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In 1814 the Co. obtained a special Act of Parl., 54 Geo. 3 c. 178—An Act to enable the Brit. F. Assu. Office to sue and be sued in the name of their Sec. There are no features in this Act calling for special remark.
In 1824 the F. duty return of the office was £17,606; from that period it steadily declined until 1838, when it began to revive. In 1843 the bus. of the Co. was trans. to the Sun. Mr. John Helps was for many years Sec. In 1840 it reached its highest, £18,488. BRITISH FIRE PREVENTION AND INS. Co., protection against F. in connexion with F. ins. ;" and specially "for taking up the large "for affording to the public increased F. bus. obtainable through agents of L. offices." £500,000, in 100,000 share of £5. This was the first F. office projected under the The proposed cap. of the Co. was Companies Act, 1862." In furtherance of the object set forth in the second head above quoted, there were on the board of the Co. a director from the Amicable, another from the Eagle, one from the Albert, and another from the Western. The Man. and
Sec. was Mr. J. E. B. Curtis.
The prosp. said:
The existing F. office system is defective in two respects. 1. It offers no assistance to the assured in protecting themselves against fire. 2. It does not assess risks with sufficient minuteness, and therefore in some cases charges unnecessarily high rates, while in others the rates are not sufficient to cover the risks incurred. The present Co. seeks to remedy these deficiencies. . . .
It appears therefore that by the use of an effective means for extinguishing fires, available within the first 5 minutes, and not causing damage in use, a proportion of the present losses, equal at least 66 p.c., and prob. approaching 80 p.c., might be saved, at the cost only of the means required to produce this result.
The scheme of the Co. was to introduce the use of Phillips' Patent Fire Annihilator by its pol.-holders, as the best known means of protection. The prosp. said hereon:
It has been ascertained by a careful calculation that the instruments can be supplied in cases where the sum assu. is not very small, at a cost much within the margin of saving shown by the estimate given above, and arrangements have been made by which the right to use them with all improvements is secured to the Co. on advantageous terms. They will, therefore, form the means principally relied on at present for affording increased protection against fire. The Co. will not however be restricted to their use; other improved means will be applied for preventing and extinguishing fires whenever the directors are satisfied that the application can be made advantageously.
The Co. did not however intend to rely entirely upon the use of fire annihilators. The prosp. says:
In connexion with fire prevention it is proposed to introduce a more careful classification of risks; superseding the system of arbitrary distinctions as to what is to be assessed as dangerous or hazardous, by scientific discrimination, carried even to individual cases-with this object a large amount of statistical and other information on the subject of fires has been collected, collated, and tabled, giving the actual risk in each trade.
It was asserted that an accurate knowledge of risks, and an equitable assessment of rates, would protect the interests of the office, and at the same time do justice to the insured. The prosp. continues:
Subject to the improved classification of risks, it is not proposed at present to depart from the usual rates charged for ins. against fire; but the proposed plan will offer increased advantages to the insured and the shareholders. simple but effectual protection against fire. The insured will benefit: i. By obtaining, without any increase of cost, a risk, and made available to the insured by bonuses or other equitable arrangements made with a due 2. By the reduced cost of ins. consequent on the reduced regard to the interest of the shareholders. The shareholders will benefit by the increased profits to be realized by the diminution of loss.
A direct interest in the profits will be given to the agents, in order to stimulate their exertions in promoting and extending the bus.
The scheme was most elaborate in its details, and it received high commendations from the press; but its promoters appeared to lack that practical knowledge which alone can secure bus. ; and the enterprise collapsed.
BRITISH, FOREIGN, AND COLONIAL ASSU. Asso., founded in 1857, with an authorized cap. of £100.000, in 20,000 shares of £5. This Co. was founded by Mr. T. H. Baylis immediately after his return from Australia. Classes," which was in fact a It embodied a scheme called "Life Assu. 'lottery." But we must fall back upon the prosp.: Important! The difficulties of life assu. removed, and its benefits rendered accessible to all. tinctive advantages of the assu. classes. In effecting life assu. through the classes of this Asso., the following important advantages are presented to assurers: 1. No medical examination, or references to private friends, as to health, habits, or personal hist. are required. 2. Only one small prem. contribution is necessary. This is instead of a heavy ann. prem., as usual in ordinary life assu. 3. Some of the pol. are fully paid up; their holders having nothing more to pay. These pol. are convertible securities, and available immediately, either for the purposes of sale or borrowing. 4. Males or females, or both, whose ages range between 6 and 65 years, are eligible as members. 5. Each class consists of 50 members. Persons may enter any class, by paying the prem. contribution indicated by the tables. As soon as a class is formed, notice is given to the members of the time and place appointed for the election, and every member is invited to attend, or to send some one to represent him or her. Members incur no liability whatever. 6.
This is the brief outline of the scheme, as first presented by the prosp. Many of the points are afterwards amplified, and they appear to need it. Here is a portion of the 66 explanation":
From the beginning of this century, down to the present time, great attention and much labour have been bestowed by scientific men upon the calculations which relate to the bus. of life assu., and nearly all that could be desired in this direction has been accomplished. Little or nothing however has yet been done or attempted to improve its practice or to simplify its application to the wants of the community.
The old system of medical examination, with its long and offensive catechism, has been strictly adhered to and preserved, as though it had been perfect from the first, and susceptible of no further improvement.
But if progress has been so great and manifest in matters of calculation relating to assu., some efforts may reasonably now be used to promote the wide adoption of its benefits, by simplifying its practice. It is, therefore, now proposed, with this object directly in view, to apply the principles of assu. without having recourse to medical examination, and the numerous questions now required to be answered before an assu. can be effected. Doubtless some who are terrified at any attempt at innovation, will take alarm at this step. There will ever be persons who resist, as it were, instinctively all attempts at change. Those, however, who are capable of larger views, will perceive, that vast numbers, hitherto excluded, will now be brought within the reach of the benefits offered by life assu., while at the same time the stability of the office will in no way be endangered. Beyond all question, the present system is not only objectionable, but it is repugnant to the feelings, and repels many who would otherwise avail themselves of the advantages of life assu. It shocks the nervous, terrifies those who after an ordeal are rejected altogether, and perhaps accelerates some latent disorder with which they may be affected. A remedy is now proposed, both comprehensive, and in perfect accordance with sound and safe principles, and which possesses the great advantage of rendering all attempts at fraud by concealment or misrepresentation impracticable and impossible.
The only conditions imposed regarding health were, that persons of "notoriously bad health, or of notoriously bad habits," would not be admitted as members. Satisfactory proof of age was also required before any pol. would be delivered. The prosp., returning to the subject of health, and selection, says:
Under the existing system of life assu. it is absolutely necessary that offices should exercise the greatest caution in the selection of lives. An indiscriminate acceptance of every case would imperil the stability of these estab., and invite the infirm and sickly to seek a participation in the benefits they afford, at rates adjusted to suit those of average health and strength only. Here, no discernment, no examination of individual cases is required; the whole affair is left simply to the operation of the law of average: the very element which it is necessary should have full and perfect play in life assu. transactions. The effect of selection under the present system, though indispensable, stunts the growth of life assu. by excluding from its benefits, except at exorbitant rates, those very persons who really stand most in need of its assistance. . . .
We now reach the tables, of which we must try to give a brief and intelligible description. They extended over classes A. to H. The contributions of the members of each class varied according to their several ages, and were so contrived that the aggregate of the contribution or prem. paid should purchase several paid-up pol. in each class. For instance, in class A. there would be drawn among the 50 contributors, I pol. for £25, and 5 for £5, each fully paid as to prems. The amount of the pol. being payable on the death of its holder. In class D. there were I fully-paid pol. for £500, and 5 for 100 each. The classes E. to H. inclusive embraced some paid-up pol. for whole term of life; and some short-term pol.-making the matter more complicated. We may, therefore, content ourselves with an example of the working of class D). The class having its full complement of 50, the drawing takes place. If the 6 fortunate persons should be aged, say 15, 25, 35, 40, 50, and 60, the contribution and benefits would come out as follows:
Age 15 having paid £8 3 4 gains a paid-up pol. for £500.
The other 44 persons in the class obtained nothing; but were told by the prosp. that they might join another class, and try their luck again! A writer in the Post Mag., under date 13th April, 1858, and under signature "Aleph," pointed out that the prems. proposed to be charged were very ample for the benefits offered.
From the first there was a doubt whether this scheme did not infringe upon the laws against lotteries. Mr. J. H. Lloyd gave a somewhat guarded opinion that it did not ; but we believe the law officers of the Crown took a different view. At all events the scheme of the classes was abandoned early in 1858; and an entirely new phase was presented. It was upon the abandonment of this lottery project that the ins. world was startled out of its slumbers by the announcement of the well-intentioned scheme of CONSOLS INS. From a project, which, of all ins. projects ever propounded, was the most speculative, viz. the Ins. Classes," the Brit., Foreign, and Colonial at once dashed into a project, regarding which it was asserted there could be no speculation—for all was fixed and certain. We do not propose to discuss the merits of the Consols Ins. plan here. That will be dealt with fully under its alphabetical head. We have only now to record the fate of the present Co. after it had made this important change in its system of bus., and a very few words will suffice for the purpose. Before the end of the same year (1858), the Co. was involved in the meshes of the Court of Chancery-arising out of an attempted fusion of the interests of the Era Ins. Asso. with that of this Co. The petition was indeed dismissed; but the Brit., Foreign, and Colonial received its death-blow. In 1859 its bus. became united with, or merged into the Consols Ins. Asso.
In 1858 the Co. had taken over the bus. of the Brit. Exchequer, which was very small. The Co. had an accident ins. branch. The Man. Director of the Co. was T. H. Baylis ; the Sec. was Edward Moseley. [CONSOLS INS. Co.]
BRITISH AND FOREIGN ALLIANCE.—This Co. was projected in 1858, by Mr. Wm. Stafford and others; but did not go forward.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN EXCHANGE.-A co. under this title was projected in 1855, for dealing in reversions, granting loans, and issuing life pol. It did not become matured. BRITISH AND FOREIGN FIRE INS. Co., projected in 1853, with an authorized cap. of £100,000, in 40,000 shares of £2 10s. [power to increase cap. to £1,000,000.] This Co. was intended to be founded for the purpose of taking over the F. bus. of the National Guardian, and to be worked in connexion with the L. bus. of that Co. Jesse Hobson was announced as the Man. The project did not go forward. BRITISH AND FOREIGN LIFE Assu. Co., projected in 1851, by Mr. Geo. Saunders, gentleman, but it did not go beyond prov. regis.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN MARINE INS. CO., LIM., founded in Liverpool in 1863, with an authorized cap. of £1,000,000, in 50,000 shares of £20 each, £4 paid. The quoted price (June, 1872), is £7 to 8. The Co. has branches in Lond. and Manchester. Mr. R. N. Dale is Underwriter; Mr. W. D. Pritt, Sec. The Man. in Lond. is Mr. T. H. Wells.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN PLATE-GLASS INS. CO., LIM., founded in 1870, with an authorized cap. of £10,000, in shares of £2, for the purpose of insuring against loss by accidental or malicious breakage of plate and other descriptions of glass. BRITISH AND FOREIGN RELIANCE Assu. Co., "for life, fire, marine, and general assu.,” founded in 1855, under the title of the New Alliance. In 1857 it took the name above given. The authorized cap. of the Co. was £1,000,000, in shares of £ Mr. Thomas Scott was promoter of the Co. A prosp. issued after the change of name contains its general features, as "non-forfeiture pol. ;" "half-credit prems. ;"temporary credits;" "loans;" "diseased, doubtful, or declined lives;" "deposit branch;" mission to the widows of agents":
The directors of the Brit. and F. R., being fully convinced that the interests of a co. are advanced to a considerable extent by having an active and influential class of agents, and considering how unjust the system is of depriving the representatives of an agent at his death of the usual commission, when perhaps in the very year wherein death occurs he may have forwarded more bus. to the office than any previous one during his agency, have determined to allow to the widows of agents the commission that would have been received by the agent during his lifetime.
Next we reach the "accidental death department," which was a simple plagiarism of a page from the prosp. of the Co. of that name. Then the "marine department," which not only embraced the ordinary ins. of ship and freight, and cargo, but also embraced baggage ins." of passengers and mariners, and "marine casualty pol." Mr. Edward Payton was Man. Director of the Co.
The Co. does not appear to have entered upon F. bus. In 1858 its L. bus. was trans. to the Law Property, and thereafter the Co. carried on marine ins. only.-See BRIT. AND FOREIGN RELIANCE MARINE.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN RELIANCE MARINE INS. Co.-This Co. was founded under the circumstances set forth in the preceding art. In 1858 it took the distinctive title of "Marine." In 1859 it ceased to carry on any bus., and passed into liquidation, under the Court of Chancery.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN SHIP ASSU. Co.-This Co. was projected in 1850, by Mr. William L. Duff, Accountant, Lothbury, but it did not go beyond prov. regis. BRITISH GUARANTEE ASSOCIATION, founded in Edinburgh in 1845, with an authorized cap. of £250,000, in 2500 shares of £10. The bus. of the Co. was limited to "Fidelity Guarantee.' The D. of Sett. of the Co. bore date 8 April, 1845; but as its main provisions are embodied in its Act of Incorp. to be presently noticed, we need not dwell upon them here. The prosp. said:
The object for which the Brit. Guarantee Asso. has been estab. is to provide, by a new application of the same principle [average], an efficient safeguard to the community against losses arising through fraud, dishonesty, or failure to account, on the part of persons holding offices of trust and responsibility, and thus providing a remedy for the numerous evils attendant on the system of private cautionry or suretyship.
The Asso. possesses a cap. of £250,000 subs. by about 450 individuals of undoubted means and responsibility; and the deed of constitution not only provides that the whole partners shall be jointly and severally responsible for the engagements of the Asso., but that the profits shall, under certain regulations, be carried to its paid-up cap.-the shareholders only receiving in the meantime a moderate rate of int. on the contributed stock; thus creating a constantly increasing fund for payment of and claims that may arise against the Asso.
The bonds or pol. issued by the Asso. have been adjusted at the sight of the leading banking cos. and other public estab. throughout Scotland, and they are conceived in the most favourable terms for the employer, being much more comprehensive than those issued by the Guarantee So. of Lond. and other similar institutions.
The guarantee of the Asso. is a never-dying security. Cases of default have frequently occurred, where, upon inquiry being made, it was found that all the sureties had been dead for years. In banks and other large public estab. where the securities are numerous, and the obligants resident in many different parts of the country, at a distance from head-quarters, it becomes nearly impossible to watch over the continued existence of the cautioners.
Obvious and important as are the advantages thus offered by the Asso. to employers of every class, it confers benefits no less valuable upon those who require to find security for their fidelity. The difficulty of obtaining security for personal integrity has placed an insuperable barrier in the way of many persons of the highest character and ability...
In 1846 the Co. obtained a special Act, 9 & 10 Vict., cap. ccclxxv.-An Act to Incorp.
the Brit. Guarantee Asso. The incorp. here given is only of a limited nature, in accordance with the law of 1837, of which we shall speak under LEGISLATION FOR AND AFFECTING INs. Asso.
In 1854 the Co. obtained another special Act, 17 & 18 Vict., cap. ccxvi.—An Act to Repeal and Amend the Act for Incorp. the Brit. Guarantee Asso., and to make further Provisions as to the Management and Regulation thereof. The Co. was empowered to appoint a Board of Management in Lond. The repeal of the former Act was not to revive powers of D. of Sett. The Co. was re-incorp. by the present Act, but [sec. 40]: No bond or pol. given or entered into by the Co. shall in any wise limit or restrict the general liability of the Co. or its individual members, as regards the recovery of any moneys by such bond or pol. to be secured.
Sec. 55 of the Act provided that the guarantee of the Co. might be taken in lieu of security required from persons in public offices and employments; and sec. 58, that the like guarantee might be taken in lieu of security required from persons connected with the administration of the Poor Laws in England and Ireland; and by sec. 62 officers of savings' banks were brought within its range. By sec. 72 a list of shareholders and bal. sheet were to be sent annually to the Board of Trade, who might direct paid-up cap. of Co. to be increased.
The Man. of the Co. was Ralph Erskine Scott; the Sec. Robert Mackay; the Sec. in Lond. was David Forrest. In 1862 the bus. of the Co. was trans. to the European, on terms of great advantange to the shareholders of this Asso.
BRITISH GUARANTEE OF TRUST Co., for "Guaranteeing the Fidelity of Persons Employed by others," projected in 1840, with a proposed cap. of £100,000, in 20,000 shares of £5. The prosp. said:
It is thought that by the exercise of due vigilance, and a searching inquiry into the character and previous habits of the persons who are proposed, few, if any, claims will arise against the Co. In this respect the bus. of the Co. will differ essentially from that of a life office, against which claims must necessarily arise at the death of the parties whose lives are assu.
To protect the shareholders from loss without in any way lessening or impairing the broad and unrestricted security given to the public, the best information has been obtained, and calculations made, which have enabled the Co. to prepare rates of charge, which are considered amply sufficient to protect them against any loss which may arise from the dishonesty of persons whose fidelity shall be guaranteed.
Co. to be dissolved when one-third of the subs. cap. lost. First division of profits to be made in Jan. 1843—afterwards annually. The project never became developed. BRITISH GUARDIAN LIFE ASSU. FUND, founded in 1869, under the title of National Widows, with an authorized cap. of £20,000 in shares of £1, Mr. C. W. Roe being the Act. Name changed 1872; and 17th July, same year, petition presented for winding up the Co.
BRITISH HOMEOPATHIC AND General Life ASSU., ANNUITY AND Rev. Int. Co.—A Co. under this title was projected in 1849, but no substantial progress was made beyond prov. regis.
BRITISH IMPERIAL INS. CORP., Limited, "for Gov. Security, Banking, Life, and Self Ins.," founded in Manchester in 1867, with an authorized cap of £200,000, in 200,000 shares of 1-first issue 100,000 shares. Power is taken to increase the cap. to £2,000,000. The art. of asso. of the Co. bear date 10 Jan., 1867.
The prosp. says this Co. is founded "for the purpose of introducing important advantages into the practice of Life Ins." These are set out as follow:
1. A system of Gov, security banking life ins. A banking account being opened in Gov. securities for each pol., to the credit of which its full value is placed year by year, and held in trust, as the property of the insurer.
2. Assigning to each pol, a current realizable value for every prem. paid, such value being determined by a pub. valuation table, which value is indorsed on each pol.
3. The investment in Gov, securities in trust, as the sole property of the insurer, of the full value of each pol. for every prem. paid, such value not being liable for any other engagement than that of providing for the pol.
4. The vesting absolutely the full power to control the value of every pol. in each insurer.
5. The value of a pol.-banking account under this system amounts to nearly 50 p.c. of all prems. paid. 6. Making life pol. negociable securities of the highest order, always available to their holders for monetary purposes.
The scheme is in fact Dr. Farr's system of "Consols Ins.," with some modifications introduced by Mr. T. H. Baylis. As we intend to deal with the Consols system specifically under its alphabetical head, we need not dwell upon it here; but we have to deal with the special features of this particular Co.
This Co. has a distinguishing feature from the Consols Assu. Asso., not in principle, but in practice, viz. that whereas in that co. the claims were to be paid in Consols, and the surrender values in cash, in this case the very reverse is adopted." The claims are payable in cash: the surrender values in Consols. This is unquestionably a very great improvement.
The Co. has adopted the system of "Local Trusts"—that is, of placing the funds of each district under the control of two trustees in that district, by whom alone any portion of such funds can be withdrawn. There is also a general Deed of Trust, vesting powers in Central Trustees.
The following T. shows the annual growth of the Co.'s bus. :
Year ending June 30, 1868, Pol. Issued 115, Insuring £23,850.
£64,790. £138,825. £193,180.
Total prems. received to 30 June, 1871, 19,789; total claims paid to same date, £2765. The bus. of the year ending June, 1872, will not show any marked increase. The Co. has a non-par. branch, the investments in which are made in Indian securities, purchased with a view of realizing a rate of int. of not less than 4 p.c.
The annual audit-sheets of the Co. form one of its more marked features. The object of these is to show the amount of Consols standing to the credit of every pol. in force at the close of each financial year.
The plan of the Co. has been much commented upon by the press; in some cases receiving the highest laudation, in others the reverse. The following, from the Insurance Record, may be regarded as the utterance of an able and impartial authority :
The promoters are very sanguine about the profits they are going to make, since they state that the shareholders will secure at least 5 p.c. int. on their investment. But where are all these profits to come from? They point to the enormous profits made by the most successful of existing cos.: but these cos. realized nearly all their profits by investing their funds at a rate of int. considerably higher than 3 p.c. This will not affect the present office at all. The only source of profit they have is what they can save out of the proportion of prems. allowed for expenses, and perhaps a very small sum from the payment of the surrender values in stock instead of cash, and the difference in the int. on the investments made when the funds are at a discount. Before the shareholders can get 5 p.c., they must make £10,000 p.a. profit out of the above sources, since they are to have only 20 p.c. of the profits realized; and it will be many years before they will be able to make that amount. The profits can never be but a small fraction of those realized by other well-established offices, and on that score they will never be able to compete with them. . . .
The Co. make a great point in the prosp. of their scheme of pub, a table whereby each pol.-holder can tell the value of his pol., and which certainly has many advantages-all fully set forth; but some of their remarks are very unjust to other offices, for, although we only recollect seeing one other prosp. there may be more in which the surrender values are pub., still the offices nearly always state that they will give at least one-third of the prems. paid. Instead of giving nil, or something very insignificant, as stated in the prosp. before us, the offices are in the habit of giving a very liberal value for their pol., and frequently, when a pol. has been in force some years and has received large bonus add., the sum allowed for its surrender has far exceeded that put forward by this Co. We may also mention, for the information of Dr. Farr, that there are offices which return 50 p.c. of the prems. ann. to the assured, and will besides give a liberal value on the surrender of the pol."
These remarks will apply equally to any other Co. transacting bus. on the same footing; but as they were specially addressed to this Co., we reproduce them here.
It only remains to be added that the Co. is under conscientious and energetic manage ment. Mr. John A. Feigan, the Gen. Man. (and sole owner of the copyright in the project), is an earnest believer in its success. He believes the large amount of cap. already sunk in the enterprise will bring a bus., which in the end will be productive of profits adequate to yield a return upon and replace all expenditure incurred. Mr. Wm. Davies, the Sec., is alike energetic and sanguine. The auditor is Dr. Farr, F.R.S., than whom no man is entitled to greater respect. The Trustees-both central and local—are men of known position [it is not their function to take any part in the details in the management], and the Directors are all men of bus. We shall watch the future of the Co. with much interest.
BRITISH INDUSTRY LIFE ASSU. Co., founded in 1852, with an authorized cap. of £100,000, in 20,000 shares of £5; power to increase to £200,000. This Co. was understood to have been founded by some of the men foremost in the management of the late Feargus O'Connor's land scheme- a scheme which, however well intentioned, was made the pretext for the most shameful abuses, political and financial. The prosp. speaks of the Co. as:
Adapted to meet the requirements of the middle and industrial classes by granting pol. as low as £5, or under that amount, according to age; by accepting prems, in weekly, monthly, quarterly, halfyearly, and ann. payments; by protecting the assurers where circumstances arise to interfere with their regular payments, and other decided advantages unattainable by the rules of general assu. offices. Then, speaking of L. ins. generally, it says:
Clothing life assu. in the humblest possible habiliments, disguising its virtues under the most retreating form that ingenuity could invent, it would yet be difficult to prevent the most unpractised eye from discovering the presence of a true friend; indeed a guardian angel, whose ministering objects cannot but be considered little less than divine.
An inspection of the following T. will show that the interests of all classes have been consulted in their formation, and that the poor man may follow the dictates of affection and duty, by using the road now thrown open to his use. It is to be hoped he will not neglect or delay embracing the means thus afforded him of showing to a discerning public, that the coarser cloth does not always cover the coarsest heart, and that the poor man's affection for his offspring issues from as pure a source, and flows as determinedly along, as may that of the generality of those who are termed the better classes. We shall see presently how well the interests of the "poor man" were regarded by the then managers of this Co.
In the ordinary prosp. was a Table [No. xvii.] showing the annu. that might be secured at the age of either 50, 55, 60, or 65, receivable until death, by a weekly payment of one shilling. "Prems. cease when annu. commences, and will be all returned in case of earlier death.' Thus a person aged 25 might by paying Is. per week secure an annu. of £6 1s. 6d. to commence at 50; or £9 4s. 9d. to commence at 55; 14 10s. 3d. at