (Oxford University), Jan Halberda (Krakow), Balázs Tökey (Budapest), Tamara Korchagina (Moscow), Jerònia Pons Pons (Sevilla), Bernard Harris (Glasgow), Salvatore Mancuso (Cape Town), Moshe A. Milevsky (Toronto), Jonathan B. Forman (Oklahoma), and Jan-Hendrik Weinert (Frankfurt).
The developments in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, England and Scotland, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, and Russia will be covered by the conference volume. In the end of the 19th century tontines offered by U.S. 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 Phillip Hellwege decided to invite a customary lawyer to the conference. And some American and Canadian scholars have recently argued that tontines should be reintroduced as a reaction to the current low interest phase. To give a complete picture of tontines, Phillip Hellwege decided to include this perspective in the conference, too. Finally, it was necessary to include financial historians and economic historians in the conference and in the volume.
First Conference: A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe. A research agenda - November 2015
The first conference on 6 and 7 November 2015 was on “A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe: A Research Agenda”. Phillip Hellwege had already proven in his research preceding the project that a comparative historical approach to insurance law is fruitful. Nevertheless, 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 and to work out an agenda for 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. Bruno Aguilera (Madrid), Sophie Delbrel (Bordeaux), Maura Fortunati (Genoa), John Macleod (Glasgow), and Martin Sunnqvist (Lund) covered the developments in Spain, France, Italy, England and Scotland, and Scandinavia. Dirk Heirbaut (Ghent) and Dave De ruysscher (Brussels) had submitted their papers on the Belgian developments. Phillip Hellwege covered Germany and the Netherlands. Finally, Bernard Harris (Glasgow) and Jerónia Pons Pons (Seville) were invited to comment on the findings from the perspectives of economic history and social history. A conference volume will appear in summer 2018.
Presentations by Phillip Hellwege
- Die durch mittelalterliche Zünfte gewährte soziale Sicherung als Wurzel des modernen (Sozial-)Versicherungsrechts?, Rechtshistorisches Abendgespräch, Institut für Rechtsgeschichte des Fachbereichs Rechtswissenschaften der Goethe Universität/Max-Planck-Institut für Rechtsgeschichte und Rechtstheorie, Frankfurt am Main, 27.1.2021.
- Die durch mittelalterliche Zünfte gewährte soziale Sicherung als Wurzel des modernen (Sozial-)Versicherungsrechts?, Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht, Hamburg, 9.1.2020.
- Guilds and the origins of modern insurance and social security in German, Faculty of Law and Administration, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, 21.10.2019.
- Tontines and the history of insurance law, Augsburg, 18.10.2019.
- Die Absicherung durch Zünfte und die Geschichte des Versicherungsrechts, Augsburg, 26.7.2019.
- Tontinen und die Geschichte des Versicherungsrechts, Juristische Gesellschaft Augsburg e.V., 25.9.2018.
- Tontines and the History of Insurance Law, Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt, 23.4.2018.
- Tontinen und die Geschichte des Versicherungsrechts, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg, 14.12.2017.
- Tontines and the History of Insurance Law, Comparative Law Discussion Group, Institute of European and Comparative Law, University of Oxford, 12.10.2017.
- Tontines and the History of Insurance Law, Edinburgh Law School, University of Edinburgh, 21.9.2017.
Presentations by Katharina Doll
- The Evolution of Life Insurance in Italy, Conference: Risk and the Insurance Business in History, Seville, 11.6.2019.
Presentations by Silvia Karmann
- The influence of the Guidon de la mer on early insurance contract law legislation in France, Ius Commune Conference 2018, Amsterdam, 30.11.2018.
- The influence of the practice of marine insurance concerning the risks on the first insurance contract legislation in France, XXIV Annual Forum of Young Legal Historians, Warsaw, 16.6.2018.
Presentations by Veronika Leitenbacher
- The historical development of insurance supervision in France, Conference: Risk and the Insurance Business in History, Seville, 11.6.2019.
Presentations by Sinem Ogis
- Insurable Interest, the Book of Orders and the Development of the English case law on Marine, Life and Fire Insurance, Ius Commune Conference 2018, Amsterdam, 30.11.2018.
- Comparison of Marine, Life and Fire Insurance under the Concept of Indemnification from the Sixteenth Century Onwards, XXIV Annual Forum of Young Legal Historians, Warsaw, 16.6.2018.
Presentations by Delphine Sirks
- The development of mutual fire insurance contracts in the Netherlands, Conference: Risk and the Insurance Business in History, Sevilla, 11. Juni 2019.
- The development of mutual fire insurance in the Zaanstreek during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Conference: 25th Annual Forum of Young Legal Historians, Brussels, 5.6. 2019.