In 1807 the first life insurance society was established in The Netherlands. In the second half of the century, life insurance societies underwent considerable expansion. During the intervening period, the lines had to be laid along which this new phenomenon was to develop in the future: Between 1827 and 1830, the government started discussing the nature of its responsibility in this field and the kind of policy to be developed, and in 1830, a book on the organization of life insurance societies, the calculation of life annuities and widows’ fund premiums was published, written by the mathematician Rehuel Lobatto. This book played an important role in the government’s discussion. Royal Decrees which prescribed government approval for the establishment of life assurance societies were promulgated in 1830, 1833 and 1840. In 1832, Lobatto became the government’s scientific adviser on the assessment of the calculations performed by these societies, and in the same year, he was also appointed adviser to the first life insurance society. From 1832 until his death in 1866 he advised the company on the use of life tables for life as well as for reversionary annuities, and he calculated the premiums based on these life tables. Another decree was promulgated in 1864 prescribing exactly which life tables were to be used. Because Lobatto probably played a part in this decree, he was responsible for a very ‘conservative’ government policy, which was no longer adequate in the second half of the century. © 1988 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.