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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/54

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DENMARK

Development of Accident Insurance

While sickness insurance thus took its course, accident insurance was for a long time unknown. The report of the Commission of 1885 proposed an arrangement very similar to the German system, whereby all workmen employed in the cultivation of lands, or in woods, or in industry, or in loading, unloading, etc., should be insured in public insurance companies. The proposal itself indicates a departure from the old idea that wages should be sufficient to cover all insurance expenses to the new attitude that expense incurred by a workman through an accident occurring while he is at work attaches to the employment and should be borne by the employer. That this view has come to prevail in Denmark as well as in Germany, shows to what extent 'professorial socialism' has spread. The compensation proposed was a yearly pension to the workman injured or to his surviving family in case of fatal accidents, the money to be obtained from a tax on the Hartkorn, as well as from the employers in the industries and trades comprised under the act. The legislature did not accept this proposal, however, and several years passed before an agreement relating to an accident insurance was arrived at. In the meantime the matter was left to private initiative, and several employers voluntarily introduced insurance for their workmen. The act of January 7, 1898, took this voluntary development into consideration and fixed upon the employers within the trades and industries specified in the act the responsibility for compensation. It permitted them, however, to transfer the risk to an insurance company, provided only that the company was one recognized by the government. This management of accident insurance was quite different from the German method. Thereupon there grew up a number of new insurance companies which assumed the risk for the compensations awarded to injured workmen, or to their surviving families, by the Workmen's Insurance Council. The natural outcome of this was the abolition of the system