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desirable, overcome all adversaries. Certainly it will thus sustain itself, and largely enhance its powers of doing good. Having done service of inestimable value to the world already, it ought to continue, as it began, the benefactor of mankind.

The men of the Nineteenth Century are the heirs of all the preceding ages. In like manner, Eclectic physicians are inheritors of the riches of all preceding schools. They should " magnify their office.” The great question for them to determine is whether, like the faithful and wise servant of the parable, they will make of their five talents other five talents, or will wrap their treasure in a napkin, cheating their master even of his usury. According as they act in this matter their portion will be the "outer darkness," or an honorable admission "into the joy of their lord.”

Life Assurance.

BY JOHN JAMIESON, M. D.

We are induced to offer a few remarks on Life Assurance, in consequence of finding its principles so little understood by many of the wealthy as well as the working classes, both of whom it is so eminently calculated to benefit; and to the circumstance of want of knowledge of its principles, may, no doubt, mainly be attributed the fact of so few availing themselves of the opportunity afforded by a very moderate expenditure, of making a handsome provision for their families when death shall have closed the scene upon the head of the house.

Although the general principles upon which the business of Life Assurance is based must be the same wherever it is carried on; yet its particular developments vary—and we purpose to give the subject some consideration pointing out its principles and advantages. It appears from the eighth

| report of the Superintendent of the Insurance Department, State of New York, that the year 1866 has been the

annual

most fruitful year ever known for the organization of Life Assurance Companies. Six charters had been filed and five companies fully organized and incorporated, some of which have met with marked and unusual success. Some of these companies have adopted new and peculiar modes of transacting business and attracting patronage. One company takes a wider hygienic range, and from all the physical and moral signs of longevity exhibited by an applicant, and the special law of family vitality, as deduced from ancestral tendencies, both in the direct and collateral relatives, essays to modify the general law of average expectation of human life as stated in the Table of Mortality, so as to accord with the special law governing the individual case, rating his expectation of life or assumed age up or down the scale of Table expectation, according to the particular quantum of his unexpended force.

An Act lately passed by the New York Legislature, permitting under certain conditions the “registration” of Policies appears deserving of consideration. The Registry system, we are informed, combines the advantages of individual and corporate enterprise with governmental custody, supervision, and guardianship of funds. The practice, however, not being compulsory on either policy-holders or companies, must succeed if at all on its own intrinsic merits. In many localities not familiar with the status and standing of companies or of their officers, parties can sometimes effectuate their purposes more satisfactorily by the registration of their policies, thereby compelling a Company to deposit, in addition to its general deposit of $100,000 made by all companies, a further special amount equal at all times to the net present value or re-insurance fund of such policies. The Act referred to is silent upon the subject of State liability to the policy-holder. It is permissive, not imperative in its character, allowing any Life Assurance Company, duly authorized to make assurance on life in this State, to deposit certain securities in the Insurance Department, to be held by the Superintendent, in trust, until the obligations of the depositing company, under its registered policies, shall be

fully liquidated, cancelled, or annulled. In this manner the State, through the Insurance Department, becomes the custodian of the re-insurance fund of registered Life policies. The Superintendent does not understand that any technical or legal liability on the part of the State is created thereby, except faithfully and with ordinary care and diligence to perform duties incident to its trust relations. The Superintendent further goes on to say that an amendment to the Registry Act for Life Insurance policies, limiting and restricting the securities to be deposited solely to Registered New York State Stocks, would entirely eliminate all risk of loss on the part of the State, appreciate the market value of our stocks, and return them practically funded to our own vaults. The State could then, without any risk, become responsible for, or even guarantee the payment of registered Life policies and annuities. Under the present system of registration, although the State is not legally responsible for the

payment of the registered policies, yet there is a moral responsibility attached to the trust which might, under certain circumstances, compel the Legislature to assume the payment of policies. The Superintendent, therefore, recommends an amendment of the Registry Act, limiting the deposits to New York State Stocks, and then assuming the same State liability for registered policies in case of their non-payment by the company, as that contained in the Banking Act, in reference to the payment or redemption of bank bills or circulating notes. Such a system well guarded and regulated would make a Life policy or annuity just as safe as the stocks of the State of New York, with no real liability on the

part of the State except to pay its own State debt.

The Life offices doing business in the State of New York are required to furnish very full and detailed statements of their Liabilities, Income, and Expenditure. In reference to this the Superintendent remarks: The business of Life Insurance was assuming such enormous proportions and national importance, that it was deemed necessary and conducive as well to its own preservation as the public welfare, that the companies should be subjected to more

detailed analytic and exhaustive exhibits of their Assets and Liabilities, Income and Expenditures, and a more perfect exposé of their various modes of operation, and that stricter surveillance which always accompanies publicity. Sunlight is not more conducive to healthy vegetable life than Publicity to corporate well-being. Probably no corporations in any country were ever subjected to such a complete disintegration of their internal mechanism and to so minute an inventory of Resources and Liabilities; but no corporations in any country were ever so trusted with the public confidence or ever reaped such princely and progressive Incomes, with liabilities payable mostly to the next generation.

A series of very interesting tables are given in the Report above alluded to, showing the progress during the last eight years, of all the Life Offices doing business in the State. It appears that on the 31st December, 1866, there were 39 offices only doing business, which had 305,390 policies in existence, insuring $865,105,877.24; the annual premiums amounting to $36,197,598.35; that the amount of losses in 1866 was $6,423,668.35; and that the total amount of the Assets was $91,587,027.57; the average amount of each policy being $2,832.79.

It appears that in some companies a portion of the assets consists of "premium notes.” The Superintendent thinks that in some instances the proportion these bear to the total assets is excessive, and he desires some legislation to remedy the evil. Ile remarks: “The usual practice of attempting to hold only enough assets in promissory notes to offset current dividends, has been flagrantly violated, and the pressure and competition for business is so sharp and reckless that the tendency to accumulate an excessive amount of premium note assets appears to be increasing with some companies.”

Such is a brief account of the present state of Life Assurance in this country, and which we have no doubt will be read with interest and advantage by the public; and with these few observations we pass on to notice the principles of Life Assurance.

An Assurance upon Life is a contract by which a company,

for a certain sum, proportioned to the age, health, profession, and other circumstances of the person whose life is the object of assurance, engages that the person shall not die within the time limited in the policy; or, if he do, that the company will pay a sum of money to him in whose favor the policy was granted; or to his heirs. The contract may be for a year, a term of years, or for life, and may depend on the failing of one or more lives; and the consideration may be paid all at once, or in annual instalments. If the contract be for a year, it differs but little from a Fire Insurance contract, running through the year. In the latter something may be saved in case of a fire; but in the former, if death ensues, it is a total loss. It is more equitable than any other insurance contract, because the value of the risk is better known. In consideration of a sum called premium, the Company agree to pay a certain amount to the assured's heirs, if he die within the year. The premiuin paid is a rate per cent., calculated for the age of the individual, upon the probable chances of his living the year out. But there are no fixed laws for calculating the chances of loss under the ever varying circumstances attendant upon fires. Experience and competition adjust the premiums to the average worth as well as

Assurance for a term of years, or for life, is not so simple a contract, because it involves the question of the compound value of money. The theory of Insurance is the same of whatever name. Its characteristic is a tendency to reduce the advantages to an average value. It is an agreement that those having more than an average success, shall give the overplus to those who have less. The profits a Company makes, compensates for the losses, and it is the same to the protected as if they had done it themselves, by throwing into a common fund the average value of the risks, and had agreed to indemnify the losers. A Company may be viewed as the necessary Agents of such an Association, and the profits the salary of their functions. A very extensive ship-owner, or owner of houses, would derive no advantage from insurance, because the average value of all the premiums would overbalance the losses. A saving accrues to them to

they may.

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