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These rates can not be taken as presenting the final answer to the question raised on an earlier page as to the effect on cost of the enlarged liability fixed by the new law. The companies claim that they are themselves without adequate data for determining the proper rates of premium charges and must in self-defense fix them sufficiently high at first, subject to revision on the acquisition of further material on which to base their computations. This will be but a repetition of the course followed at the time of the inauguration of the act of 1897, the rates for the first year of its operations being sharply reduced after a year of experience. The actual changes under the earlier act are set forth in the following table reproduced from the report of the Wisconsin labor bureau on the subject:
PREMIUM RATES CHARGED BY AN ASSOCIATION OF OFFICES FOR INSURANCE UNDER THE WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION ACT OF 1897 IN 1898 AND 1899.
[Source: Thirteenth Biennial Report, Wisconsin Bureau of Labor, p. 47.)
Premium rate per
$100 of wages.
erection of heavy ironwork).
In the table below are given the premium rates charged in various important occupations and industries by a leading English company immediately following the going into effect of the workmen's compensation act of 1897. The rates cover the full liability under the workmen's compensation act, 1897, the employers' liability act, 1880, and at common law. Special discounts from the rates given below varying from 5 per cent to 15 per cent were allowed to employers with large pay rolls—from £10,000 ($48,665) upward per annum-and to recognized associations of employers in the same trade, where the wages on which premium was paid exceeded £100,000 ($486,650).
PREMIUM RATES CHARGED BY A LEADING ENGLISH COMPANY IMMEDIATELY
FOLLOWING THE WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION ACT OF 1897.
No circular saws...
With circular saws..
No circular saws..
With circular saws.
No loading or unloading.
Loading and unloading.
Bridge building, gasometer
Smelting, puddling, and rolling.
PREMIUM RATES CHARGED BY A LEADING ENGLISH COMPANY IMMEDIATELY
FOLLOWING THE WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION ACT OF 1897—Concluded.
Rates for United
Rates for Scotland.
Per $100 Per £100 of
Per £100 of of wages
of wages wages paid.
2.65 3. 725 1.325 1.60 3. 10 2. 25 2. 375 1.05 1.075
Quarries and mines:
Limestone, granite, ironstone, and all other rocks and min
erals not specially rated Slate...
Excluding the erection of ironwork, tunneling, and blast
Including the erection of ironwork, tunneling, and blasting.
2 10 0 2. 50
10 0 1.50
15 0 .75
10 0 . 50
10 0 50 1 5 0 1. 25 1 15 0
10 0 .50
10 0 .50 1 5 0 1.25
2 13 0
16 0 1 11 0 1 6 0 4 0 0
10 6 1 11 6 1 1 0
10 6 1 6 0 1 17 0
16 0 1 6 6
18 6 1 6 6
10 6 1 6 0
1. 55 1.30 4. 00
.525 1. 575 1.05
1. 30 1.85
. 525 .925
1.325 .55 .525 1. 30
The friendly societies of to-day may be classed as the modern development of forms of mutual self-help and social organization which originated in a period antedating accurate history. With the trade unions, they are the expression of the workman's efforts to provide for his own betterment, social and economic, as he conceived it, during the years of industrial change that resulted in what is commonly known as the factory system. Prior to this there were in existence in England well-developed and powerful organizations known as guilds which represented the traders and artificers in various lines of productive and distributive undertakings; there were also frith guilds charged with the preservation of the public peace, and religious guilds which looked after the needs of the poor among their members or in the community in which such guilds were situated. To these, students of the subject have traced the origin of both the modern trade union and the friendly society. “Both received a new birth at the period of large industries; both owe their existence to the same powerful reaction of the working classes against the deterioration of their material condition; both are among the most conspicuous examples of English self-help.”
The objects which the friendly societies now pursue separately were united in the guilds of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and earlier centuries. The guild form of association underwent change consequent upon religious and political changes in the sixteenth century, when the landed property of the guilds was confiscated (acts of 1545 and 1547); and within a hundred years the transition seems to have been practically accomplished, the last dissolution of a guild being probably cne reported in 1650, while friendly societies are recorded as dating from 1666 and 1687, with no doubt many others coming into existence during this second half of the seventeenth century. The society organized in 1687 was still in existence in 1906, as were others dating from 1703 and 1708. The claimant of the longest record is a Scottish society, said to have been established in 1555. The Report of the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies for 1906 reported 229 centenarian friendly societies as in existence on December 31, 1905.
Though the guild was in effect legislated out of existence by the acts referred to above, it had enjoyed several centuries of legal recognition, the rules of trade guilds having been certified by the commissary of the Bishop of London as early as 1354. It was not until 1773 that the attention of Parliament was turned to the necessity of legislation for the growing number of friendly societies, and twenty years elapsed before the first act on the subject was passed. Supplementary acts were passed from time to time, and (omitting mention of prior reports and enactments) after an investigation by a committee of the House of Commons, all laws relating to friendly societies were consolidated by an act of 1855. A royal commission which sat from 1870 to 1874 recommended further changes in the law, and those recommendations were the basis of the act of 1875, which practically forms the charter of present operations, though that law is modified and improved in some respects by the consolidation act of 1896.
The act of 1793 was "for the encouragement and relief of friendly societies,” which were defined as "societies for raising, by voluntary subscriptions of the members, separate funds for their mutual relief and maintenance in sickness, old age, and infirmity.” They were authorized to make such proper and wholesome rules, orders, and regulations as the majority should approve, if not repugnant to the laws of the realm. To secure the latter point, the rules proposed were to be submitted in writing to the justices of the quarter sessions, who were to examine them, to annul those found inapt, and to confirm the rest. Societies complying with the provisions of the act were to receive certain benefits in the way of exemptions from stamp duties, the protection of funds, etc. In 1819 an act was passed requiring the tables of contributions and benefits to be confirmed by the justices, after having been approved by at least two persons known to be "professional actuaries or persons skilled in calculation." In effect this left the tables to the scrutiny of such persons as the village schoolmaster, and even such restrictions as were thus afforded were removed by an act of 1829, which also made the confirmation of submitted rules obligatory on the justices if a barrister had certified that they conformed “to law and to the provisions of this act.” The justices were to satisfy themselves that the tables might be adopted with safety. This act introduced a form of quinquennial returns of sickness and mortality in a form prescribed by the act.
The provision directing justices to satisfy themselves as to the tables was repealed in 1834, and societies were left free to choose their own rates if they could satisfy the barrister examining the rules that these were "calculated to carry into effect the intention of the parties framing them,” and were “in conformity to law.” The objects for which societies might be formed under this act were limited only by the possibility of calculating by way of average the probabilities to be guarded against; while any other purpose not illegal might be adopted, if the contributions therefor were kept distinct.
A centralizing step was taken in 1846, when the office of the registrar of friendly societies was created, and the rules of societies, instead of being filed with the clerk of the peace of each county, were to be filed in the new office. Actuarial certificates were a prerequisite to the registration of societies. The insurance of children under 6 years of age was prohibited, and savings investment features were added. Quinquennial reports of assets and liabilities were required, but before this provision became effective it was eliminated from the law by an act of 1850. Without tracing further the legislative steps by which the present situation has been reached, enough has been said to show that strong influences have worked both for and against the various propositions that are now incorporated in the law of friendly societies, the principal of which have been mentioned.
There is at present a chief registrar with an assistant for each of the countries of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The registry office has authority to prepare and furnish model forms of accounts, balance sheets, and valuations; to collect and publish statistics, and to circulate, either generally or for any particular district, information as to statistics of life and sickness, and the application of such facts to the business of friendly societies; and in general to furnish information of value to persons interested in organizing societies eligible for registration. Quinquennial reports and valuations of all registered societies are required.