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spoons, cited above. We are pleased to observe that most of them do regard it in that liglit; for, although two or three representatives of the right class have attended the recent indignation meeting, to protest against the proposed investigation, at least four-fifths of the protesters belong to the questionable class. In short, there were just sufficient of the former in attendance to vindicate the adage that there is no rule without an exception. It is worthy of remark that the anti-investigation movement seems to have been gotten up by the Mutual Life, and that its chief allies are the Ilomeopathic Mutual, the Widows' and Orphans' Benefit, the American Tontine, the Great Western Mutual, the World Mutual, the Standard, the North American, &c.
Now, if only the two concerns of Batterson, and one or two others, including the Vampire Mutual, had been represented, what a collection there would have been of the friends of the widow and orphan! It is true that we never attend such meetings; never have attended such; but if any think we are wrong in our analysis of the clements of the meeting, we beg leave to refer them to the insurance journals, which give the full names, titles, honors, &c., of the protesters. If there was any representative of the Security Life, the Knickerbocker, the Mutual Benefit, the Phænix Mutual, the New England Mutual, or the New York Continental, we find no record of the fact in the official journals; and we confess that, if we did, we should think there was some mistake.
But our readers at a distance should understand that some of the officers of the Equitable, the New York National, and the Commonwealth, are fond of sport and of a humorous turn. It amuses those gentlemen, as much as any farce or low comedy could, to hear orators like Morgan, Bage, Dow, Marshall, etc., preaching ethics; and it should be remembered that two of the dramatis persone who used to draw so well at the now defunct Chamber of Life Insurance-namely, Batterson and Bucklin-were also expected to take part in the recent performance, as, no doubt, thosc enterprising gentlemen would have done had the thing been possible.
As it was, the principal orators were Mr. N. D. Morgan and General W. H.-Ludlow. The latter gentleman is one of the new lights of the profession; we do not know much about the insurance general further than that he seems to belong to that conservative class of underwriters who wish to pay their current bills in insurance, and think that printers as well as others should wait for) their money until they are dead! This may tbrow some light on the speech of the president of the American Tontine. Mr. J. H. Bewley ventures to remark that the object of the investigating committee may not be “blackmail," although all who presume to find any fault with a certain class of insurance companies must be “ blackmailers ;" otherwise they would have nothing but praise to bestow on so righteous a body! Be this as it may, Bewley is
called to order by Morgan. Taking no particular notice of the circumstance, Bewley resumes, and, among other things, says:
" It is not an attack upon the companies. The most that can be said of it is, that it is an attack upon a company which, up to this time, has been a disintegrating element in every endeavor of life insurance companies to join for mutual protection and safety; and now that they themselves are under the harrow, they are ready to join in and to get the other companies to help them out."
This is rather bard on our friend Winston. We hope the “harrow" will not scratch him half as hard as he cleserves; for although we have no admiration for his treatment of the widow and the orphan, we should not do him the injustice of comparing him to the Battersons, the Scribners, etc. If, indeed, a culprit in too many instances, lie has at least the manliness to bear a castigation with a good grace. There is no underwriter whom we have criticised more; yet, so far as we are aware, he has never sent us a threat in any form-never molested us in any manner. Few would believe how different has been the conduct of others whom we have criticised and who deserved criticism at least as much as Mr. Winston. Take Batterson, for example, who is constantly sending to our office the filthiest abuse. That worthy person has, however, learned by this time that we are not of the class who are frightened by such as he. We beg to assure him that if lie sent us copies of a new number of his quack-nostrum sheet every week, each duly marked as usual, lest we miglit overlook his “ sound and fury," we should rather pity than hate bim; if we do not pity him as it is; if we liave no stronger feeling for him than contempt and a wish that he could improve his ways, most sincerely do we pity certain widows and orphans !*
But this is irrelevant; for our business just now is only with the defenders of the Mutual. Morgan having done his part, Ludlow must do his, and, accordingly, the Tontine general accuses the harrower of “putting up men of straw and knocking them down again," whatever that may mean. In our opinion, if there be not something very rotten in Denmark, Mutual should much rather pray to be protected from defenders like Morgan and Ludlow than from half a dozen investigating committees, addressing each of the orators in some such language as the following, and getting Dr. Bombauch, of Baltimore--the only insurance editor, we believe, capable of the feat-to translate it into the vernacular:
“Quid immerentes hospites vexas, canis
Ignavus adversum lupos." It is pleasant to turn from such as this to some of the annual reports before us. Take, for instance, that of the New England Mutual. In this we have a calm, lucid, and able discussion of what life insurance really is in competent and honest hands. This company announces its
* One of the insurance journals tells us that "President Batterson " is “entertaining the question of removal" from Hartford. Indeed we have often thonght that he would find a change of atmosphere necessary. But we are further informed that a “prominent and lucrative official position has been tendered to Mr. Batterson in this city." This reminds us of the rumor that Barnum is preparing to open another museum. Batterson would be just the person to show off the Feejee mermaid, the wooly horse, and the bearded lady.
abandonment of the note system, but far from attacking it because rival companies still retain it, the directors defend it as follows:
" It has been the custom of some officials in their public reports, when drawing comparisons between the two systems of transacting life insurance business-the cash and note plans-comparisons they are not warranted in making by any principle upon which they hold office-to stig. matize Premium Notes, interest accrued, deferred quarterly payments, etc., as Unrealized Assets,' thus affording some agents and solicitors an undue advantage in presenting the claims of their respective companies to public confidence. There is no difference, so far as safety is concerned, between a cash company and one which allows payment of premium partly by note, if the notes are secured by ample collateral."
We beg leave to call the attention of such companies as the New York Life to this honorable course of conduct, believing that it would be for their own interest in the long run to imitate it in dealing with its rivals as well as with its policy holders. In our opinion, though it cost some money at the outset, it would be a safer investment than the white marble building, which some consider as more or less suicidal on the part of the company; but here we are reminded that among the new " advantages” offered by the New York Life is the following:
"6th. Suicide does not cause a forfeiture of the policy, that being considered an evidence of insanity, and insanity the result of disease."
Since the insured forfeits nothing by cutting his throat or strangling himself, because such an occurrence is merely “ the result of disease,' why should it not be equally harmless for the insurer? Yet we do not advise Mr. Beers, who is said to be the inventor of the suicide "advantage,” to make away with himself, even though the " white palace” should prove rather an unwise affair after all. But, wishing to contemplate good rather than evil, we prefer extracting another passage from the Report of the New England Mutual:
“During the twenty-six years of the Company's operations it has issued 37,000 policies, insuring $110,000,000. It has paid, in claims by death, $4,200,000, and has returned during the same period $4,000,000 as surplus, besides retaining an ample reserve, according to the established practice of the company. This reserve, or re-insurance fund, December 31, 1869, amounts to $7,871.354 09.
"The funds of the company amount to $8,432,751 09, therefore there is a surplus arising from the past year's operations of $480,339 00, to be distributed among the members as their premiums fall due the present year."
It seems to us that these passages indicate more rational“ advantages” than the largest rewards that could be offered for suicide ; and we are much mistaken if some of the governments of Europe do not regard the question in the same light, in the event of an attempt being made by the New York Life to carry out its peculiar plans on the other side of the Atlantic. The sort of passports it gets from the insurance journalsespecially from those of Philadelphia-would hardly do, even when they embrace several pages of the most bombastic eulogy of “its executive officers."
The passes partout of the Knickerbocker appear to us much safer, though they occupy a much smaller space; in the following the suieide " advantage” is not "offered ;” but we think that, upon the whole, it is
as well, for there are certain forms of discase, which it is not desirable to encourage : 4 Assets since January 1st, 1870
$6,680,966 00 Income in 1869
5,041,924 00 Dividends paid in 1969
513.410 Total Policies in force
22,078 Total amount insured.
$68,569,267 00 Amount paid to Widows and Orphans of deceased members in 1869
813,280 00 These figures are abundantly expressive, and need no comment. Perhaps they will aid in explaining why it was that the New York Life was represented at the late meeting, whereas the Knickerbocker Life was not,
But we must mention a few more of the absentees as their names occur to us. Among the nearest to the place of meeting was the Security Life, but this had nothing to protest against—no fear of investigators, whether they came from Albany or elsewhere. On former occasions we have shown what remarkable progress it has made from year to yearevery new year exhibiting a large increase in its excinplary work. Nor does the last year form an exception, as may be seen from the following:
1869 No. of Policies issued each year
4,386 6,358 Gross Receipts
$1,055,242 $1,428,164 Amount Insured by New Policies
11,564,389 17,062,590 Total Gross Assets
1,854,670 2,377,652 Both the Phænix Mutual and the Mutual Benefit were too far off to aid in saving those of the brethren“ under the harrow ;” but had it been otherwise we suspect they would have kept aloof as carefully as the Manhattan and the Continental, and allowed the barrowing to proceed without making the slightest protest. They would have avoided Morgan and his compeers as scrupulously now as they did while those gentlemen held their monthly exhibitions in the "Insurance Chamber.” But let iis see what they have to say at the opening of spring; we find that neither depends on miracles, like the Mutual Life; nor on insanity, like the New York Life.
The Phænix Mutual never hesitates or pauses in doing good; it is pleasant, therefore, that no “hard times”—no panics against insurance retard its increasing prosperity, as may be seenfrom the following facts and figures. We find from official documents before us that the Phønix has insured more than 43,000 lives since it commenced business; that it has paid the families of deceased policy-holders over $1,250,000; that its assets have increased to over five millions ($5,081,973 50); that it has a surplus, free of all liabilities, of nearly two millions ($1,868,904 50); and an annual income of $2,432,979. There are various other evidences of its complete success,
but these are sufficient for us; and our readers do not belong to the class who need to be wearied with testimony in order to understand obvious facts. This, it will be admitted, is a satisfactory passport; even the “ black-mailers" from Albany-as
those troubled with a guilty conscience are pleased to call the investigating committec-will bardly find any flaws in it.
As we liappen to turn to Hartford, we may remark, in passing, that that flourishing and beautiful little city bas lately rather degenerated in its insurance prestige. The Batterson class of underwriters are increasing there much too fast; it is true that if all the right class were as unremitting and persistent in their energy as the Phænix Mutual, this would not avail to any serious extent. The Ætna Life, and the Charter Oak Life, are, indeed, honorable and reliable companies; the honesty of each is beyond question. But one as well as the other sometimes halts in the midst of its most successful and prosperous efforts. While both liesitate thus, the Phænix pursues the even tenor of its way; the latter never waits for “something to turn up; nor does it fear that any terrible catastrophe is going to overwhelm the insurance world.
There are no underwriters for whom we have more respect than for Mr. Walkley and Mr. Enders; we believe none mean better, and in general none do better. If they would only eschew wavering, and not change their plans too often, their companies would be as progressive in their prosperity as they are always faithful to their trust; but as long as they disregard elements of success so obvious as those alluded to, they must not be surprised if in its own quiet but steady way the Phønix Mutual eclipse the prestige of each ; especially as it has already no superior anywhere in all it undertakes to perform. But to return nearer home.
It is our sincere opinion that there is no company anywhere more ju(liciously or more successfully managed than the Mutual Benefit Life, of Newark. It is always dignified, straightforward, and unostentatious, as well as solid. Without engaging in any quarrels, or pretending to perform any miracles, it has always a satisfactory statement to make at the beginning of the year. From that now before us it appears that, during the past year, it paid claims by death to the amount of $1,211,709 73– nearly a million and a quarter. Its receipts during the same period were over six millions and a half, ($6,594,836 86), while its assets amounted, January 1st, 1870, to $19,345,639 81. We have heie proofs of prosperity, of which any company of equal pretensions might well be proud; but the Mutual Benefit does not belong to the arrogant or boasting class. Although its directors have recently made important changes in regard to its premium loans and dividends—changes which every intelligent policy holder will appreciate on reflection--they are not made the pretext of any clap-trap. In short it is very evident that the New Jersey company is under no harrow, and needs no “ registry," “tontine," or "black mail” friends to save it from the wrath to come.
At for the Manhattan, we have never known it to occupy any doubtful position; it never makes extravagant "offers ” of any kind. Its officers are no speech-makers, but they are not the less shrewd, thought