Session 20: Insurance in non-Western Contexts: Comparing Business Strategies in Different World Regions (19th/20th centuries)

Friday, July 22th 2022, 12:30–14:30 (CEST), Room U1, 191

Zoom-Link: | Meeting ID: 698 9345 1847

Session Organisers: Martin Lengwiler (University of Basel), Robin Pearson (University of Hull)


The contributions to this session analyse the business strategies of insurance companies on non-Western markets in a long-term perspective, stretching from the early 19th to the late 20th century. Drawing on empirical material from an ongoing research project, the session contributions discuss business models, corporate strategies and learning processes of Western and non-Western companies when entering foreign markets. How did Western insurance companies deal with the cultural contexts of different non-Western regions and markets? By means of which mechanisms (marketing, pricing, product competition, reserves and investments, organisation of FDI, as well as particular products and corporate cultures) did insurance companies sell their services around the globe? Which non-European companies and organisations were involved in this process, what notions of risk did they hold, and what kind of risk policies did they pursue? Geographically, the project focuses on three regions, examined in separate case studies: the Middle East (with a focus on Turkey in the late Ottoman period and the early Republic), Asia (focusing on 19th century China), and sub-Saharan Africa (with a focus on East and West Africa during the second half of the 20th century).

1. Insurance in non-Western Contexts – Challenges of Comparing Dif- ferent World Regions (19th/20th centuries)

  • Martin Lengwiler, Department of History, Universität Basel

2. Macroeconomic and Environmental Conditions for Insurance

  • Robin Pearson, Hull University Business School
  • Kaori Abe, Hull University Business School

3. Political Institutions and Regulations

  • Eva Kocher, Department of History, Universität Basel
  • Francis Daudi, Department of History, Universität Basel

4. All-pervasive and yet ever elusive? Religion, culture and the diffusion of insurance into the non-Western world (19th/20th centuries)

  • Claus Musterle, Department of History, Universität Basel