Слике страница
PDF
ePub

together with the furniture in the ministers' houses. We take no. other business. The office has been in existence six years. The premiums have paid all the losses and all the expenses, and we have accumulated a fund of 7,000l. As far as we can ascertain we can make now an average annual profit of 2,00ol. We deal with the surplus in the interests of the Connexion. We have at present 4,500 distinct properties insured with us. We do not retain more than 3,00ol. on any individual risk. About 30 per cent. of our policies exceed 2,000l. I should think. Our experience goes to prove that we have an abundantly large enough area to work upon. Our losses during five years have been 20l. per cent. of the premiums. The risks are first-class risks, from an Insurance point of view ; there may be exceptions among them, but taking them all round, they are firstclass.

Mr. Cornelius Walford.-Supposing the Bill to pass and the insurance of these houses were compulsory, and supposing also that the basis upon which the calculation was made were a satisfactory one, there would be no risk whatever in Queen Anne's Bounty Board advancing money for first losses, supposing that such advances depended for being recouped upon the accumulation of premiums. I do not think, if the scheme be well worked, that Queen Anne's Bounty Board will run any risk in standing godfather to the system. I am of opinion that in three years the fund accumulated would be sufficient to meet all engagements arising upon it. It is a perfectly safe investment for the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty Board to invest their money in at a fair percentage. Assuming the business is conducted with skill there may be said to be no risk. Taken as a whole, there is no class of property which is considered a better class risk than parsonage houses. They are special in their goodness, as

mium is abundantly sufficient, if care is taken in the acceptance of first-class risks. The County Office (which insures the Irish Church at is. per cent. premium) is of the first order. I am sure they would not take the parsonages at any rate, whatever it might be, unless they saw their way to make a profit out of the transaction. In the case proposed by the Bill the cost of management would be exceptionally small, because the cost of management in the ordinary way includes advertising to get business and agents' commission. Here there would be no advertising and no agents, so that there would be no 15l. per cent. or 127 per cent. for agents' commission. Therefore, at least, half the expenses would be saved to start with. Again, the fact of not issuing policies and the diminished postage would lessen the cost to a considerable degree. There is at present a highly respectable office which is taking first-class risks at is. per cent. ; that office is the National in Bridge Street, Blackfriars. The Wesleyan Methodist Trust Assurance I consider most distinctly to be financially sound. Supposing out of 10,000 parsonages 8,000 were under 1,000l. in value, 1,000 under 2,00ol. in value, and 1,000 under 3,000l. in value, I should consider the conditions of the business very good and certain.'

On this portion of the subject the clerical evidence is not of course so valuable as the actuarial ; it will, however, be interesting to read the following:

Canon Trevor thought that the ecclesiastical risk was not less than the average risk.

The Bishop of Chichester stated that there had been only one fire in the seven years of his episcopate in the 264 parsonages of his diocese; and that the late Bishop of Lichfield had told him that there had not been a single fire in his diocese during the whole ten years of his episcopate.

On the part the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty were called upon to play in carrying out the scheme, and the user of their funds, Canon Trevor objected to the employment of the funds in the way indicated by the Bill, and maintained further that even the present power to borrow from Queen Anne's Bounty for the purposes of building was a perversion of the bounty funds.

* Mr. Rodwell.You think there has been a legal misappropriation, so to speak, of the funds of the Bounty Board ever since they were diverted from their original purpose of augnienting small livings?

'Canon Trevor.-It was an innovation, and one which was open to considerable exception; so much so, that the Secretary of the Board said they wanted a bill of indemnity.

Mr. Rodwell.-Has that innovation been attended with very great advantage to a great many clergy in building their new parsonages ?

Canon Trevor.Certainly. I said so.

Mr. Birley.—I want to know how the poorer clergy are prejudiced if the money which is to augment their livings is received in the way of interest upon loans to the beneficed clergy ; if they are getting 3 per cent. from these loans, how much more would they get if the money were invested in consols ?

Canon Trevor.—Nothing more in that way; but if the money were invested in land it would produce a great deal more.'

On the same subject Mr. Gibbs and the Bishop of Chichester took quite another view. '

Mr. Gibbs.-Recognising that the whole object of Queen Anne's Bounty is the relief of small livings, I think that the application of their funds in the direction of a cheap insurance would be for the benefit of the incumbents of small livings, and, therefore, in accordance with the spirit of the original constitution. It is certainly a benefit to them to insure their houses at a low rate, and it is a very good appropriation of the money in the hands of the Governors, provided no loss were ultimately sustained. I do not see that the Bill will convert Queen Anne's Bounty Board into a trading company, or that the insurance of parsonages is a speculative business.

The Bishop of Chichester.-I think the value of the saving would be greater to the incumbents of small livings, and that, in that case, it is quite a benevolent application of the Bounty fund, and that it would be so far carrying out the objects of the Bounty Board.'

Among the minor points which excited attention and caused much misapprehension, was the exclusion of the Bishops' palaces from the compulsory operation of the Bill.

Canon Trevor. Another thing which the clergy feel very strongly is, that this Bill exempts the bishops. We resent that very much ; if it is good for us, it is good for the bishops ; if it is good for the bishops to exercise an independent judgment, it is good for us to exercise it upon our individual property.

'The Chairman.-Have you at all thought whether the value of the bishops' palaces has not influenced the framers of this measure to exclude them from the operation of this Bill; I mean in this way, that the greater the value of the risks insured, supposing they are few in number, the more uncertain is the scheme for both ?

Canon Trevor.-No. I had not thought of that. I did not know that there was any other reason for it, except that the bishops, being in Parliament, would probably have obstructed the Bill, if it had been compulsory upon them.

Mr. Stanley Leighton.—But if you had been told that the reason for their omission was not clerical but was commercial, and that the value of the bishops' palaces was so much larger than that of the ordinary parsonages that, if included in the compulsory part of the Bill, they would have upset the averages; that would remove your objection, would it not ?

•Canon Trevor.If I were told so by a competent actuary, but not if I were told so by two or three dignitaries who had been told something by somebody else which they cannot prove.

Mr. Tomkinson.There is a commercial reason for excluding bishops' palaces from the compulsory operation of the Bill. It certainly would not be safe to take twenty-five risks of 10,000l. in value each.

Mr. Cornelius Walford.—Any business based upon risks ranging, say, from 400l. to 8ool., is a perfectly safe business; if you have a thousand risks of that sort your business will be perfectly safe ; but

much higher amount in value, you will have no average of your larger risks; you will have an average of the small risks; they make their own average by their numbers; but the average of the larger risks does not arise ; you must have, in order to make an average, say, at least, a thousand risks; that is to say, if you take the 5,000l. line, you should have a thousand risks of 5,000l. to make an average. It will be seen that just in proportion as the sum is large which may be lost in one risk, you must have a corresponding number of the same risk to produce the average in that class.

We next refer to the objections with regard to the details,

giving. Gibbel Canonering all of the the abse that the one dire

upon which there appears to be much unanimity of opinion amongst the witnesses; and the suggestions made were, for the most part, incorporated into the amended Bill. These refer principally to the survey, the directorate, the power of giving up the business, the power of appeal in cases of dispute.

Mr. Gibbs, the Bishop of Chichester, Lord Alwyne Compton, and Canon Trevor, were unanimous in objecting to the necessity of surveying all the parsonages, to the placing the directorate in the hands of the whole body of the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty, to the absence of an appeal or arbitration clause; it was also suggested that the parties affected by the Bill should have representation on the directorate.

Mr. Plummer, Secretary of the Wesleyan Assurance Society. We do not survey the buildings. It would never pay to do so. We send a schedule to be filled up with certain questions. Our staff is very small indeed. It consists of myself and two clerks. In case of losses we employ individuals not on our permanent staff. In case of a small loss, we should simply tell the individual to send an estimate of the cost of restoring the damage, and if we were satisfied that the estimate were a reasonable one, we should remit the money. Our Directors are not paid ; we find no difficulty in obtaining the attendance of unpaid Directors. I think you have intrusted in the Bill far too much power to your surveyor. I would give a right of appeal against his decision, decidedly. I think the discretion which is given to incumbents in case of special risks to insure elsewhere, should be extended to risks in the second class, and to the farming and doubly hazardous class. In cases of differences with our Company, the matter is decided by arbitration. If such a power were introduced in the Bill it would meet the objection with regard to disputes between the insurers and the Company.

Mr. Cornelius Walford.—With regard to parsonages, the vast majority of them being first-class risks, inspection would certainly not be necessary in most cases.'

On the conclusion of the evidence, the Committee passed the following five resolutions :

61. That it is desirable that incumbents of ecclesiastical benefices in England and Wales should become their own insurers against loss by fire, through a system of insurance managed by some public authority.

62. That when such system shall have been established, it shall be compulsory on the incumbents to insure, through such a system, all buildings comprised in the first class in the schedule of this Bill, provided the risk on any one building shall not exceed 2,500l.

63. That the machinery at the disposal of Queen Anne's Bounty Board is not at present adequate for the purposes of the Bill, but may be made competent by the appointment of a committee of management authorised to employ a suitable and efficient staff.

4. That no part of the funds at present administered by Queen Anne's Bounty Board, ought to be applied, by loan or otherwise, to the undertaking of insurance, without the consent of the Board, subject to the sanction of the Lords of the Treasury.

5. That upon the evidence submitted to them, your Committee have no reason to doubt but that the scheme of insurance proposed by the Bill is based upon sound financial principles.'

The resolutions do not seem to have been passed without frequent divisions. Mr. Cotton, a Director of the London, Liverpool, and Globe Fire Office ; Mr. Freshfield, Director of the Law Fire Office; and Mr. McLagan, Director of the Queen Fire Office, supported by Mr. Monk, Mr. Bristowe, and Mr. Rowley Hill, opposed the resolutions. Mr. Monk and Mr. Freshfield both proposed contrary resolutions, which were lost.

The Bill was then reconstructed on the new lines marked out by the resolutions and suggested by the evidence. Very large alterations were made, which we will summarise under the following heads :

1. A permanent Directorate of twelve persons, three of whom were to be incumbents under the Act, was substituted for the Directorate of the general body of Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty.

2. The compulsory operation of the Bill was limited to those cases only in which the Directors could offer to the clergy cheaper terms of insurance than could be procured from the Insurance Offices.

3. The safety of the financial arrangements was secured by the exemption of large risks, i.e., those above 2,500l., from the compulsory clause.

4. The Directors were empowered to borrow money on the security of the future premiums, either from the Bounty Board, with the consent of the Governors and the sanction of the Treasury, or in the public market.

5. All the clauses referring to the surveyors were struck out. The statement of the incumbent was to be considered primâ facie evidence of the value and condition of his premises, and a liberal arbitration clause for all disputed cases

the Treal the claunt of the value and for a

6. In case of fire, payment of the amount due under the insurance was to be made, as might be requiredi, during, instead of after, the rebuilding.

7. The disposal of the profits, after a due reserve fund

« ПретходнаНастави »