SESSION 11. Insurance theory in historical analyses of risk mitigation

11. Insurance theory in historical analyses of risk mitigation

Magnus Lindmark
(Umeå University)
Lars Fredrik Andersson (Umeå University)
Mike Adams (University of Bath)


This session welcomes papers using insurance theory and concepts such as adverse selection and moral hazard, for investigating how risk mitigation, assessment and insurance solutions have evolved and varied across countries. We welcome both quantitatively and qualitatively oriented papers with an empirical focus on the dynamics between policymaking, social and economic context and insurance markets. Purely theoretical and/or historiographical papers will also be most welcome. Examples of suitable topics include the changing roles of self-insurance, private and public insurance. Other examples are the function, evolution, co-existence, regulation and competition between different forms of strategies and organizations such as mutual and investor owned organizations, self-insurance including within-family insurance solutions. Also papers aiming at analyzing how risk mitigation and assessment strategies have changed in relation to economic growth are welcome.

The evolution of risk mitigating strategies and various insurance solutions plays an important role for understanding economic, political and social history. Accountability and pricing of risks have affected investment decisions in business life and various choices made by the households. Our ambition is to broaden the analyses of these transformations by using basic insurance theory, either for developing testable hypothesis or for developing interpretative frames to be used in more traditional historical narratives. By taking such a stance we believe that analyses of historical risk mitigation can become more holistic, counteracting the tendency to develop analyses, narratives and theoretical explanations based on specific empirical outlooks and corresponding theoretical frames.


Paper 1

The Evolution of Accident Insurance in Sweden.

Lars Fredrik Andersson (Department of Economic History, Umeå University, Sweden)
Liselotte Eriksson (Department of Economic History, Umeå University, Sweden)
Magnus Lindmark (Department of Economic History, Umeå University, Sweden)

In this paper, we investigate the formation of workplace accidents from introduction of industrial accident insurance in Sweden to the outbreak of World War II. Our focus is on how the evolution of accident insurance interacted with the rise of the industrial working class, the political debate on social insurance (i.e. pensions, sickness insurance) and how to address problems with moral hazard, and adverse selection. Sweden was a later industrializer and the debate on social insurance was therefore influenced by discussions and practices in other countries, such as Germany and the UK. The accident insurance of 1916 had some specific features, which later came to serve as a model when the social insurance system was developed. The insurance was employer contributed compulsory and universal, features that still exist today. In this paper we are asking why statutory workers’ compensation was introduced in Sweden in the early twentieth century, and how it was similar to, and different from, other accident insurance systems in other early industrialized countries.