Johan DeWitt

Johan DeWitt

Mr. Johan DeWitt is considered to be the founder of scientific life insurance in that he conceived of basing it upon sound actuarial principles that had not been utilized up until his time. This innovation replaced the inadequacies of previous annuity systems. He published the first annuity tariffs and paved the way for the development of the first modern mortality tables.

Mr. DeWitt was a dominant figure in his native Holland and served as grand pensionary from 1653 until his death. During this time he restored the finances of the Dutch states and assisted in extending the commercial supremacy of his country in the East Indies. His entire life was dedicated to aiding his country in achieving economic prominence.

His contribution to insurance was in the field of annuities. Where the annuity device had been used as a means of raising funds for the state, such annuities excluded any reference to mortality. De Witt proposed that the price of annuities be based on the age of the subscriber. He thus brought the use of mortality statistics to bear on insurance practices for the first time.