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CHAPTER 1 HISTORY AND DEFINITION OF MARINE CARGO INSURANCE

Marine Cargo Insurance

1

HISTORY AND DEFINITION OF MARINE CARGO INSURANCE

Historical background

The London market

Origins of marine cargo insurance

1.1 The origins of marine insurance are obscure1 and not as ancient as, for example, general average.2 The written evidence includes an early form of marine cargo policy prescribed by a Florentine Ordinance of 1523 which insured goods on a named ship against dangers of the sea, fire, jettison and like perils “even such as cannot be thought of”.3 Many of the risks insured under that form of policy show a remarkable resemblance to cargo insurance cover for named perils still underwritten today.4 The first recorded policies in English followed in 1555, though these early policies were less developed than the Italian forms.5 The sacking of Antwerp by the Spanish in 1576 led to London becoming a centre for marine insurance and benefiting from the wordings and customs that had originated in Florence and Genoa and had spread to Northern Europe, particularly Brussels and Antwerp.6 The development of London as a marine insurance centre was opportune as it coincided with the expansion of markets and trade in the reign of Elizabeth I.7

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