We examine an unusual contract which the Dutch East India Company (VOC) sold to investors in 1613. The firm was in a position as modelled by Froot, Scharfstein and Stein for modern corporations: Facing heavy, strategic investment, about to reap the benefits, but unable to attract the necessary capital. Hedging or insurance then makes sense to safeguard continued operations. Understanding this, the VOC directors took out insurance on incoming cash from return cargoes. We analyze the contract's price and underwriters and contrast the VOC's single use of this peculiar instrument with the English East India Company's later repeated application.
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© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Historical Economics Society. All rights reserved.