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Maritime Risk Management

Essays on the History of Marine Insurance, General Average and Sea Loan

Editors: Hellwege, Phillip | Rossi, Guido

Comparative Studies in the History of Insurance Law / Studien zur vergleichenden Geschichte des Versicherungsrechts, Vol. 11


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Book Details

About The Author

Prof. Dr. Phillip Hellwege M.Jur. (Oxford) ist seit 2010 Inhaber des Lehrstuhls für Bürgerliches Recht, Wirtschaftsrecht und Rechtsgeschichte an der Universität Augsburg. Zuvor war er von 2003 bis 2010 wissenschaftlicher Referent am Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht in Hamburg. 2015 erhielt er einen Consolidator Grant des European Research Council (ERC) für ein auf fünf Jahre angelegtes Projekt zur vergleichenden Geschichte des Versicherungsrechts in Europa. Seine Forschungsschwerpunkte liegen im Bürgerlichen Recht, im Europäischen Privatrecht, in der Historischen Rechtsvergleichung sowie in der Geschichte des Wirtschaftsrechts und des Versicherungsrechts.

Guido Rossi is a Reader in European Legal History at the University of Edinburgh. He is interested in medieval and early-modern legal history and the history of commercial and insurance law.


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.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Preface 5
Summary of Contents 7
Maritime Risk Management: Marine Insurance, General Average, Sea Loan 9
A. Introduction 9
I. Insurance as a legal product 9
II. Insurance as an actuarial product 11
III. Insurance as a financial product 12
IV. Insurance as a risk management strategy 13
V. An interdisciplinary approach to studying insurance 13
B. Histories of insurance 14
C. The objective and structure of the present volume 15
Insurance and Wealth: The Historical Trajectory of Changing Markets and Strategies in Insurance 17
A. Introduction 17
B. Identifying risk in society 18
C. Expanding risk and insurance development 21
D. Shifting demand for long-term insurance –the new wealth instruments 24
E. Complex future of risk 32
The Insurance Function of Roman Maritime Loan 35
A. Back to the roots 35
B. Legal nature of maritime loan 39
C. Insurance elements 44
I. Contracting parties 46
II. Insured object 49
III. Risk 51
IV. Premium 54
V. Coverage period 56
VI. Compensation 57
D. Conclusion 58
Maritime Risk Management Instruments in Medieval Castile (Thirteenth to Sixteenth Centuries) 61
A. Risk, damage and contribution in maritime transport 62
B. Maritime trade and royal safeguards 65
C. The development of insurance practice in medieval Castile 67
I. Bottomry 67
II. Premium insurance 69
D. Maritime insurance in the consulate ordinances 72
I. The model policy of Burgos 72
II. The Ordinances of Bilbao 73
III. The Ordinances of Burgos 75
IV. The Ordinances of Bruges 76
E. Conclusion 80
Managing Shipping Risk: General Average and Marine Insurance in Early Modern Genoa 83
A. Insurance and general average in Genoa’s regulations: two parallel approaches to shipping risk management 83
B. The need for consistent regulations and the 1589 Civil Statutes 88
C. Routes and navigation risks: the general average claim reports 93
D. Routes and navigation hazards: policies of Sigortá Marittima 101
E. Conclusion 109
General Average in Scotland during the Sixteenth Century 111
A. Scotting and lotting in the practice of maritime communities 112
B. Marrying practice with theory in books composed by lawyers 121
C. Reconfiguring maritime practice in the courts of the admiral 129
The Ordonnance sur la marine on General Average. Comparative Methods, Legal Transplants, and a European droit commun 139
A. Introduction 139
B. The Ordonnance sur la marine of 1681 on general average 141
I. Distinguishing avaries, avaries simples et particulières, avaries grosses et communes, and menues avaries 141
II. Avaries simples et particulières and avaries grosses et communes: similarities and differences 144
III. Details on the procedure of contribution under avaries grosses et communes 148
C. Comparative methods, legal transplants, anda European droit commun 149
I. The Ordonnace sur la marine of 1681 andthe European droit commun on maritime law 150
II. A comparative interpretation 153
III. Adaptations and innovations 155
IV. From droit commun to a nationalized maritime law 157
D. Conclusion 160
War, Risks, and Speculation: The Accounts of a Small Livorno Insurer (1743–1748) 161
A. The firm 161
B. Facing the insurance market 164
C. The dangers of an open market 168
D. Navigating without a compass 172
E. Boasi’s insurance accounts 175
F. The interest or not interest clause and the Bubble of 1747 180
G. Conclusion: from individuals to companies 184
The Transformation of the Marine Insurance Market in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in Spain 189
A. From individual insurers to a system of specialised insurance companies in the seventeenth century 193
B. The predominance of insurance companies in Spanish trading ports in the eighteenth century 199
C. Conclusions 206
Commercial Networks, Maritime Law, and Translation in a Spanish Insurance Claim on Trial in France, 1783–1791 209
A. Commercial choices in a multicentric Atlantic world 213
I. Surviving monopoly: the Basque presence on the Venezuelan coast 214
II. A Cádiz-Marseille financial axis 216
III. Underwriting Atlantic risks from the Mediterranean 219
B. Contract enforcement in a foreign legal foru 223
I. Facts and factums 224
II. Starting the pursuit in two ports 226
III. Rules of engagement in the Admiralty’s eighteenth-century courtroom 227
IV. Timing, evidence, depreciation 230
V. Absurd geographies 238
VI. Expectations halfway met 241
C. Conclusions 243
Governance of General Average in the Netherlands in the Nineteenth Century: A Backward Development? 247
A. Introduction 247
B. The background and mechanisms of general average in the Low Countries 252
C. General average adjustment in Amsterdam in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 254
D. The governance of general average in the nineteenth century 258
E. Conclusion 261
Unions and Networks in Nineteenth-Century Antwerp Marine Insurance Industry 265
A. Introduction 265
B. Antwerp as a center of commerce in the nineteenth century 269
I. The Antwerp marine insurance policy of 1824 272
II. Presentation of the Antwerp marine insurance corporations 275
C. Marine insurance cooperation structures 277
I. The marine insurance companies established by Auguste Morel: Bureau Veritas, Bureau Central, 1° Cie and 2° Cie 277
II. Marine insurance corporations form unions 279
1. Première Réunion 279
2. From one to five unions 282
D. Profile of the managers of the marine insurance corporations 288
E. Connections between marine insurance corporations 290
F. Conclusion 293
List of Contributors 297
Index 298