Menu Expand

Fire and Life Insurance in the Dutch Republic

Development and legal aspects

Sirks, Delphine

Comparative Studies in the History of Insurance Law / Studien zur vergleichenden Geschichte des Versicherungsrechts, Vol. 18

(2022)

Additional Information

Book Details

Pricing

About The Author

Delphine Sirks successfully completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Dutch Law at the Universiteit Leiden. Having spent semesters abroad at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, the Universität Wien and the Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, as well as a research period at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome as a student, she took the opportunity to conduct her PhD research in legal history at the Universität Augsburg within the ›A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe‹-project, which she successfully defended in a joint doctorate at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She currently works at the latter university as an assistant professor in legal history.

Abstract

The thesis researches the influence of marine insurance law on the development of fire and life insurance law in the Dutch Republic (1581-1795). Fire and life insurance are often seen as offspring of marine insurance, following the latter’s principles and rules ›mutatis mutandis‹. However, this theory of marine insurance as a single starting point for other types of insurance is rebutted by the various mutual fire insurance contracts found in the Zaanstreek and other parts of the Dutch Republic. This study reviews sources already known and hitherto unknown sources. As most of the sources consist of contracts, the research deals with insurance contract law. These contracts were concluded throughout the Dutch Republic at different times by varying parties. Therefore, instead of resorting to a uniform and doctrinal approach, the study takes on a casuistic approach. Instances of fire and life insurance are treated on a case-by-case basis within their own relevant circumstances.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Preface 5
Table of Contents 7
Chapter 1: Introduction 13
Chapter 2: History of fire insurance law 17
A. Introduction 17
I. Emergence of fire insurance in the Dutch Republic 17
II. Spread of fire insurance in the Dutch Republic 18
III. Early traces of Dutch fire insurance initiatives elsewhere 19
IV. Dealing with fire and fire damage in Dutch daily life 20
1. Local fire prevention measures 20
2. Local firefighting measures 21
3. Financial options in the event of fire 22
B. Premium fire insurance contracts 23
I. Inconclusive insurance contract in 1646 23
II. Private partnership with insurance clauses in 1663 26
III. Influence of marine insurance? 29
C. Mutual fire insurance contracts 31
I. Origin and development 31
1. Hamburger Feuerkontrakte as an unlikely origin 31
2. Guilds as an unlikely origin 33
3. An independent development in various stages 35
4. Further spread of mutual fire insurance contracts 38
a) Amsterdam millers’ contract of 1740 38
b) Amsterdam sugar refiners’ contract of 1755 41
c) Groningen hull millers’ contracts of 1743 and 1784 45
5. Legal analysis of the mutual fire insurance contracts 52
II. In detail: the Zaanstreek contracts between 1663 and 1783 55
1. Parties to the contract 55
a) Inclusion of new participants 56
b) Provisions regarding the position of heirs 58
c) Exclusion of current contracting parties 59
2. Administration of an insurance scheme 61
a) Introduction of supervisors 61
b) Number of supervisors and circulation schemes 63
c) Annual meetings 64
3. Termination of an insurance scheme 65
4. Requirement of an insurable interest 68
5. Objects of risk 70
a) Commodities, or movable property 70
b) Mills, or immovable property 71
c) Sale of an object of risk 73
d) Perished and partly damaged objects of risk 74
6. Risk insured against 76
a) Description of the risk insured against 76
b) Exception in the case of war 77
c) Exception in the case of hazardous and flammable substances 79
d) Fire prevention measures to limit the risk 79
7. The principle of indemnity and indemnification 82
a) Compulsory under-insurance and the principle of mutuality 82
b) Registration of sums insured 84
c) Prohibition of double insurance 86
d) Indemnification procedures for partial damage and total loss 87
8. Conflict resolution 90
9. Contract funds 91
a) A primitive contract fund of 1720 92
b) A refined contract fund of 1739 93
c) Legal analysis of contract funds and the investment in public bonds 93
III. Influence of marine insurance? 95
1. An unlikely influence 95
2. Excursus: mutual whaling insurance in the Zaanstreek 96
a) Conceptual influence during the seventeenth century 96
b) Developments of the eighteenth century 97
D. Rotterdam Insurance Company of 1720 100
I. Introduction 100
1. Emergence of insurance companies and premium fire insurance 100
2. Introduction of fire insurance by the Rotterdam Insurance Company 101
3. Reception of fire insurance by the public 103
II. The company’s fire insurance policy 106
1. Drafting the policy 106
2. Requirement of an insurable interest 107
3. Parties to the contract and signing of the policy 108
4. Duration and renewal of an insurance contract 109
5. Objects of risk 111
a) Lists of insurable objects 111
b) Further provisions regarding objects of risk 112
6. Risk insured against 113
7. The principle of indemnity and indemnification 114
a) Valued policy 115
b) Under-insurance 115
c) A simple indemnification procedure 116
8. Conflict resolution 117
III. Influence of marine insurance? 118
E. Amsterdam insurance legislation on fire insurance 120
I. Introduction 120
II. Amsterdam insurance keur of 1744 121
1. Insuring “to whom it may concern” and the insurable interest 122
2. Duration of the insurance contract 122
3. Objects of risk 123
4. Risk insured against 124
5. The principle of indemnity and indemnification 125
a) Valued policy 125
b) Indemnification procedure for total loss and partial damage 127
6. Conflict resolution 128
III. The Amsterdam model fire insurance policy in practice 129
1. Objects of risk 130
2. Risks insured against 130
3. Bearer policy and the indemnification procedure 131
4. Conflict resolution 133
IV. Amsterdam insurance keur of 1775 134
1. Objects of risk 135
2. Risk insured against 136
3. Indemnification procedure 136
V. Influence of marine insurance? 138
F. Various developments from the 1770s onwards 141
I. Emergence of insurance companies 141
1. A fifty-year gap 141
2. Premium fire insurance companies 143
3. Mutual fire insurance companies 143
a) Mutual fire insurance scheme in Schiedam 144
b) Mutual fire insurance scheme in Rotterdam 146
c) Mutual fire insurance scheme in Kampen 148
II. Emergence of a standard fire insurance policy in Rotterdam 148
III. Excursus: further development of the Rotterdam Insurance Company of 1720’s fire insurance policy 150
1. The company’s fire insurance policy of 1795 151
2. The company’s fire insurance policy of 1813 152
3. The company’s fire insurance policies of 1814 and 1820 153
IV. Influence of marine insurance? 154
Chapter 3: History of life insurance law 156
A. Introduction 156
I. Development of premium life insurance 156
II. Other forms of life insurance 157
1. Life annuities and tontines 157
2. Mutual aid schemes 159
3. Widow funds, benefice societies and burial funds 160
B. On the prohibition of life insurance 162
I. Original prohibition of life insurance in 1571 162
1. Placcaat of 20 January 1571 162
2. Possible origin of the prohibition of life insurance 163
3. Requirement of an insurable interest 165
4. Excursus: legal characteristics of the life insurance practice in the 1560s in Antwerp 167
II. Prohibition of life insurance in 1598, 1600 and 1604 167
1. Amsterdam insurance keur of 1598 168
2. Middelburg insurance keur of 1600 168
3. Rotterdam insurance keur of 1604 169
III. Prohibition of life insurance during the long eighteenth century 169
1. Practice and regulation of ransom insurance 170
2. Ransom insurance and the prohibition of life insurance 171
IV. Interpretation of the prohibition of life insurance in Roman-Dutch legal literature 172
1. Legal scope of the placcaat of 1571 in the Dutch Republic 173
2. Analogy with the … 175
a) … Antwerp Impressae of 1582 175
b) … Frisian Landsordonnantie of 1723 176
c) … Italian life insurance practice as portrayed by Roccus 177
d) … Hamburg insurance legislation of 1731 178
3. Requirement of statutory law 178
V. Influence of marine insurance? 179
C. Instances of short-term life insurance policies 180
I. Short-term life insurance policy of 1676 181
1. Parties to the contract 181
2. Lives insured 181
3. Risk insured against 183
4. Indemnification procedure 184
5. Renunciation of the prohibition of life insurance 185
6. Recovery of the premium 186
7. Proper life insurance? 187
II. Short-term life insurance policy of 1712 188
1. Parties to the contract 189
2. Life insured 189
3. Risk insured against 190
4. Indemnification procedure 190
5. Renunciation of the prohibition of life insurance 191
6. Proper life insurance? 192
III. Influence of marine insurance? 193
D. The Dutch Life Insurance Company of 1807 194
I. Introduction 194
1. Establishment of the Dutch Life Insurance Company 194
2. Foreign influences? 195
II. The company’s life insurance policy 196
1. Parties to the contract 196
2. Duration of the insurance contract and the premium 197
3. Life insured 198
4. Warranties 199
a) Requirement of warranties 199
b) Warranties of age and otherwise 199
c) Warranty of health 200
d) From 1822: joint warranty of age and health 201
e) Warranty of proof of interest 203
f) Rescission of insurance contract and forfeiture of premium 205
5. Risk insured against 206
6. Indemnification procedure 207
7. Conflict resolution 208
III. Influence of marine insurance? 208
Chapter 4: Conclusion 210
Appendices 214
List of archival sources 219
Bibliography 221
Index 231