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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/55

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ACCIDENT INSURANCE

of annuities. When an accident occurred, a lump sum compensation was awarded, and it was considered a private affair of the people concerned whether they spent the money judiciously or injudiciously, whether they used it to start some new commercial industrial or agricultural enterprise, or whether they merely wasted it. On the whole this liberality seems to have been justified, the results bearing witness to the progress and common sense of the people thus benefited. The Workmen's Insurance Council upon which it devolved to apply the act, and especially to fix the compensations, was composed of representatives of both employers and workmen working in amicable co-operation. Legislation was continued along these lines, and a considerable number of activities were gradually brought under the accident insurance. In 1900 it was extended to the Danish fishermen; and, with the support of the state, independent fishermen were also allowed, on the payment of a low premium, to participate in it. In 1905 came an act for Accident Insurance for Seamen, which went a step further by enjoining on the employers the obligation to cover their risks by transferring them to an insurance company recognized by the government. Finally, in 1908, an act was passed which extended accident insurance to agricultural workers on estates of a certain value, the owners of which were likewise bound to transfer their risks to recognized companies; but the act also allowed both workmen and employers to effect voluntary insurance without regard to the size of the estate.

On the whole it may be said that this system had a good effect. It may, indeed, be taken for granted that only very few employers did not transfer their risks to a recognized insurance company. On the other hand, an obligation imposed upon them to do so could not be considered arbitrary interference with personal freedom when nearly all employers in the occupations concerned actually had insured their risk. This is the principle laid down in the long needed Codification of July 6, 1916 (which went into force on April 1, 1917),