The history of reinsurance

Like insurances, reinsurances first appeared in the marine sector.  The first transaction of this type took place in Europe in 1347, when a marine premium was issued for a trip from Genoa to Sluys, and the direct insurer reinsured himself for the most part of the risks incurred during the trip from Cadiz to Sluys, while the safest part of the trip on the Mediterranean Sea was entirely held on the direct insurer’s account.

During the first part of their evolution, reinsurances were issued in the form of optional reinsurances, which covered some individual risks offered to another insurance company which could decide to accept or refuse the offer.



The contractual reinsurance was born out of the need to cover several risks which would provide more safety to the original insurer, as well as several facilities on the part of the reinsurer.

The first case of contractual reinsurance dates back from 1821 and was signed by two continental companies, and the first contractual arrangement issued by a British office dates back from 1824.

At the beginning of fire reinsurances, the insurers would not accept more than they could withhold on their account and for this reason they would work with co-insurance (several insurers would take on only a pre-determined percentage of the fire risk) One of the oldest references to this type of insurance can be found in a royal grant, dating back to 1778 to Royal Chartered Fire Insurance Company in Copenhagen. Nevertheless, the most authentic fire reinsurance dating back to August1813 was registered by Eagle Fire Insurance Company in New York City.