Private and Public Insurance and Protection Against Social Contingencies

Thursday, July 21th 2022, 16:15–18:15 (CEST), Room U1, 191 (online)

Zoom-Link: | Meeting ID: 650 7181 4010

Session Organisers: Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde), Liselotte Eriksson (University of Umea), Lars-Fredrik Andersson (University of Umea)


There is a long history of people taking out voluntary insurance to protect themselves against different kinds of risk, including damage to both life and property. However, insurance has also been a way of securing protection against other risks, including those associated with loss of income as a result of sickness, accident, unemployment or old age. During the late-18th and early-19th centuries, many people sought to obtain protection against these risks by joining friendly societies or other mutual-aid associations. However, from the late-19th century onwards, these schemes began to be superseded by various statutory insurance schemes, such as those introduced in Germany during the 1880s.

This session looks at the development of a number of different kinds of statutory or social insurance in a range of countries. The first paper will examine the growth of state intervention in the field of accident insurance in late-19th and early-20th century Sweden. The second paper explores the connected and comparative impact of the First World War on the demand for social insurance in European metropoles and colonial societies; and the third paper looks at the development of William Beveridge’s ideas about the relationship between social and mutual insurance in postwar Britain.

1. Did Statutory Insurance Improve the Welfare of Swedish Workers? The Statutory Workplace Accident Insurance of 1916

  • Bernard Harris, Social Work and Social Policy, University of Strathclyde
  • Liselotte Eriksson, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies, University of Umeå
  • Lars-Fredrik Andersson, Unit of Economic History, University of Umeå

2. Social Security, Full Employment and Voluntary Action: The Three Pillars of William Beveridge's Welfare Society

  • Bernard Harris, Social Work and Social Policy, University of Strathclyde