The Dutch Workman's Compensation Act was quite peculiar as it allowed enterprises free choice of insurer while claim assessment, disbursement of allowances and control of the injured were attributed to the state institute (RVB). The traditional interpretation that private insurers got better results because of risk selection and better safety measures is put to a test by questioning its quantitative basis and examining the accident frequencies. The apparent success of private insurers seems to have been caused by excessive failures of the rvb in its infancy. Bound by too many (legal) rules it couldn't act adequately when huge deficits occurred. To cover the deficit it had to levy higher premiums for years. Big business had lost the fight for executive power. The thesis that they nevertheless succeeded in taking care for their own workforce is poorly founded and has to be rejected. Initially the main instrument to influence executive practices was by way of appeal, but they tried also informal ways. Both judicial verdicts and changing medical ideas on disablement favoured a strict application of the law. Over the years the assessment policy of the rvb came more in line with the employers' wishes.
Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Van Der Valk, L. (2010). Duty, competence and performance of 'risk-transfer' under the Dutch Accidents Act 1901. Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis, 7(4), 50–74. Retrieved from