15 October 2018

BOOK : Philip HELLWEGE, ed., The Past, Present, and Future of Tontines - A Seventeenth Century Financial Product and the Development of Life Insurance [Comparative Studies in the History of Insurance Law] (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2018). ISBN 978-3-428-15615-3, € 119,90

Duncker & Humblot published a new book on the origins, development and decline of the tontine.


A tontine may be described as a pooled life annuity. Investors buy shares, and the issuer promises to pay interest on the raised capital. The characteristic feature of tontines is that the annuities of deceased investors are shared by surviving investors. With the death of the last survivor, the issuer's obligation to pay annuities terminates and the issuer has no obligation to pay the raised capital back. Investors may use a tontine as a pension product and the issuer may use it as a means to raise capital. It is generally believed that the Italian Lorenzo Tonti (1602–1684) invented tontines and that he proposed them to Cardinal Mazarin (1602–1661) in 1653.

The different authors analyse the origins of tontines, their diverse developments and careers in selected countries, their importance for the development of insurance (law), their decline in the late 19th and early 20th century and their potential as a pension product of the future.


Prof. Dr. Phillip Hellwege M.Jur. (Oxford) ist seit 2010 Inhaber des Lehrstuhls für Bürgerliches Recht, Wirtschaftsrecht und Rechtsgeschichte an der Universität Augsburg. Zuvor war er von 2003 bis 2010 wissenschaftlicher Referent am Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht in Hamburg. 2015 erhielt er einen Consolidator Grant des European Research Council (ERC) für ein auf fünf Jahre angelegtes Projekt zur vergleichenden Geschichte des Versicherungsrechts in Europa. Seine Forschungsschwerpunkte liegen im Bürgerlichen Recht, im Europäischen Privatrecht, in der Historischen Rechtsvergleichung sowie in der Geschichte des Wirtschaftsrechts und des Versicherungsrechts.


Phillip Hellwege
1. The Framework for the Development of Tontines
Christian Rietsch and Georges Gallais-Hamonno
Lorenzo Tonti
Georges Gallais-Hamonno and Christian Rietsch
Financial Engineering in the 17th and 18th Centuries – Tontines in England, France, and Ireland
Robin Pearson
The Socio-Economic Setting for Developing Tontines from the 17th to the 19th Centuries
2. A Comparative Legal History of Tontines
Sophie Delbrel
Tontines in France from the Ancien Régime to the Third Republic
Boudewijn Sirks
Tontines in the Dutch Republic and the Early Kingdom (1670–1869)
John MacLeod
Tontines in England and Scotland
Martin Sunnqvist
Tontines in Scandinavia
Phillip Hellwege
Tontines in German-Speaking Territories
Kent McKeever
Tontines in Portugal – Nicholas Bourey's Paleo-Tontine of 1641
Maura Fortunati
Tontines in Italy
Rafael Illescas
Tontines in Spain
Kent McKeever
The Evolution of the Tontine in North America
Marcelo Nasser
Tontines in Latin America
Jan Halberda
Tontines in Poland
Balázs Tőkey
Tontines in Hungary
Tamara Korchagina
The Russian Experience with Tontine Insurance
3. The Present and Future of Tontines
Moshe A. Milevsky
What Can Tontine Design of the Future Learn from Its Past?
Jan-Hendrik Weinert
Tontines in Europe Today
Jonathan Barry Forman and Michael J. Sabin
Tontines in the Western World Today
Salvatore Mancuso
Tontines and other Forms of Rotating Credit Associations in Africa
4. Comparative Analyses
Jerònia Pons Pons
A Comparative Analysis from the Perspective of Economic History
Phillip Hellwege
A Comparative Analysis from the Perspective of Legal History

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