PhD research on Assurance Company of 1771 and slavery

03 April 2023 - 10:32

In early April, the International Institute of Social History (IISH) launched a doctoral research project on the slavery connections of the Assurance Company of 1771. The research is funded by Nationale Nederlanden (NN). Nationale Nederlanden has no influence on the research.

In 2021, NN commissioned the IISH to initiate a preliminary study to find out whether legal predecessors of acquired companies, including Delta Lloyd in 2017, were involved in slavery-related activities. This preliminary investigation focused on all legal predecessors including cooperating insurance agencies, agents and insurance brokers prior to 1880.

The preliminary investigation concluded that two of Delta Lloyd's legal predecessors (the Assurance Company of 1771 and the Hollandsche Sociëteit van Levensverzekeringen) engaged in slavery-related activities such as investing in plantations or insuring slave ships. Based on the results of this preliminary research, NN decided to commission an additional, in-depth scientific study with the goal of gaining more insight into the extent of these activities. 

In consultation with the IISH, it was decided to have the scientific research conducted on one of its two legal predecessors: the Assurance Company of 1771. There is a great deal of complete archival material available from this insurer. This makes it possible to examine to what extent and in what way the Assurance Company of 1771 and its individual firm members were involved in slavery-related activities, and what consequences this involvement had for the enslaved, the Company and firm members. Because this is new research in largely unknown territory, and of great complexity, it will be in the form of a doctoral research project by a PhD student, resulting in a dissertation. The project leader is Prof. Dr. Pepijn Brandon (IISG and VU Amsterdam). He will also act as supervisor.