© 2016

Marine Insurance

Origins and Institutions, 1300–1850

  • A. B. Leonard

Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance Series book series (PSHF)

Table of contents

About this book


Since its invention in Italy in the fourteenth century, marine insurance has provided merchants with capital protection in times of crisis, thus oiling the gears of trade and commerce. With a focus on customs, laws, and organisational structures, this book reveals the Italian origins of marine insurance, and tracks the spread of underwriting practices and institutions in Europe and America through the early modern era. With contributions from eleven leading researchers from seven countries, the book examines key institutional developments in the history of marine insurance. The authors discuss its invention in Italy, and its evolution from private to corporate structures, assessing the causes and impacts of various state interventions. Amsterdam and Antwerp are analysed as one-time key centres of underwriting, as is the emergence and maturity of marine insurance in London. The book evaluates an experiment in corporate underwriting in Cadiz, and the development of insurance institutions in the United States, before applying the metrics of underwriting to discuss commerce raiding in the Atlantic up to the nineteenth century.


Asia competition cooperation development institutions insurance investment Italy organization science and technology investment Italy organization science and technology

Editors and affiliations

  • A. B. Leonard
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Financial HistoryUniversity of CambridgeUK

About the editors

A.B. Leonard is Associate Director of the Centre for Financial History, University of Cambridge. He has written widely on topics related to marine insurance and the Atlantic World. He is co-editor of The Caribbean and the Atlantic World Economy (2015), The Atlantic World 1400-1850 (2014) and Questioning Credible Commitment (2013).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Marine Insurance
  • Book Subtitle Origins and Institutions, 1300–1850
  • Editors Adrian Leonard
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance Economics and Finance (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-41137-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-56584-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-41138-9
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 324
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Financial History
    Economic History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


“This is a ‘must read’ for all those who, one way or another, have ‘stumbled’ in the revival of insurance studies which took place after the 2008 crisis. The unifying idea of the book is to assess the impact of institutions, legal norms, and informal customs on marine insurance from the late Middle Ages to the early nineteenth centuries.” (Giovanni Ceccarelli, The International Journal of Maritime History, Vol. 28 (4), 2016)