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PROVINCIAL INSURANCE COMPANY.

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PROVINCIAL INSURANCE COMPANY. The seventeenth annual meeting of the shareholders of company was held at the Wynnstay Arms Hotel, Wrexham, at noon on 25th ult., Thomas Barnes, Esq., chairman of the Board of Directors, presiding. The following shareholders were present;— Thomas Barnes, Esq., chairman, Messrs James Bell, J. R. Barnes, G. Bradley, John Bury, S. T. Baugh, C. G. Bay ley, Wm. Clayton, William Connor, R. S. Comberbach, C. B. Clough, R. N. Davies, Rev. James Dixon, Messrs E. Davies, M.D., David Davies, John Dickinson, Rev. Samuel Evans, Messrs A. W. Edwards J. F. Edisbury, J. H. Foulkes, T. T. Griffith, M. Gum- mow, John Gittins, Charles Hughes, J. A. Hughes, T. R. Hey- wood, John James, James Jackson, Thomas Jones, T. Ingham, 'ZVi111 ;M\J,nnes' ;,ohn J°nes, solicitor, Daniel Jones, John Jones (Chester), 1. C. Jones, Thomas Eyton Jones, R. V. Kyrke, C. E. Kershaw, Edward Lewis, John Lewis, E. Lovatt, Rev. William Lews, Messrs William Low, W. M'Ewen, M.D., John Milligan, Milligan, W. Overton, Jonathan Owen, Rev. E. Powell, Messrs G. Powell, Robert Parry, J. T. T. Pilkington, Captain P. U. Panton, R.N., Messrs K Powell, William Pierce (Liverpool), K. Peters, E. Prosser, Thomas Price, E. Rowland, W. J. Sisson, Eo Sm sen., E. Smith, jun., E. B. Smith, Edward Tench, Thomas Williams, and William Wilcock. The report, having been printed and circulated amongst the shareholders, was taken as read. It was as follows :— REPORT. The directors have now to present to the shareholders their report of the business of the company for the year 1869. In the lire department the premium income was ,£65,704 2s. 7d., and the claims paid £40,507 5s. lOll. The directors have pleasure in stating that, although from causes which are not likely to recur, the tire income was not so large as that of 1868, yet the income from direct busitie.-ta (which has received their special attention), and the amount and num- ber of new insurances, exceeded those of any previous year. The Board have also great satisfaction in being able to state that the claims since the Commencement of the current year are much smaller than they have been for the corresponding period of any one of the last six years. In the life department 587 proposals were received, resulting in 477 policies, assuring £123,378, and yielding in annual premiums £4,056 15s. 4d.; the total income of the department being £ 38,856 8s. Id. The claims paid during the year amounted to £ li,240 6s. lid. The depressed state of trade throughout the country consider- ably retarded life assurance business during the year while the recent public disclosures with respect to certain offices caused many persons who might otherwise have become assurers to hesitate and delay. The influence of these causes has been felt by this company in common with others; still the new premiums nearly equalled those of the previous year. The periodical valuation of the life business will be made at the close of the current year, but the directors have, for the satisfaction of the policyholders and shareholders, requested the consulting actuary of the company to furnish them with his opinion of its present financial position, and they have great pleasure in calling attention to the following communication from him:— <i Directors of the Provincial Insurance Company. GENTLEMEN,—I have been furnished by the secretary with a statement of the new Life Assurances which have been effected from December, 1868, to 31st December last, and also of the number of policies which have been struck off the books of the company during the same period, and have been requested to express my opinion as to the state of the life business of the company at the end of the past year. Having made an approx- imate valuation of the life risks in December, 1868, and con- sidering the increase which has since then taken place in the lile funds, I am of opinion that the life business is in a satis- factory state-that the assets are fully equal to the present value of the liabilities. As another quinquennial investigation will be made at the close of the current year I did not deem it necessary to re-value the policies now in force, nor would the time admit of the work being done by the ensuing general meeting. I remain, Gentlemen, your obedient servant, ,.T "GRIFFITH DAVIES. London, ICth February 1870." The directors who retire by rotation are Mr Thomas Barnes, Mr Owen, and Mr Painter. Messrs Barnes and Owen offer themselves for re-election. Mr Painter, having removed his residence from Wrexham, does not offer himself for re-election. The Board greatly regret the loss of his valuable and long con- tinued services, in which feeling they have no doubt the share- holders participate. The following gentlemen have been nominated as candidates for the vacancy at the Board, caused by the retirement of Mr Painter:Mr George Bradley, Grove Park, Wrexham; Dr Edward Davies, Plas Darland, Wrexham Mr W. J. Sisson, Llay Hall, near Wrexham. The directors have observed with satisfaction an improvement during the last few months in the business of the London branch; and they have confidence that the efforts of Mr Lloyd, It'*1 secretary, will be attended with very gratifying The directors are giving their best attention to increasing the number and efficiency of the company's agents, and they hope that the arrangements and appointments made during the past year, as well as others which they have in contemplation, will be followed by a large increase of business. They cannot how- ever, close this report without an earnest appeal to the share- holders for their co-operation. Such a proprietary as that of this company have it in their power to double the new business in a single year. THOMAS BARNES, Chairman. ROBERT WILLIAMS, Secretarv. Ihe CHAIRMAN, in moving the adoption of the report, sa'id he thougiit that, in one view, it might be said to be a satisfactory one, though in another view, the Directors felt that it was not. It could not be satisfactory to the shareholders so long as there was no dividend and yet if they compared it with the report of last \ear, and if they took into consideration the circumstances in which, in common with other companies the com- pany had been placed during the past year, he thought there were elements in the report which were satisfactory, The income of the tire department showed a considerable falling off in the receipts, amounting to something like £11,000, but for which the Company would have stood something like ,£7,000 or £8,000 better than it did because the fixed charges could not he materially reduced, and therefore anv falling "off told directly upon the protits of the Company; but insurance business was in itself a business of risk, and it would be unrea- sonable to expect that every year should be a year of prosperity, rhe > ears 18(5-4,18G5,156(5, and 186/, were four verv bad vears thou°"h he could not say that any of the business taken in those vears was imprudent or extra risky. Two or three of those years were very bad years commercially, and this had the effect both of increasing the losses and of preventing- the Companvrecouping itself by an increased business. The directors had no doubt, though of course it would be impossible for them to prove it' that a large number of the fires by which the company suffered loss in those years were intentional and would not probably have taken place but for the bad state of trade at that time. The falling off in tire business had arisen from several causes In the tirst place, the directors during 1869 had restricted the amounts of their limits on certain classes of re-insurance with other offices. Another cause of the falling off was a cause which he must name though hewould much rather pass it over in oblivion, and that was the action of persons who were under an obligation to the company and who ought to have been its friends—who in fact had engaged to be its supporters. Those persons had now done ali they could do and the company had nothing more to fear from them. What they did was adverse to the company's interests for a time, but only for a time. It had the effect of reducing their re-insurance business with some offices. Time cured misrepresentations and misconceptions and the directors thought it best to work away, and leave those mis- representations and erroneous conceptions to rectify themselves There was a third reason. The company's London Office had greatly disappointed the expectations of the Board and they had deemed it necessary to make some changes in the Branch and he was glad to say that for some months past the increase of business in London had been of a most satisfactory character and he believed that in course of time they would have a. very much larger business in London, and of a very much better character than they had had hitherto. It would be seen from the accounts that the total amount of the Are losses during the year had been £10,507. The number of losses was 581 and therefore the average loss was only £69. He should state that of the losses which had fallen upon 1869, a large proportion arose from insurances effected in 1868, in which year, as he had before observed, the income was larger than in 1869. He would now refer to a topic of a little more pleasant character—the losses the company had escaped. They had, of course, declined a large number of proposals, and they had ascertained that in fourteen of those fires had since taken place The total amount which would have been insured, had they taken those risks, was £20,721, and the losses they would have incurred amounted to about £15,000. They had escaped this large amount of loss by declining those insurances. Why were they declined ? Some of them were declined because the premiums the company required for those risks were greater than the in- surers would pay others were upon a class of risks which the company does not accept; and the remainder were upon risks which the directors declined, because they believed them to be bad of their class. With respect to the life department in 1869 there were issued 477 policies against 595 in 1868 The amount of new insurances effected in 1869 was £123,000 against £130,000 in 1868. This showed a falling-off in the amount as- sured, but the premiums paid in 1869 amounted to £ 4 056 against £ 4,169, showing a larger average in the amount of'the policies, and consequently a better class of lives. The total in- come of the life department in 1809 was £:38,356 against £35,623 in the preceding year. The shareholders would see from the report what the consulting actuary of the company, one of the most careful of actuaries, thought of their life business. This letter was the best evidence of its satisfactory character. The di- rectors believed that the life department was in a thoroughly sound and prosperous condition, and the number of proposals which they had received since the commencement of the current year was very satisfactory. During the year through which they had passed, insurance business all through the country was greatly shaken by what had transpired in respect to one "Teat company which had been before the world. For some weeks after the exposure in reference to that company, life business was almost altogether at a standstill, and fire business was also considerably affected, but the alarm appeared to have subsided and proposals were now coming in freely, and he thought that next year, when the quinquennial investigation was made it would be found to be of the most satisfactory character The repeal of the duty had not yet made much difference, but he did not think it had yet had time. They had to teach people to insure. He should like to ask every proprietor present whether he was doing his duty to the company bv insuring his own pro- perty, and thus setting an example to others. Such a proprie- tary as that of the Provincial had it in their power to double the business of the company in a single year, and thus place the di- rectors in the position to pay not only a dividend, but a very good dividend. There was only one other matter which he would allude to, and that was the Bill which had been intro- duced into Parliament by Mr Cave. He had not seen that Bill but it was one he thought that every proprietor should look at. He was told that it was in many respects a good Bill, and that most of the large companies were in favour of it. There may be some points in it which might affect them, and it was their interest to. see what the clauses of the Bill were. After referring to the loss which the company had sustained on the retirement of Mr Painter from the Board through the state of his health requiring his removal to a milder climate, the chairman said he looked upon the prospects of the company as very favourable They had passed through a very flat and bad state of trade generally, and they were now entering upon an improved state of things, from which he thought they would derive benefit even if they did not take any special means to increase their business. But they were doing so. Their secretary, Mr Wil- liams, had already commenced, and was carrying on a systematic visitation of the agents in different parts of the country and stimulating them to greater efforts, and inducing them, if pos- sible, to increase the business of their agencies. The beneficial results of this visitation were already seen he intended to visit every agent, as soon as his time would allow him to do so. In conclusion, he asked the proprietors to use their best efforts to increase the business of the company, and with their co-opera- tion—with the means which were being used, and with the im- proved state of trade which they believed had set in—the direct- ors were confident that next year their report would shew satis- factory progress, They had now passed through two months of 18/0, and he was glad to say that they had sustained fewer losses by fire, and were in a much better position than they were at the same time last year, though last year was a considerable im- provement upon the previous one. Dr GRIFFITH seconded the adoption of the report. He said he thought they must all agree that a fairer, more lucid and more satisfactory statement of a complicated business than had been given by the chairman could not have been given. There was much in it to encourage them. As consulting surgeon of the company, of course he had examined every life proposal that had been presented since the 1st January, and he might safely say that in his experience of the company's transactions there had not beeu a better succession of lives offered than in the last two months. Several remarks having been made and questions asked with regard to the accounts by Captain Panton, Mr Wilson Edwards Dr Davies, Mr Low, and others, and replied to by the chairman amI secretary, The report was unanimously adopted. On the motion of Mr ARLINGTON HUGHES, seconded by Mr MILLIGAN, Mr Barnes and Mr Owen, two of the directors retir- ing by rotation, were unanimously re-elected. Three gentlemen had been nominated as candidates for the vacancy at the Board, caused by the retirement of Mr Painter namely, Mr George Bradley, Grove Park, Wrexham, Dr Edward Davies, Plas Darland, Wrexham, and Mr W. J. Sisson, Llay j;{; M', ]- -1 ■j i.c :i t Hall, near Wrexham. The latter gentleman, whilst thanking his friends for the compliment they had paid him in nominating him, stated that not having had time to take active measures to secure his election, although several gentlemen had sponta- neously offered him their support, he preferred withdrawing; and the contest, therefore, lay between Mr Bradley and Dr Davies. Mr Bradley was proposed by Mr JOHN JONES, solicitor, and seconded by Mr OVERTON; Dr Davies. was proposed by Dr GRIF- FITH, and seconded by the Rev. JAMES DIXON; aud upon a show of hands the choice fell upon Dr Davies by a majority of terr-a ballot was then demanded on behalf of Mr Bradley. (The poll took place at the close of the meeting, and resulted in the election of Dr Davies by a majority of 259 votes, the num- bers being—For Dr Davies, 660 and for Mr Bradley, 401.) On the motion of Mr PILKINGTON, seconded by Mr THOMAS WILLIAMS, the sum of £500 was voted to the directors for their services during the past year. Mr Prosser, the company's superintendent of agents for South Wales, made a few pertinent remarks upon the excellent posi- tion and prospects of the company in his own district, as evidenced by the amount of business done, and concluded by making a forcible appeal to the proprietors to exert themselves to increase the business of the office and to help the agents to do so. On the motion of Mr OVERTON, seconded by Mr EDISBURY, Mr John Bury, of Wrexham, and Mr John Jones, of Chester, were re-elected auditors for the ensuing year, and the sum of £25 each was voted to them for their services during the past year. A vote of thanks to the chairman for his conduct in the chair terminated the proceedings.

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PLANTING HEDGES.

THE MORDAUNT DIVORCE CASE.

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REVIEW OF THE BRITISH CORN…

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THE WELSH EDUCATION ALLIANCE.