WEST-VLAANDEREN. BRUGES. Action de 1000 Florins. black. No 1667. Folds and a little staining at the borders. Marine insurance in the Austrian Netherlands at this time was in the hands of a state undertaking, based in Ostend. A group of businessmen in Bruges formed this private company in competition. They were knight d'Hont de Nieuwbrug van Outryve de Merckem, Frederic Romberg, de Stoop, G. de Brouwere, Willaert de Baere, Stassignon, DoncheVercruysse, Serweytens, Tailliu and others. The capital was 1 million guldens, divided into 1.000 shares of 1.000 guldens each. Herries, who held the concession for the Ostend state insurance company (the Compagnie d'Assurance de la FlandreAutrichienne) feared the new competition, and tried to stop the formation of his Bruges rival, but was unsuccessful. All theshares were sold in only 3 days, mostly to bankers and businessmen. Brussels took 75.000 guldens, and Gent 150.000. The success of the launch encouraged the company to increase its capital, first to 1.500.000, then, soon afterwards, to 3 million guldens. The Bruges company was a serious and dangerous competitor to the Ostend insurance company; its tariffs were lower, and its conditions were more attractive to the shipper. The prosperous years of the 1780s were followed by a period of depression, caused by the war of the 1790s and its effect on maritime trade. Marine insurance suffered, too. The fate of the first private insurance company in the Austrian Netherlands is lost in the history of this period. Two of the founders signed this share (de Brouwere and Serweyetens).
Themes: BEFORE 1800, INSURANCE, SHIPPING
Date: 3 June 1783
Startprice: € 600