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I THE ROYAL INSURANCE COMPANY. At the annual meeting of the Royal Insurance Company, held last Friday, Char-les Turner, Esq., M.P., in the chair, the Actuary and Manager (Mr. Percy M. Dove) read to the directors and shareholders the twenty-first annual report of its affairs :— "FIRE BRANCH. The statements of adverse results shown by similar establishments during the last year will have prepared the proprietors for the announcement which the directors have to make that, to some extent, the company has shared in the general calamities of fire in. surance offices during that period. The fire losses sustained by the Royal Insurance Company have amounted to X318,946 Os. 6d., or nearly 77 per cent. of the premiums received. This is far beyond the legitimate per-centage of claims which, under ordinary circumstances, would have accrued, though less than the amount anticipated at one period of the year; and, although the total sum is 10 per cent. less than the average ratio of loss recently an- nounced authoritatively as falling upon three other well-known and highly respectable establishments of large revenue during the year 1865, this combined ex- perience affords, together with the still more disastrous results of some other companies which might be referred to, undeniable evidence that the premium charged upon fire insurance is at present unremunerative. This now-established fact has, however, formed so universal a theme of regretful comment at recent meetings of fire. offices, that the directors of the Royal content them- selves with assuring the shareholders that they are prepared for a re-arrangement of rates of premium. They will, however, at the same time, as they have ever done, carefully guard against recognising more than a moderate addition to the existing charges sufficient to meet the exigency of the occasion, and no more. "Passing [to another subject-the progress of the company, as respects the amount of business effected, has been satisfactory, the returns of duty published by Parliament, on the motion of the chair- man of this company, exhibiting by far the largest measure of increase which the company has ever, in its most prosperous times, experienced. The total net amount of fire premium for the year, after deducting guarantees, is £ 414,733 13s., which does not show an advance quite corresponding in com- parative amount with the increase of duty. This, it should be explained, arises in some measure from the fact that the directors voluntarily surrendered a portion of their accruing advances of premium for the purpose of protecting themselves by guarantee from undue limits on any one risk. Hence, in no small degree they consider they owe their exemption from any very large claim on any single insurance during the year, the largest amount of loss on any one strictly individual risk being little more than X6,000 They have not been hindered from this prudent eourse by the consideration that when their guarantee account was last investigated it was found that, for a period of six years the company had paid £ 88,934 8s. 6d. more, in the shape of premium to its guaranteeing connection, than it received in amount of claims. It would, however, be inconsistent with a true stability of purpose (which should remain unmoved by acci- dental or erratic results) if the directors were drawn from a prudent course of action by any experience of this kind covering a limited space of time only. "Before passing from the subject of the fire depart- ment, the directors would draw brief attention to the favourable effect which would be produced if a judicial investigation were permitted by legal authority on the occurrence of fires. It is satis- factory to know that a wide -spread opinion has recently arisen throughout the country that a measure of this character would be attended with the happiest results. Such a system exists, more or less, in maIaY of the continental cities; and the natural consequence is, that the ratio of fires in several of them is far less than in the cities and large towns of this kingdom, and that the protection of insurance can therefore be obtained at a much less rate of premium. This is, however, more a general than an exclusively insurance j question, as it affects the whole body of the nation. I A well-digested Act of the legislature for this purpose would materially increase the general security of life and property, and would ultimately tend to reduce the premium for insurance to an extent which, unless the subject were duly weighed and examined, would scarcely be imagined. LIFE BRANCH. "Turning now to the life branch, it remains to be reported that the progress has been marked by un- checked success. This will be made clear by one or two statistical expositions. "Taking the four previous quinquennial periods, it is found that the first from 1845 to 1849 inclusive, commenced with a sum assured for:— Tear 1845 of £ 23,319.and ended the period with a total sum assured of £ 27<Z,79Q. The Second, 1850-54 Do. 1850. 95,650. do. do. 733,408 The Third, 1855-60 Do. 1855. 206,514. do. do. 1,655,678 The Fourth, 1860-64 Do. 1860 449,242. do. do. 3,439,215 And now the first year of the fifth like period—viz., 1865, the company has granted assurances for X886,663 7s. 8d., nearly twice the amount at the com- mencement of the last quinquennial period-more than one million sterling having been proposed during the yew. The amount of declined lives alone ia • £ 189,947 la. 2d. "If therefore, the result of the total five years, end- ing in the year 1869, were to have a corresponding increase with the previous periods of five years each, the amount of business that would be effected in the quinquennial period now running would ba more than has ever been on record in any insurance establish- ment in this country. The directors likewise have to report that the life and annuity funds have increased by the sum of £ 103,146 7s. 3d. A further important testimony, however, is given than the Royal has not even yet arrived at the zenith of its favour with the public, by tho fact that the sum assured for the six months of the present year, after deducting all guarantees thrown off, almost reaches half a million sterling, the actual amount being < £ 499,12i 4a. od., a sum larger than the total amount assured for the entire year commencing the last quin- quennial perwd, so that, at any rate for one further year, the i rape ass or continued advance is not likely to slacken. In this department the shareholders and policy-holders, have the opportunity of which it is trusted they will,avail themselves, not only to keep up the high position of the Royal, but even to advance it considerably. The result of such an aetivityon their part, it is confidently affirmed, would so tell upon the permanent prosperity of the establishment that the favourable result on the property of the shareholder and on the profits of the life assurer would be such as would exceed their highest anticipations. Tha directors ba,d during the last months of the year 1865 entertained some apprehension that the re- sults of the vear, so far as respects the fire business, would have been far worse than they have turned out to be. Many of the fire claims, however, having proved ia their settlement far less than the estimated, aad. the increase of revenue at the satne time having reached to a larger sum than was at one time anticipated, the total result, includ- mg interest, instead of showing a considerable loss O,UL the Y"ar's transactions, forms a gain of ø.£¡916 7s. 5d. on the year. t Tbe directori, propose to the proprietors that a dividend be declared of 3s. per share, and a bonus of 4s. per share, together 7s. per share, free of income tax. It is a matter of satisfaction to state that after withdrawing the amount of this dividend and bonus from the profit and loss account, a credit balance will still remain to that account of no less than X62,076 9a. in addition to the reserve fund, which, by the aug- mentation ot tha year, now reaches the Bum of X116,913 28. 1011. "Notwithstanding, therefore, the comparatively unfavourable aspect of the fire insurance business, these two funds together will now be actually more than they were only three years previously (1862) by the sum of £ 24,743 lis. Sd." The chairman, in an elaborate speech, adverted to the losses of insurance companies generally through- out the past year, and said that although the Royal had come in for its Bhare, it had not suffered to the extent of others; but he continued "The business of the last year exhibits aconsiderable increase on that of the year preceding; and at the end of December, 1865, the accumulated funds of the life and annuity departments araaunted to £740,458. We are advancing every year in the issue of now policies, at a rate surpassing that of most other ) companies; and, judging from past experience and present progress;, we may fairly anticipate the addition of £ 100,000 annually for the next ten years to our present accumulation of X740,458, so that it is not beyond the bounds of reasonable possibility that, at the end of that time, the Royal will hold, in its life funds alone, not much less than two millions sterling." The report having been well received and unani- mously adopted, thanks were voted to the auditors, Messrs. Titherington and Younghusband, for their past services, and who were re-elected. These gentlemen having responded, a vote of thanks to the manager was passed by acclamation. Mr. P. M. Dove in responding said: The cir- cumstances connected with insurance transactions during the last year or two have certainly not been of a kind to form a bed of roses for those who have had the conduct of companies dealing in such matters. No shadow of distrust has, however, crossed my mind consequent on those dis- asters which have formed the subject of discussion at many insurance meetings lately. Unpleasant while they last, and requiring as they do no ordinary degree of tension for all our business qualities, they may be looked ou in some measure aa merely items in a neces- sary process going on for the correction of certain evils which have existed in the insurance world for some years, increasing in intensity year by 5 ear, but now, it must be confessed, aggravated by new hazards, for which no calculations have yet been adequately made. For some years the establishment of an insur- ance office has been considered the easiest thing in the world, and certainly, as far as the originators of many companies established of late years are concerned, who having launched these establishments re- ceive their reward, and then leave them to their fate, it has been so; but it is a far different thing to sustain them afterwards, or to make them yield any profit after, perhaps, the first year or two. It is not in times of prosperity aud ease that true principles are thoroughly tested. We have kad, and are still in the midst of, an epoch of trial and disaster, by fires, to offices around us, and in some measure to ourselves; and it is now, I think, judging from the proceedings of this day, more seen than here- tofore, and more acknowledged by the shareholders, that the principles which have governed this great company are sound and prudent ones (applause).



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