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COMPULSORY ASSOCIATION FOR INSURANCE OF SEAMEN.
The second compulsory mutual insurance association was ordered by royal decree of December 14, 1905, approving the constitution of this association after the preliminary steps required by the law of January 31, 1904, and the regulations of March 13, 1904, had been taken. The decree ordered the association to begin operations on August 1, 1906, under the official title of the Obligatory Southern Maritime Association for Insurance of Seamen against Trade Accidents (Sindacato Obligatorio Marittimo Meridionale per l'Assicurazione degli Infortuni sul Lavoro della Gente di Mare). It embraces the equippers and the owners of ships belonging to the shipping districts of Naples, Gaeta, Castellammare di Stabia, Pizzo, Reggio di Calabria, Taranto, and Bari, with headquarters at Naples.
In all its essentials the constitution of this association follows that of the sulphur mine association, providing the same internal organization of administration and of the finances, except that in levying the contributions upon its members it follows the general law of 1904, which permits the general meeting to establish the rate annually.
OTHER ACCIDENT INSURANCE INSTITUTIONS.
As was explained at some length in the general discussion of the law and its application, in addition to the National Accident Insurance Institution and the compulsory mutual associations, accident insurance may be provided by the following three groups of institutions: (1) Private (commercial) insurance companies; (2) voluntary mutual associations; and (3) private funds, either cooperative or individual. These will be treated very briefly, especially in view of the meager data available.
PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES.
The essential difference between Italy and Germany or Austria and some other European countries lies in the permission to private insurance companies to enter the field of accident insurance. While the Parliament did not see its way to exclude them, it felt the necessity of subjecting their activities to strict supervision and control, so as to protect the interests of the insuring employers as well as those of the insured employees.
Private insurance companies desiring to write accident insurance under this law must obtain authorization from the ministry. Writing accident insurance without such specific authorization is punishable by a fine up to 1,000 lire ($193) for each contract, and the insured employer has the right of action for any damages sustained.
Such authorization must be asked for in written petition, accompanied by the list of premium rates and a sample policy. Variations from the authorized form of policy are not permitted and are punishable by a fine of from 100 to 5,000 lire ($19.30 to $965) and, if repeated, may lead to cancellation of the authorization. Changes in premium or in conditions of policy require special permission of the ministry. The same requirements in regard to monthly reports and a register of insurance apply to the private insurance companies as to the national insurance institution. The accident insurance business must be kept entirely separate from all other business of the company.
. A guarantee fund is required from the private insurance companies which at the end of the year must amount to two-thirds of the premiums received during that year, with a minimum of 200,000 lire ($38,600). When the guarantee fund falls below the required limit and is not replenished within the specified time, the authorization is considered canceled and the employers must, within fifteen days, provide for insurance in some other way.
The great importance ascribed to the guarantee funds is shown by the numerous regulations concerning them. The guarantee funds must be deposited with the Bank of Deposits and Loans in the form of state or guaranteed securities, according to the market value. The valuation must be reviewed each six months, and in case of depreciation of the securities they must be brought up to the required amount. They must also be adjusted every six months to the changes in the volume of operation, and when an increase of the fund is necessary it must be effected within fifteen days under penalty of a fine up to 50 lire ($9.65) per day for failure to comply with the requirement. In case of reduction of the number of persons insured, the administration of the insurance company may petition the ministry for permission to refund the difference, and such refunding may be accomplished by the bank upon order of the minister. In case of the discontinuance of a fund or association, such refunding is not made unless it is shown that all obligations of the company have been met. If the guarantee fund has been impaired by payment of compensation, it must be replenished within one month under penalty of cancellation of the authorization.
The administration of each private insurance company must furnish to the ministry monthly reports of the status and changes of insurance. The annual statements of accidents and compensation must also be published, and for this purpose a register of all accidents must be carried, giving information of establishments, time and place of accidents, their causes, all necessary information in regard to the injured, the injury, and the compensation.
All accident insurance companies are subject to regular examinations by the Ministry of Agriculture, Commerce, and Industry.
Notwithstanding the rigorous demands of the laws and regulations concerning reports from the private insurance companies, the
statistical information concerning their operation is very scanty and fragmentary. The organization of these companies has been already referred to in the chapter devoted to the general application of the law. Unfortunately neither the number of persons insured nor the number of persons compensated is available, so that a comparison must be made upon the respective amounts of premiums received and of compensation paid. The comparison is not unfavorable, since it shows an increase in the share of premiums distributed as compensation from 73.8 per cent in 1902 to 87.1 per cent in 1906.
AMOUNT OF PREMIUMS RECEIVED AND OF COMPENSATION PAID BY PRIVATE INSUR
ANCE ASSOCIATIONS IN ITALY, BY YEARS, 1901 TO 1906. [Source: Bollettino di Notizie sul Credito e sulla Previdenza, August, 1906, and September, 1908.)
It was the avowed intention of the law to stimulate mutual accident insurance among employers by the formation of mutual associations according to the German type. Such mutual associations may be organized by employers who together employ at least 4,000 persons, whether in the same line or in different lines of industry. The organization of each association requires the authorization of the Government, and in addition there are stringent regulations concerning control, accountancy, and guarantee in order that the employees insured in these mutual associations may receive protection equal to that given to persons insured in the National Accident Insurance Institution or in private insurance companies.
Employers' mutual associations must be organized in writing, the articles of incorporation to contain a list of members and establishments included in the association; also evidence of the deposit of the required guarantee fund and of the approval of the constitution by all the employers who intend to join the association, and, finally, evidence of payment of half the annual insurance premiums which the national insurance institution would require for insurance of all the establishments in the association, this initial payment to serve as a fund to begin the operations of the association.
The constitution of the association must contain the usual regulations as to the constituency, the meetings, the administration, and the financial operations, such as the methods of distribution of the employers among the risk classes, methods of settling disputes within the association, surveillance over the establishments belonging to the association, conditions of liquidation of the association, amendments to the constitution, etc.
The articles of incorporation and the constitution must be sent to the ministry for approval or amendment, with all the necessary documents, such as evidence of the payment of the required guarantee fund, a statement from the national institution as to the amount of insurance premiums which the association employers would have to pay, and a list of members, with numbers of workmen to be insured. With the final approval of the constitution by the ministry the association is legally organized. The expenditures of the association are covered by means of annual assessments upon the membership, the amount of the assessments being based upon the expenditures for the preceding year.
All these mutual associations which are authorized to act as substitutes for regular insurance companies must guarantee a scale of compensation which is in no particular inferior to that established by the law, and to assure the solvency and ability of the associations to meet the obligations assumed they are required to place guarantee funds with the Bank of Deposits and Loans, in accordance with the regulations of the minister.
The requirements concerning these guarantee funds contained in the law and the regulations are very strict, since they are the only protection of the injured workman or his family against a dishonest or mismanaged employers' mutual insurance association.
For the employers' mutual accident insurance associations the guarantee fund must equal 10 lire ($1.93) per insured employee, but not over 250,000 lire ($48,250). In addition, a further guarantee is given by the provision that when an association is unable to meet its obligations for payment of compensation the liability reverts to the person responsible for the insurance, i. e., the employer.
The regulations concerning the guarantee funds of the private insurance companies mentioned above also apply to the guarantee funds of the mutual insurance associations.
The formation of voluntary mutual employers' associations proceeded but slowly after the enactment of the first law, in 1898. The first one to organize was the Sindacato Subalpino, in Turin, on November 30, 1898, with over 1,000 employers and some 40,000 employees in various branches of industry. The mining employers' mutual association in Iglesias was authorized on March 31, 1899, with some 15 employers and some 15,000 employees. These were the representatives of two different types of mutual insurance associations, the one consisting of a few large employers in one definite industry and the other of a large number of small employers in many different branches.
Two more associations were formed early in 1900, the Syndicate League, in Genoa, and the Association for Employers on Public Works (Sindacato fra Impresari d'Opere Pubbliche), in Florence, both consisting of several hundred employers and from five to six thousand employees. Thus there were only four associations when the revision of the law took place.
Since then the formation of voluntary mutual associations proceeded at a much more rapid rate. Besides the compulsory associations, three voluntary ones were formed in 1904—for employment in naval ports, with headquarters in Genoa, April 5; for seamen, Genoa, April 15; and Sideros, for miscellaneous industries, Genoa, December 20; three in 1905-lumbering industry, Rome, March 10; the Cisalpino, in Milan, December 20; and for miscellaneous industries and building trades, Genoa, December 21; and two in 1906– one in Naples, December 4, and one in Genoa, both for miscellaneous industries.
The amendments of the law seem to have greatly stimulated the development of voluntary mutual accident insurance, since from 1903 to 1905 the number of insured persons increased 150 per cent. While the cost of such insurance greatly varies from one mutual association to another, in view of the differences in the trade risks of industries covered, the relation between the total amount of compensation paid and the premium seems, on the whole, to be a favorable one, indicating a moderate administrative expense.
OPERATIONS OF EMPLOYERS' VOLUNTARY MUTUAL INSURANCE ASSOCIATIONS
OF ITALY, 1901 TO 1906. (Source: Bollettino di Notizie sul Credito e sulla Previdenza, August, 1906, and September, 1908.)
The private funds, whether of an individual establishment (cassa privata) or of several establishments combined (cassa consorziale), represent a transition from the principle of insurance to that of