The development of Insurance Exchanges
Insurance exchanges first emerged in trade centres. Buyers and sellers investing large sums of money in commodities, had a need for insurance because of the high-risk transport of these commodities. And so the commodity brokers and wholesalers were the first ones to provide cover for goods (in stock) as authorised underwriting agent of a company. The first exchanges emerged in Italy in the 16th century, the cradle of European trade at the time. When Italy’s economic position began to weaken, the centre of trade moved to the north.
In the Golden Age, trade in both Amsterdam and Rotterdam began to develop. At the same time, there was an increasing demand for trade- and transport-related insurance.
Initially, only ships and their cargo were insured at the exchanges. It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th century that fire insurances were introduced in the exchanges. And even later on, before various types of casualty insurance saw the light of day.