History of the market
The Dutch co-insurance market, where corporate non-life risks are insured, has a long history that dates all the way back to the 16th century. Through the ages this corporate insurance market developed into the market as we know it. As the organisation representing the interests of the corporate insurance market, the VNAB plays a key role in today’s market.
Development of the insurance market
The first Amsterdam marine insurance probably dates back to the mid-sixteenth century, concluded through a broker between a merchant wishing to insure his precious merchandise from the Levant, and an underwriter who was prepared to take the risk. The concept of insurance was not invented in Amsterdam but, like other commercial innovations, in the Italian city-states. Probably in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century. The first insurance contracts were in all likelihood concluded in Genoa, Pisa or Livorno. It wasn’t long before the knowledge and use of this financial novelty spread, along with ships calling at foreign ports and goods being shipped from one place to another.
The last decades of the sixteenth century must have seen a rapid growth in the Amsterdam marine insurance markets. Unfortunately, absolute figures are not available. Still, we can roughly piece together the initial stages of development of the industry. The first ones to experiment with insurance of their cargoes were most likely traders doing business on the route to the Levant. Not just because the trade route to the Levant was relatively dangerous due to pirates and privateers, but also because the trade on this route involved high-end goods: cargoes with a relatively high profit margin which made the additional expenses of the insurance premium acceptable. Still, it wasn’t long before bulk goods, like grain, were insured too, as were ships and even riggings (of fishing boats for instance). The first known Dutch insurance from 1592, for instance, concerned a cargo of grain being shipped from Zeeland to Genoa or Livorno.
Zekere zaken: mijlpalen uit de geschiedenis van de coassurantiemarkt (Sure things: milestones in the history of the co-insurance market)
How did the VNAB emerge and how did the co-insurance market develop? The answers to these questions are given in the book published by the VNAB 'Zekere zaken' on milestones in the history of the co-insurance market. The VNAB thinks it’s important to document its history and that of the market at scientific level. We regard this book as a solid base to build on the future of the market.