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The Inspection of Collieries was provided for in 1850 by 13 & 14 Vict. c. 100. New provisions were introduced in 1855 by 18 & 19 Vict. c. 108; and again in 1860 by 23 & 24 Vict. c. 151. By 35 & 36 Vict. c. 76 (1872), the regulations of the preceding measures are amended, and boys are prohibited from working in collieries. An Act rendering it incumbent upon colliery proprietors to provide duplicate shafts was passed in 1862. COLLIERIES, INS. OF.-The liability of Collieries to explosions and other casualties has naturally drawn the attention of owners, occupiers, and others to the question of ins. in relation to risks of this character.
The first attempt of this kind of which we have any knowledge occurred in 1858. There had been about that period a continued series of casualties beyond the average in severity. A number of gentlemen in one colliery district conceived the idea of ins. as a matter of individual protection. They wanted the ins. not only to cover damage resulting to the colliery itself and the adjacent works; but also to take the risk of providing for the widows and families of the workmen injured.
The present writer was called in to advise. After an exhaustive investigation of the whole subject, so far as the information could be obtained by means of the reports of various Parl. Commissions, and from the ann. reports of the inspectors of collieries, the Board of Trade returns, etc., he felt compelled to advise against the project. The principal considerations leading to this determination being :-(1). The necessarily heavy amount of the individual risks-i.e. in a large colliery in full work an ins. of less than from £5000 to £20,000 being regarded as hardly of any protection. (2) The aggregation of risks in an individual colliery-for the more severe the injury to the works, the more likely would be a large sacrifice of human life. (3) Only certain districts of Gt. Brit. are subject to explosions from fire-damp; hence the owners in other districts would not ins., and finally (4) the same atmospheric influences which rendered explosions probable would affect all the collieries in a given district, and indeed all the dangerous districts, at one and the same time. These reasons could not be rebutted, and the project then fell through.
It was of course pointed out that so far as the workpeople themselves were concerned, they were not wholly left without protection, as friendly sos. and accident ins. cos. were open to them, although unhappily these were too often not made available.
Subsequent attempts have been made in the same direction. We propose to notice these briefly, and to place on record the leading statistics adduced.
In 1865 a return was prepared showing that there were 3268 collieries in the U.K., employing 307,542 miners, who produced 98,150,587 tons of coal, valued at the pit's mouth at £24,537,646.
In 1866, after the disaster at the Oaks Colliery and several others had drawn marked attention to the subject, Mr. Lonsdale Bradley introduced the question of ins. by means of several able letters in the Times. He said that the main difficulty he and others had felt was in reducing the risk to a proper average. But prosecuting his inquiries over a long period, and carefully examining all the conditions that lead to the loss of life and property in coal mines, he had ascertained that such a recurrence of accidents prevailed as indicated the operation of a law uniform in its action, when spread over a long period.
He said he had ascertained that there were annually, from all causes, not less than 900 accidents, involving loss of life to about 1000 colliers. He had endeavoured to ascertain the pecuniary cost of the injury from explosions, fires, fall of roofs, inundation, and breaking of machinery, and believed he had succeeded in doing so.
1. Cost of Accidents to Property.-In one of the most dangerous districts of the kingdom there had occurred in 16 years accidents by explosion costing £56,914; these ranged from £200 to £25,000 each. This, supposing all collieries to be equally fiery, would give £910,624 as the loss sustained in 16 years. This would give £28,457 a year, which is greatly in excess of what would be the actual loss sustained. It is quite safe, therefore, to make the following estimate :
395 falls of roof, £10 each
140 shaft accidents, £50 each
122 miscellaneous, £50 each
Accidents without loss of life
It had next to be considered what was estimated as the value of the property upon which this loss annually falls, and the provisions by which it may be equitably ins. There were in the U.K. 3180 collieries. They were valued as follows: 50 valued at £100,000 each...
Again, accurate returns from one of the more dangerous districts show that among 418 collieries there occurred in 16 years: Underground fires, costing £22,700; inundations, £2700.
2. Loss of Life in Collieries.-The result of an examination of the official returns on the subject shows that the average number of accidents, involving the loss of life, occurring each year is: 62 explosions; 395 falls of roof and coal; 140 accidents in shafts; 122 miscellaneous accidents in the pit; 55 accidents at surface; 77 from similar causes in ironstone pits: total accidents involving loss of life, 851.
In 1869 Mr. Stephen Sleigh addressed a letter to the Times, on the practicability and safety of applying the ins. system alike as regards life and property to the case of colliery accidents, wherein he said:
Owners and occupiers of collieries have long felt the want of an inst., formed on sound and equitable terms, which would give increased security to capital invested in the extraction of coal, and which should include provision for the sufferers from accidents in the collieries.
Asso. for securing individuals from losses produced by accidents beyond their own control now form an essential part of our social system. Yet there is one description of property having a value which has been carefully estimated at from £100,000,000 to £150,000,000 stg., and which adds ann. to our national wealth nearly £30,000,000, and gives employment to more than 300,000 coal miners, which has not hitherto been secured from loss either of property or life by any system of ins.
Colliery accidents were often of so startling a character, and so irregular in occurrence, that every one supposed a coal mine to be entirely removed from the operation of such protection as in other cases the system of ins. afforded. Data have, however, been collected during the last 15 years, on which the most perfect reliance may be placed, which demonstrate the interesting fact that colliery ins. admits of being practised with as much certainty and with greater profit than attends the assu. of an ordinary life or of a ship at sea.
An examination of the conditions which lead to the injury of property in coal mines, and the loss of life among colliers, has been completed. Returns, collected with great care by gentlemen especially qualified for the task, have furnished data upon which an estimate of the average cost of accidents to colliery property has been obtained. Tables, constructed from these sources, show that a recurrence of accident prevails uniform in its action when spread over a long period-the law of "averages prevailing in this as in every other division of human casualty-and, therefore, capable of being provided against by ins.
The statistics already given are here referred to. advantages to be secured:
The following are the specific
In its operations colliery ins., when estab., would secure the wealthy owner against inconvenience and the small proprietor against ruin. It would make coal property a security for loans, and enable a struggling proprietor to borrow money for the extension or improvement of his works.
Supposing a colliery proprietor to ins. his colliery, he would be able to secure to himself payment for damage to his property arising from explosion, inundation, fire, or other casualty, and to make provision for the widows and children of men perishing by accident in the colliery.
An ins. on the life of the miner would also tend to fix him in his locality, and thus enable means to be taken for the instruction of his children. At present the coal mining pop. is essentially a vagrant one, moving from pit to pit, and from one coal district to another. Under the influence of a system which provides him with future guardianship, he will in most cases continue to dwell in the scene of his home and labours, and in that permanency of dwelling place to allow means to be taken for the social regeneration both of himself and his family.
In providing for "the widow and the fatherless," colliery ins. would put an end to those appeals to public charity which, however nobly answered, do little more than ameliorate present want.
The prob. rate of prem. for colliery ins. is next considered.
A prem. ofp.c. (10s. for each £100 ins.) would produce upon £70,000,000 the sum of £350,000. Supposing the co. ins. one-fourth only of the collieries thus estimated, £87,500 would be ann. obtained; and supposing the co. had every one of the dangerous collieries, and the whole of the accidents, £63,000 is all that would have to be paid, leaving £24,500 to meet int. on cap. and all incidental charges. Even in extreme cases which are not likely to occur in the course of any one year, a large amount would therefore be left as profit on the transactions.
Suggested rates of prem. per cent.-Class 1.-Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Scotland, E., Derbyshire. Average, 6s. 3d.; for pits in non-fiery districts. Class 2.-Lancashire, N.E., North Stafford, South Stafford, Cheshire, Worcestershire, South Durham, Scotland, W. Average, 10s.; for pits in occasionally fiery districts. Class 3.-Lancashire, W., North Wales, Northwest Yorkshire, North Durham, East Cumberland. Average, 135. 9d.; for non-fiery pits in fiery districts. Class 4.-North Durham, Northumberland, Cumberland, Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon, South Wales, South-west Yorkshire. Average, 275. 6d. ; for fiery pits in fiery districts. Finally, we have the proposed rates for ins. of the colliers:
There are killed ann. 1000 colliers. According to the inspector's returns there are in the U.K. 307,540 colliery miners. At 2d. p. week, or 8s. 8d. p.a., supposing all those individuals were made to contribute that sum, or that the coal-owners insured the lives at the rate of £43 6s. a year for each 100 of those employed, £130,000 would be produced each year. The number killed being actually 1009, supposing each man to leave a widow and children-not more than one-half would do so, but probably they would leave mothers or sisters who were dependent on them-then £100 might be given to each, with an expenditure of £100,900, leaving an excess of £30,000.
In 1871 a scheme for a Colliery Ins. Co. was completely developed, and put forward, with a directorate composed of gentlemen practically conversant with the bus. The advantages of the project were thus tersely enumerated:
1. Indemnity against loss by accident will, on its recurrence, relieve colliery owners from inconvenience, and some from stoppage of works. 2. Ins. will in all cases give increased value to coal properties as securities for loans, which may be wanted for the extension and improved working of pits, but which, coal properties being uninsured, are not readily, if at all, obtainable. 3. Ins. will add considerably to the market value of coal mines, raising it in many cases from 5 to 10 or more years' purchase. 4. Ins. of individual interests in collieries will enable partners and shareholders to protect themselves from loss resulting from accidents. 5. Ins. of the colliers' lives against fatal accidents in the pits will antidote a large amount of misery, which the public, in answer to "charitable appeals," can do little more than very partially alleviate."
The aid of Dr. Farr had, we believe, been called in by the promoters. A letter of his appeared in the prospectus, wherein he says:
I fully concur in the opinion that the ins, of the collieries of this kingdom would be of great benefit to the colliery int., and to the kingdom at large, by distributing losses over wide areas of such property, and thus preventing disastrous losses to individuals or firms. I think ins. as applicable to collieries as it is to other property.
Mr. Robert Hunt, of the Mining Record office, said:
I am convinced that a system of ins., judiciously organized, would be a means of relieving much of the distress which ever attends a colliery accident, and that the proprietors of coal mines would find it to be greatly to their interest to avail themselves of the advantages offered, as by them the burden of anxiety would be removed, and the fear of loss withdrawn.
Other practical men wrote in favour of the project; but, as we shall presently see, with all this influence, it did not go forward.
Colliery Ins. yet remains an enterprise for future development.
COLLIERY INS. CO., LIM.-This Co. was founded in 1871, with an authorized cap. of £1,000,000, in 100,000 shares of £10; first issue not to exceed 50,000 shares.
The chief objects of the Co. are: (1) the ins. of owners or lessees of collieries against loss in the collieries from explosion and fire; (2) the ins. of individual interests when the colliery as a whole is not ins.; and (3) the ins. of provision for widows, children, and dependent relatives of colliers killed by accidents in collieries.
The prospectus sets out the following facts:-"1. The property in British collieries is valued at 160 millions, and the coal raised adds annually to the national wealth more than 30 millions sterling. 2. There are upwards of 3000 collieries, and on an average accidents happen to one-third annually. 3. The colliers employed in the British collieries number more than 300,000, of whom upwards of 1000 perish ann. by accidents in the pits. 4. But neither the property in British coal mines nor the lives of British colliers are at present protected under any system of ins." And then proceeds:
The public have, therefore, for many years felt the want of an inst. for the ins. of capital invested in collieries, and for the ins. of colliers' lives against casualties arising from pit accidents.
The apparent irregularity and uncertainty of colliery accidents, and the destructive nature of many of them as regards life, have led some persons, unacquainted with the subject, to consider this class of property to be beyond protection by a system of ins. The experience of the last 20 years, however, has demonstrated the fact that colliery ins. may be practised with as much certainty and success as attends any of the ordinary forms of marine, fire, and life ins.
Collieries are properties as accurately planned and as accessible as any manufactories insured against fire, and damage to their works is as readily ascertained.
The Colliery Inspectors' Ann. Rep. to Government furnish reliable data of accidents and loss of life; and returns, collected by gentlemen qualified for the task, give the pecuniary cost of all colliery accidents. Tables constructed from these sources show a recurrence, within given limits, of accidents uniform in number and results, and therefore capable of being provided for by a system of ins.
Graduated prems., calculated upon like principles to those which regulate ordinary ins., prove that an income will be obtained from colliery ins. fully sufficient to cover liabilities and to give very liberal profits to the shareholders of the Co.
General rates have been carefully determined for the coal districts of the U.K., but as collieries differ from one another in respect of physical conditions and modes of working, so the general rate of a district will be modified according to the special circumstances of each colliery.
A general inspection of the collieries under ins., for the private information of the Co., will be carefully maintained. The supervision thus exercised will be a reliable support to the colliery proprietor, and give that protection to the colliers which they will never, perhaps, be able, by legislative enactment, to obtain.
In estab, an office for the ins. of property and life in the collieries of Gt. Brit., this Co. will enter on its bus. with undeniable prospects of success. No single ins. office deals, in actual practice, with one-tenth of the amount of bus. which this Co. will undertake, and it has no competitor.
The cap, of the Co. is amply sufficient for all contemplated purposes. A larger amount, while it diminished dividends, would not add to the power of the Co.
The enterprise was launched under the authority of gentlemen of position and influence. Dr. Farr was announced as at the head of the actuarial department; Mr. Robert Hunt as at the head of the mining and mineral department. The press gave it a good reception. But those practically engaged in colliery enterprise failed to realize the advantages offered, and the project has met with only a limited measure of success. It was part of the scheme to estab. local boards in the mining districts. Mr. Stephen Sleigh was promoter, and Sec. pro tem.
COLLINGRIDGE, Augustus.—A great promoter of Ins. Cos. of a doubtful class, some twenty years since. The Post Mag. exposed the man and his doings successfully. The following is a list of the chief of the cos. promoted by him :-(1) Merchant Traders Ship, 1845; (2) General Shipping and Freight, name afterwards changed, and founded as General Commission Ship Loan, 1846; (3) Port of London Marine, 1847, of this he was Managing Director; (4) Sea, Fire, Life, 1849, of which he was Man. ; (5) General Freight Assu., also 1849. There were probably several others in which his name did not prominently appear. The history of each of these projects will be given in its alphabetical place. [It seems only fair to state, as the name is an unusual one, that this gentleman was in no way associated with the respected owners and pub. of the City Press.] COLLINS, DIGBY, was Sec. of National Horse Ins. Co. during its brief career. COLLINS, FRANK H. L., Ins. Broker, 82, Cheapside, was trained to ins. bus, in the Legal
and Commercial. About 1853 he was appointed Man. of city branch of Unity Fire. was for a short time Sec. of that Co. In 1860 he became Sec. of Whittington, in which
position he remained until 1864. Mr. Collins is one of the very few who have estab. a successful bus. as a F. ins. broker in Gt. Brit. In the U.S. there are many such. COLLISION [French Abordage]. In a general sense Collision is the act of any two or more bodies coming forcibly together; but in navigation it means the shock of two ships coming into sudden and violent contact at sea, by which one or both may be more or less injured.McCulloch's Dict. of Commerce.
COLLISION [or RUNNING DOWN] CLAUSE.-The object of this clause in marine ins. pol. is to afford some relief to shipowners in respect of their liability under the "Merchant Shipping Acts," for loss or damage occasioned by the improper navigation of their vessels --and which is not covered in the ordinary form of pol. That liability is fourfold, and arises from the following casualties-1. Loss of life, or injury to any person on board of the defaulting ship. 2. Loss or damage to goods or effects on board of the same ship. 3. Loss of life or injury occasioned to any person on board of the other vessel. 4. Loss or damage caused to the other vessel herself, or to any goods or effects on board of her. The amount of damages recoverable against the shipowner under all these heads taken together is limited to a sum equivalent to £15 p. regis. ton in the case of sailing ships, and £15 p. gross ton in the case of steam ships; but in respect of loss or damage to ships, boats, goods and effects, it is limited to £8 p. corresponding ton. It is in respect of this latter only that the "Collision Clause" comes in; and even here it only ins. up to three-fourths of the value of the loss sustained. The first three heads are ignored altogether. "It is evident (says Mr. McArthur, who treats the subject very ably) that this contracted system of compensation is inadequate to the real wants of the case. It has led to the formation of Shipowners' Protective Asso., and other kindred sos. created to fill up the gaps in the pol. of ins., as well as to gather the golden grain that the underwriters let fall."
There are several varieties of this clause in use, but the following may be regarded as the standard form, as adopted at Lloyds, after communication with the Liverpool Underwriters Asso. and the Salvage Asso. :
And it is further agreed that if the ship hereby ins. shall come into collision with any other ship or vessel, and the insured shall in consequence thereof become liable to pay, and shall pay to the persons interested in such other ship or vessel, or in the freight thereof, or in the goods or effects on board thereof, any sum or sums of money not exceeding the value of the ship hereby assu., calculated at the rate of £8 p.t. on her regis. tonnage, we will severally pay the assured such proportion of threefourths of the sum so fixed as our respective subs. hereto bear to the value of the ship hereby assu., calculated at the rate of £8 p.t., or if the value hereby declared amounts to a larger sum, then to such declared value, and in cases where the liability of the ship has been contested with our consent in writing, we will also pay a like proportion of three-fourth parts of the costs thereby incurred or paid: provided also that this clause shall in no case extend to any sum which the insured may become liable to pay or shall pay in respect of loss of life or personal injury to individuals from any cause whatever. Mr. McArthur enumerates the following heads of liability attaching to the owner, which are not reached by the "Collision Clause." 1. Loss of life or injury to persons in the defaulting ship. 2. Loss of life or injury to persons in the other vessel. 3. Loss or damage to goods and effects on board the defaulting ship. 4. One-fourth of the damages and costs as deducted under the Collision Clause. 5. Damages assessed by a foreign tribunal in excess of £8 p. ton. 6. Loss or damage occasioned by improper navigation without actual contact. 7. Damage to piers, jetties, etc. Adding:
It is not asserted that all these excepted risks should be borne by underwriters. Some of them, especially such as relate to loss of life and personal injury, have been long considered foreign to the contract of marine ins.; and it has also been deemed expedient that the shipowner, by sharing the penalty, should have an interest in preventing, as far as possible, the occurrence of collisions. How far these opinions are correct is a question open to consideration; but it may safely be affirmed, that if marine ins. is to fulfil its mission, the "Collision Clause" must be revised in a liberal spirit.
COLLISIONS [OF SHIPS], GENERALLY CONSIDERED.-From the foregoing it is seen that the subject of Collisions presents itself in many aspects before the underwriter. We can but deal with the question in a somewhat general form here. There can be no doubt that from the great increase of navigation in certain beaten tracks, the risk of accident from collision has been very considerably increased. The practical aspect of the subject ranges itself mainly under two heads:-1. The measures to be adopted to prevent the occurrence of collisions. 2. To determine by whom the loss, when collisions do occur, is to be borne. The remarks we have to make, and the writers we have to quote, generally range themselves under one or other of these two heads.
At Common Law every master of a ship is bound to keep a proper watch at sea — especially in channels much frequented by shipping; and to use every precaution to avoid coming into contact with other vessels. But this matter has been judged too important to be left wholly to depend on the good sense and care of individuals; and with a view to the securing of attention to the subject, and to the obviating the confusion that would unavoidably arise were ship masters left to follow their own ideas respecting it, rules and regulations have been laid down with respect to the courses to be steered when ships are passing each other, the signals to be made during fogs, the number and description of lights to be exhibited at night, and other particulars.—McCulloch.
The possibilities under which a collision may occur and the rules acted upon by
the Court of Admiralty were very happily set forth by Lord Stowell in the case of The Woodrop Sims (1815). ́ In the first place, it may happen without blame being imputed to either party: as where a loss is occasioned by a storm, or any other vis major. In that case the misfortune must be borne by the party on whom it happens to light, the other not being responsible to him in any degree. Secondly, a misfortune of this kind may arise where both parties are to blame-where there has been a want of due diligence or of skill on both sides. In such a case the rule of law is that the loss must be apportioned between them, as having been occasioned by the fault of both of them. Thirdly, it may happen by the conduct of the suffering party only, and then the rule is that the sufferer must bear his own burthen. Lastly, it may have been the fault of the ship which ran the other down; and in that case the injured party would be entitled to an entire compensation from the other.
In the U.K. while the liability of shipowners had long been limited by statute as regarded their capacity of carriers by sea, they remained liable for the whole amount of the damage faultily occasioned to others in collision, as stated by Lord Stowell, down to 1813, when there was passed the 53 Geo. III. c. 159, section I of which exempts the liability of the owners from :
Any loss or damage arising by reason of any act, neglect, matter, or thing done, omitted, or occasioned, without their fault or privity, happening to any goods, wares, or merchandize, or other things laden on board, or which might happen to any other ship, or to any goods, etc., on board any other ship, further than the value of the ship, and of the freight due, or growing due for the voyage in prosecution, or contracted for at the time of the loss.
This limitation of liability of the owner to the value of the ship and freight is in accordance with the practice of most foreign nations, as provided by their ins. ordin. or otherwise-with this important exception: that whereas in most other countries the value of the ship and freight is to be estimated as it was immediately before the collision, in Great Britain it is held that the value must be taken directly after the collision.
In 1840 the Trinity House promulgated a series of rules for the guidance of vessels under circumstances of threatened collision, or with a view to their avoidance; and while they had not the force of law, yet masters not complying with these regulations were held to be guilty of unseamanlike conduct, and the owners were made responsible for the consequences. The later Merchant Shipping Acts have embodied similar regulations, and therefore we now have actual legislation upon the subject.
By the Merchant Shipping Act, 1854–17 & 18 Vict. c. 104—the liability of the shipowner, in cases of damage to ship or goods, was made to depend upon the actual value of the offending ship, and the freight due or to grow due in respect of such ship during the voyage in prosecution, or contracted for-the value of such ship and freight to be taken as not less than £15 p. ton, when the damage arose in respect of loss of life or personal injury. By the 504th sec. this limitation, however, only applied to cases where the loss or damage happened without the actual fault or privity of the owner. (See 1862.)
At the Social Science Congress held at Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1859, Mr. J. T. Danson, Barrister-at-Law, and Vice President of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, read a paper: On the Law of Collisions at Sea, where Foreign Vessels are concerned. The paper
is a very able one, and has often been quoted by ourselves and other writers. The author says:
The risk of collision with other vessels is now one of the most serious to which vessels at sea are liable; and the increasing number of powerful steamers running direct courses, and not always slackening speed at night, or in foggy weather, is annually increasing its importance. Where no blame can be imputed to either of the parties concerned, this risk has hitherto been regarded as one of the ordinary dangers of the seas; and as such it may be fully ins. against. But where either vessel is in fault, the risk assumes a new aspect; and it is to this class of cases alone that the present paper has reference.
The point of his paper is this-that the measure of damages against the ship in fault should be made the same whether the ship be foreign or Brit.
By the Merchant Shipping Amendment Act, 1862-25 & 26 Vict. c. 63—it is provided that the owners of any ship, whether Brit. or foreign, shall not, in cases where any damage is by reason of the improper navigation of such ship caused, without their actual fault or privity, to any other ship or boat, or to any goods, merchandize, or other things whatsoever on board any other ship or boat, be answerable in damages in respect of damages to ships, goods, or merchandize, or other things, to an aggregate amount exceeding £8 for each ton of the ship's tonnage. The statute provides further, that where there is a claim in respect of loss of life or personal injury, the owners may be liable to the extent of £15 for each ton of the ship's tonnage; but where there are claims for loss of life, and also claims for damage to ships, goods, or merchandize, the owners shall not be answerable in respect of all the claims to a greater aggregate amount than £15 for each ton. Sec. 33 of this Act, regarding the duty of the commander of the ship in case of collision, has a painful interest at the present moment, in relation to the unfortunate Northfleet; it is as follows:
In every case of collision between two ships it shall be the duty of the person in charge of each ship, if and so far as he can do so without danger to his own ship and crew, to render to the other ship, her master, crew, and passengers (if any), such assistance as may be practicable, and as may be necessary