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THE PRUDENTIAL ASSURANCE COMPANY.

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THE PRUDENTIAL ASSURANCE COMPANY. IT has often been said-and with a truth that cannot be gainsaid-that the Prudential has a kingdom of its own in the insurance world and is not properly comparable with any other institution. And. that observation may well recur to the minds of those who read the sixty- sixth annual report, which (as usual) contains some remarkable intimations in regard to the amounts received and paid out by the company, the announce- ment of an amazing new business especially in view of the circumstances prevailing in 1914,and statistics covering operations of a magnitude without parallel in this country. All that, however, is what we have been accustomed to read in the annual state- ments submitted by the Prudential, and we should not pause on this occasion to dilate on the wonderful results achieved by the company in the past year if it were not for the fact that 1914 will always be remembered as a time of ex- ceptional trouble and depression in which many progressive business insti- tutions were unable to make headway, even if they did not experience a sharp reverse of fortune. But anyone un- acquainted with the conditions which prevailed in the latter half of the year and drawing inferences from the report presented by the Prudential would probably come to the conclusion that 1914 was a year of unexampled pros- perity and that the life assurance com- panies found matters made compara- tively easy for them. How very different the actual experience was we t need'not stop to remarl- but it might certainly be excusable if persons not in touch with the trend of insurance affairs, receiving a copy of this report, .formed the impression suggested. Once again the Prudential astonishes even those who had declared that no success attained by the mammoth company could surprise them. Taking the announcements in the order in which they appear in the re- port, we note to begin with that in the Ordinary Branch 65,751 policies for sums amounting to t6,318,843 were issued, producing a new annual premium income of £ 424,353. The last amount is very little less than in the previous year, in which, however, a larger num- ber of policies were granted and the total number of assurances put on the books were for a considerably higher amount. But the results actually achieved must be regarded as splendid in the circumstances, and, if they re- assert the immense popularity and influence of the Prudential Assurance Company in the British Isles, they also testify in convincing fashion to the admirable efforts put forth by officials and agents in a year of exceptional diffi- culty. Also, if the results secured in the ordinary branch are more than excellent, considering the troublous times, what can one say in regard to the triumph attained in the Industrial Branch, in which premiums totalling £ 8,176,202 were received and the increase compared with the previous year was no less than 1801,746 ? Commenting on the Prudential's accounts this time last year, we had good reason to congratulate everyone connected with the company upon an increase of £ 81,894. In the Ordinary Branch the company paid out over £ 4,000,000 for claims in respect of 9,351 deaths; in the Industrial Branch the claims of the year required a dis- bursement of £ 3,378,850, and the num- ber, including surrenders and 6,734 endowment assurances that matured, was 392,883. The total of industrial policies in force at the end of the year was no fewer than 20,085,010. These figure invite reflection and open up many avenues of thought. In conclusion, we may refer to the patriotic course taken by the Prudential in deciding to charge no extra premium in respect of existing policies on the lives of those engaging for the period of the War, and, with regard to existing policies on the lives of members of the regular forces, in conceding excemption as to extra premium on zC250 assurance on any life. Many difficult problems, says the Actuary in his report, Have arisen owing to the outbreak of war, th past experience of warfare affording no reliable means of assessing the extent of the extra risks incurred." And, afte referring to the waiving of extra premiums on policies in force, he mentions the special endowement assurance devised by the company for all ranks of His Majesty's forces to meet the demands for assurance of those on active service, and states that it has al- ready proved highly successful. We may add that the Prudential have throughout given every encouragement to their staff to help the country in its emergency. Over 450 men from the chief office have joined the Colours, and more than double that number from the outdoor staff. It will also be in the recollection of our readers that the Prudential took £ 800,000 of the War Loan-one of the largest allotments granted to a single applicant. From every point of view, then, the gre^t- institutiop did well in 1914, upon which never to be forgotten year all who are connected with the compahy may loo back with justifiable pride. t