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Hellwege, P. (Ed.) (2020). Professional Guilds and the History of Insurance. A Comparative Analysis. Duncker & Humblot.
Hellwege, Phillip. Professional Guilds and the History of Insurance: A Comparative Analysis. Duncker & Humblot, 2020. Book.
Hellwege, P (ed.) (2020): Professional Guilds and the History of Insurance: A Comparative Analysis, Duncker & Humblot, [online]


Professional Guilds and the History of Insurance

A Comparative Analysis

Editors: Hellwege, Phillip

Comparative Studies in the History of Insurance Law / Studien zur vergleichenden Geschichte des Versicherungsrechts, Vol. 7


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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 present 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.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Preface 5
Summary of Contents 7
Phillip Hellwege; Chapter 1: Introduction 9
A. Professional guilds and the history of insurance 9
B. The state of research on guild support 10
C. Defining the research object 15
D. Methodological problems 19
Dirk Heirbaut; Chapter 2: Mutual Aid in the Craft Guilds of the Late Medieval and Early Modern Southern Netherlands (Belgium) 21
A. Introduction: a historiographical gap 21
B. The diversity of guild solidarity 26
C. Guild solidarity as a mark of social status 29
D. Sources of revenue 32
E. Allowances and other forms of mutual aid 36
F. Guild solidarity and religion 41
G. Conclusion 45
Maarten Prak; Chapter 3: Guilds and Mutual Aid in the Northern Netherlands 47
A. Introduction 47
B. The emergence of guild mutual aid 50
C. Scale of guild coverage in the 17th and 18th centuries 52
D. Scope of guild insurance in the 17th and 18th centuries 56
E. Alternative forms of mutual insurance before and after the abolition of the guilds (1820) 60
F. Conclusion 61
Phillip Hellwege; Chapter 4: Professional Guilds and the History of Social Security and Insurance in the German-Speaking World 63
A. Introduction 63
B. Guild support from the Middle Ages to the 17th century 64
I. Supporting master craftsmen and their families 64
II. Supporting journeymen 70
III. Supporting miners and their families 74
IV. Conclusion 78
C. Guild support and insurance in the 17th and 18th centuries 79
I. Supporting craftsmen and their families 79
II. Supporting miners and their families 84
III. Contextualizing the process of transformation 84
IV. Conclusion 88
D. The evolution of Germany’s modern social security schemes in the 19th century 88
I. The crafts 89
II. The mining sector 90
III. Factory workers 91
IV. Poor relief and municipal health insurance funds 92
V. Conclusion 93
VI. Bismarck’s social security legislation 94
E. Guild support and modern insurance? 96
F. Conclusion 97
Patrick Wallis; Chapter 5: Guilds and Mutual Aid in England 99
A. Introduction 99
B. Guilds and mutual insurance 103
C. Guilds and charity 109
D. Guilds and friendly societies 113
E. Conclusion 118
Appendix: London guild ordinances 120
Martin Sunnqvist; Chapter 6: Scandinavia 123
A. Introduction 123
I. Merchants’ and craft guilds 123
II. The transfer of guilds to Scandinavia 124
B. Fire insurance 125
I. Guilds of St. Canute and St. Eric 125
II. Craft guilds 126
III. Guilds in the countryside 127
C. Maritime insurance 127
I. Guilds of St. Canute 127
II. Specific maritime insurance 128
1. Skippers’ guilds 128
2. The maritime insurance of the skippers’ guild in Flensburg 129
D. Poverty and funeral insurance 129
I. Denmark-Norway 129
II. Sweden 131
E. Concluding remarks 131
David Deroussin; Chapter 7: Guilds, Confraternities and Mutual Assistance in France 133
A. Introduction 133
B. Methodological observations 136
I. Guilds, confraternities, and three resulting methodological problems 136
II. The lack of primary sources 138
III. Professional and religious confraternities 139
IV. The relationship between guilds and confraternities 140
C. Forms of support, covered risks, and the requirements for support 143
I. Support relating to the religious dimensions of confraternities 144
II. Support in the case of illness and poverty 145
III. Support in other cases 148
IV. Four final remarks 149
1. The problem of moral hazard 149
2. The practical importance of support granted by confraternities 149
3. Risks related to professional activities 150
4. Parallels to 19th-century mutual benefit societies 151
D. Financing the support schemes 151
I. Fines and penalties 152
II. Admission fees 153
III. Periodical contributions 154
IV. Summary 156
E. Charity, assistance, or insurance? 157
I. Differences between modern insurance and confraternity support with respect to the finances 158
II. Differences between modern insurance and confraternity support with respect to beneficiaries of support 159
III. Financial support granted in the form of a loan 161
F. Conclusion 162
Marina Gazzini; Chapter 8: Guilds and Mutual Support in Medieval Italy 165
A. Introduction 165
B. Terminological observations and geographical limitations 167
C. The need for security: an aspiration long neglected by historians 173
D. Mutual support in medieval Italian guilds and confraternities 175
I. Legal, economic and political risks in urban and rural contexts 177
II. The financial risk of old age 181
III. Confraternities for disabled people – disability and infirmity in medieval society 182
IV. Guilds and medieval hospitals 184
E. Mututal support, crypto-insurance and charity 187
F. Towards the modern age – between continuity and discontinuity 189
José A. Nieto Sánchez and Victoria López Barahona; Chapter 9: Guilds, Confraternities and Mutual Support in Medieval and Early Modern Spain 193
A. Introduction 193
B. Professional confraternities from the Middle Ages to the 16th century 195
C. Guilds and confraternities in the early modern period 200
D. Mutual aid brotherhoods in the early modern period 207
E. The reform of confraternities 211
F. Conclusions 214
Jakub Pokoj; Chapter 10: Guilds and Mutual Protection Schemes in Poland in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods 217
A. Introduction 217
B. Terminological observations 217
C. The first guilds in Poland and their functions regarding mutual protection 220
D. Guilds and mutual protection schemes in Poland 224
I. The 1466 statutes of the weavers’ guild in Rymanów 225
II. The 1613 statutes of the helmsmen’s guild in Toruń 226
III. Other guilds in Toruń 227
IV. The 1580 statutes of the musicians’ guild in Lwów 229
V. The 1689 statutes of the brewers’ guild in Bydgoszcz 231
VI. The 1601 statutes of the goldsmiths’ guild in Poznań 232
E. Summary 234
Balázs Rigó; Chapter 11: Guild Support in Hungary (1307–1872) 239
A. The state of research on guilds 239
B. The state of research on poor relief, public welfare and social insurance 242
C. The development of guilds in Hungary 243
D. Guild membership as a key to understanding guild support 246
I. The importance of parentage, honest conduct and marriage 247
II. The preferential treatment of sons of masters and of journeymen marrying widows and daughters of masters 253
III. Losing guild membership 258
IV. Conclusion 261
E. The beneficiaries, forms, and details of guild support 261
F. Principles of guild support 267
G. Conclusion: marriage at any cost 269
Phillip Hellwege; Chapter 12: Comparative Analysis 271
A. The objective of the present volume 271
B. A first phase of guild support: from the Middle Ages to the 17th century 271
C. A second phase of guild support: the 17th and 18th centuries 275
D. A third phase of guild support: the 18th and 19th centuries 277
E. Conclusion 278
List of Contributors 281
Index 282