Similar to many other European coastal countries Germany has developed its own system of marine insurance which has its roots way back in the middle ages when the ships of the Hanse were ploughing the waters of Northern Europe. Transporting valuable goods and raw materials was an early requirement of the societies which promised good returns to the merchants although, however, in those days ships were much more exposed to the mercy of wind and waves. Realising the risks involved in such a venture, systems were developed which made risks accountable and distributed the financial burden of losses on the shoulders of many in case a promising venture ended unexpectedly in a disaster.
In the course of the years these systems were refined by experience and the early practise to finance shipping ventures through loans which, upon the successful completion of a voyage only, had to be repaid in full plus a heavy share of interest, were converted into a system whereby a merchant granted financial cover for certain, described risks against a "premium" which had to be paid in advance – Marine Insurance eventually had emerged. Documents which are proof of such a development can be traced back in Germany to the middle of the 17th century.