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Marketing and Pricing Risk in Marine Insurance in Sixteenth-Century Antwerp

  • Jeroen Puttevils (a1) and Marc Deloof (a2)

Drawing on a set of insurance contracts brokered in Antwerp in 1562–1563, we demonstrate that by that time Antwerp hosted a sophisticated, large, and international market for marine insurance in which small and large traders could acquire and sell insurance, backed by the intermediation of a large broker, Juan Henriquez who functioned as an open-access institution. Using information from Henriquez's ledgers which was also available to underwriters, we find that insurance premiums reflected the underlying risk and that agents were able to determine the effect of different contract parameters.

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The authors wish to thank Oscar Gelderblom and the participants of the 2014 History and Finance workshop in Nijmegen and the 2015 joint seminar of the Centre for Urban History and the Department of Accounting of Finance, University of Antwerp, Ann Carlos, and the anonymous referees for their valuable comments on earlier versions of this article and Giovanni Ceccarelli for sharing his data on Florence. The text was edited by Joelma Nascimento of Academic Word. The research was funded by the Research Foundation Flanders.

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