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pecially in the shape of white marble, at the expense of their policy holders, cannot endure. Mr. Elizur Wright being somewhat of a wag, as well as a mathematician and insurance philosopher, affects to believe that a certain recent attack on the Knickerbocker is merely the work of an obscure insurance journal published somewhere "out west,” and calling itself a “Review.” Without pausing to inquire who inspired the insurance journal, Mr. Wright ridicules every one of its insinuations in a letter to the esteemed president of the Knickerbocker, from which we extract the following paragraph :
"The attempts of the “Review " to disparage the Knickerbocker by comparing its ratios of reserve to risk, and of total expenditure to total income, with the like ratios of other companies, are either a display of its own ignorance or a presumption of the ignorance of the public-for the comparison proves nothing, unless all other things are equal--which they could be only by one chance in many millions, in regard to any two companies."
None who understand the subject will deny tliis. Mr. Lyman, with characteristic frankness, refers to their true source the representations alluded to, although he does not mention names. · Honorable competition,” he truly remarks in one of his circulars, “is praiseworthy, and when an institution or its agent seeks to malign and injure another by scattering, broadcast, anonymous circulars full of misrepresentations and falsehoods, they should be despised and avoided by honorable business men."
Since ulderwriters, whose conduct towards the widow and the orphan are most exemplary, are thus attacked by members of their own fraternity, it is no wonder that many who are disposed to insure their lives, but have pot perception enough to perceive the influence of envy or jealousy, shake their heads mysteriously, and express their doubts of the whole system ; for our readers may remember that it is not long since we deemed it our duty to the pub'ic to denounce similar attacks made, in turn, on several other standard companies.
It is but rarely that rivals conscious of their own strength aud power are so ungenerous as to make such attacks as those so justiy characterized by Mr. Lyman-never, we think, when their strength and power are the results of intelligence, energy, and perseverance, combined with integrity. If companies or individuals of this character do fall out—as the most peaceful and honorable may occasionally misunderstand each other-they are pretty sure to arrange their difficulties withoui coming to any open rupture. Thus, for example, no company is stronger than the Equitable ; it is not too much to say that it is as solid as its own new and magnificent granite palace; no company has acquired its strength in a manner more in accordonce with the conditions just mentioned. Some time since it had A misunderstanding with the Knickerbocker; but the officers of both companies being sensible, as well as honorable men, the affair was soon amicably arranged.
It is but justice to Mr. Franklin to say that as long as he was the real manager of the New York Life, it was a respectable company; but since Beers, Appleton, and Binta obtained the ascendancy there has been a
melancholy falling off—a falling off which no amount of white marble ; no issue, however immense, of circulars, with or wi out the name of the company, will be likely to counteract. Even the almanacs distributed in thousands after the manner of the quack doctors, as if policies were pills or boluses, will hardly do.
In our orinion, all this is wrong. And if we turn to any of the companies which, far from having recourse to any imposing display or claptrap, are famed for their mcdesty, we shall find that they bear the brunt of anti-insurance sensations much better than their pompous and braggart rivals. Take the Security Life as an instance. We have never heard that this company quarrelled with any one ; it has never shown itself in the least tainted with either envy or jealousy. But is it the worse for this? The best answer will be found in the following brief record of its business for the year just about to close, as compared with tbat of last year:
$5,015,716 It will puzzle all the circular manufacturers and almanac compilers of the New York Life to exbibit a similar state of things. As to the Mutual Life, we think we may overlook its performances this time. If the memorable "whitewashing” process has had the desired effect, others may have recourse to the same contrivance. In the meantime, we have really no ill-will towards the Mutual Life, or any other company. We would recommend Mr. Winston and his colleagues to our readers tomorrow, just as cheerfully as we would any other underwriters, if we could only see that their improved conduct towards their policy holders deserved it But until we have some satisfactory evidence that an improvement has really taken place, and a very decided one, we think it vastly honester to recommend companies like the Mutual Bevefit (N. J.), the Manhattan, the N. Y. National, the N. Y. Continental, the Commonwealth Mutual, &c., in addition to the standard corporations indicated above. We are here reminded, on turning to some of the documents before us, that the Manhattan has just issued a small pamphlet, giving
" Tables of Rates and Terms." Turning over its pages, we find an outline of the company's career, from which we extract the following passage, with the remark, in passing, that we have long been in the habit of receiving the statements of the Manhattan with implicit confidence:
“ Twenty years successful business has placed it among the leading companies in amount of business, while its conservative management commends it to the confidence of insurers as the strongest and best company in the country. Its claims by death, during the year 1868, amounted to only $12,500 on the amount of new policies issued during the year, showing great care in selecting risks. Its ratio of expenses for conducting its business was among the lowest.
4,335,310 Leaving a surplus of..
$927,038 Showing a larger per centage than any other company in this state."
Its Gross Assets Jan. 1st, 1869, were....
The National Life (N. Y.) is an offshoot of the Manhattan, and the offspring continues to be worthy of the parent. The National is not a large or plethoric company, but it is an intelligent, energetic, honest, and progressive company. Its president and vice-president are men of decided ability, and rank, by common consent, among our most experienced and sbrewdest underwriters. Accordingly, notwithstanding the various panics of the year, the National has increased its business during 1869, as compared with that of 1868, nearly 100 per cent. May we not wish, then. sine ullo maleficio, that Batterson, Morgan,: Bage, Eadie, Beers, Cooke, Bucklin, et hoc genus omne, would take a few lessons from them, but more especially as to the difference between promises and performances, and between what is real and tangible and what is merely imaginary.
If Mr. Jones and his colleague should be too busy to give private lessons to so many pupils who are not very quick at learning, perhaps Messrs. Lawrerce and Rogers of the Continental could give them a hand. We could recommend Mr. Wynkoop for the same purpose, especially so far as patience and good temper are concerned; but we are too well aware that any one who has a score or two of modern printers to regulate, cannot have much time or taste, however charitably inclined, for teaching quack underwriters. It is evident, however, that the three gentlemen mentioned find time to secure the steady progress of their own company, for we learn that during the month of November last it issued 902 policies, for an annual premium of $93.814, and that the total number of policies issued since the organization of the company amounted to 19.198 at the first of December instant.
Our confidence in the Continental led us to expect good things for the widow and orphan, fram its progeny, which already bids fair to be pretty numerous. We have every reason to believe that in one case our expectations will be fully realized. Far from having any cause to recede from our first impression of the Commonwealth Life, although we admit it was quite sanguine, its recent progress, and the straightforward manner in which it has been attained, have not only made us cling to that opinion, but rendered us more sanguine still. We do not pretend, however, to be infallible in our impressions—especially of companies so young as the Commonwealth, and therefore will say no more until we see its January statement-except that we expect much from that document. It is otherwise, however, in our estimation, with its twin brother or step-brother, although we hope, for the sake of its parent as well as that of the widow and orphan, that it will not justify the title of Vampire Mutnal, instead of Empire Mutual, which we perceive some have given it already, and yet we must admit we have no good reason to deny the justice of the new christening. But should even the worst happen, it should be remembered that the best parents have often the worst children. None of the new companies makes less pretensions than the Anchor Life; but thus far, it seems preferable to any of the others, except the Commonwealth.
VOL. XX. --NO. XXXIX.
Speaking of the family relations reminds us that, although the Mutual Benefit, (N. J.) like the Knickerbocker, Phænix Mutual, New England Mutual, Security Lise, and Ætna Life, has recently had onslaughts made upon it in various quarters, we see that, like the same corporations, it has recently afforded new proof of its having a truc soul, as well as a pretty large, strong body. We allude to an occurrence which is sufficiently described in a letter, dated Septemder 15, 1869, to Mr. Webb, its Baltimore agent, which we find in a recent number of the “Baltimore Underwriter," and which we copy infra, as an illustration of the manner in which the American compaules 'we regard as honest and faithful vindicate life insurance.
Vo underwriter is more abused, just now, than Mr. Charles Holland, of the Eagle Lise, of Chicago, the ancient and sturdy antagonist of Batterson, the well-known cross-roads insurer of Hartford. We do not pretend to have any particular knowledge of his company, but we think it rather odd that one of the charges made against him is, that, whereas, he should have been all the time absorbed in insurance, if he did not mean to cheat, he has been so careless and forgetful of his duty of late as to write a novel! Now we confess that we rather like him for this; but before coming to any conclusion on the subject, we took the precaution of reading the work. We have never counted either the capital or the assets of the Eagle, but we laave carefully examined Mr. IIolland's “Aspasia," and our opinion of it will be found in our last number. Whatever the company may be—and we certainly know nothing bad of it—the book, far from being a reproach, does credit to its author. In our opinion, it is vastly more honorable for an underwriter, or anybody else, to write such a book, and prefix bis name to it, as Mr. Holland has done, than to write anorymous circulars, stuffed with all sorts of vile misstatements against his rivals in business. We have but little to say, at this time, on either fire or marine insur
In both there have been large losses; but those of the insured who exercised ordinary precaution in choosing their policies will be fully indemnified. Not one insured in a good, lionest company will lose a penny; and if our readers to not know which companies possess those characteristics it is their own fault, for we have often indicated them. Without any pretensions to infallibility, in our discussions of fire or marine insurance, more than in those of life insurance, we think we can claim the credit of being able to distinguish the honest from the dishonest, when we make careful rescarches for that purpose; and we can truly
*** Dear Sir: We acknowledge the receipt, this day, of the value of policy for $10.000, which is in full settlement of claim on the life of the late Henry Pendextr, and we take pleasure in testifying to the promptness and entirely satisfactory way in which your company has paid up this loss, só fully in keeping with its well-established character for promptitude in setting al losses which they may be liable for, and we cordially recommend to all d siring first-class insurance and security, " The Murral Benefit Life Insurance Company of Newark, New Jersey,"
THEODORE S.' BANTZ,
say that, without having done so-without having informed ourselves, as fully as possible, by legitimate and honorable means,we have never condemned any company or association; nor have we been less careful in qualifying ourselves to do justice to integrity and worth. Once in our life we have been mistaken; that was in the case of the Columbian Marine and Morris Fire; we say “once,” because although the names and objects of the two companies were different, they belonged to the one party—their interests were, in fact, identical. Even in this instance the original officers meant well; and when they failed, chiefly from lack of experience, they had injured themselves more than the public.
It may be remembered that at the same time we made some comparisons between the Sun Mutual (Marine), and the Mercantile Mutual (Marine), long before the “scrip dividends” of the former had provedl worthless. When the president of the Sun was promoted to the customhouse, we said nothing, but we confess that our thoughts on the subject were not very complimentary either to the new functionary or to those wlio appointed him. Not that we were at all surprised at the appointment, for in our mind there is some resemblance—though it may be distant-between spurious scrip dividends and political dinners, electioneering speeches, etc. What has happened since at the custom-house; how one“ scrip” person was allowed to resign, and how another (an individual formerly recommended from the office of the Moon Mutual), was promoted to be the right hand man and adviser of his higliness the collector, are things which need not be commented upon here. We will only ask has anything of this kind stained the fair fame of the Mercantile Mutual, or its president? Has the Security (Fire and Inland), or any of its three presidents been caught in the manufactnre of worthless scrip, or in the performance of any other suspicious thing?
Those ready to judge the motives of others by their own may say that it is because the Washington, the Hope, the Security, the Ætna (Hartford), etc., are our friends that we recommend them to our readers. But, assuming this to be the case, does it render their integrity and reliability anything the less valuable to the public? If, in travelling in a neighborhood which happens to be infested with brigands, somebody refers us to one who will protect us, does this protection lose any of its value when we learn that our protector has also protected, or in some other manner befriended, the person who pointed him out to us?
For a similar reason, those who are criticised, are very apt to pretend that it is because the critic has some deadly spite against them at best because they are not his patrons or friends. Now there are at least a dozen fire companies in this city, with which we have never found the slightest fault, although so far as we are aware, not one of them has ever rendered us the smallest service. Take the Hanover for example. This company has been doing a large business in New York for seven