Abbildungen der Seite

might be given, some for purchasing deferred annuities, others for sums payable at fixed periods, endowments, etc.; but it is beyond our present object to discuss them at length.

There are three kinds of Life Assurance offices: 1st, the "Proprietary " offices, where shareholders incur the responsibility and divide the profits, in proportion to the capital they invest. 2d, "Mutual" offices, wheret he insurers guarantee each other to the extent of their funds, and share the profits at given periods, either in the form of a bonus or by reducing the annual premium, or making addition to the sum payable at death. 3d, "Mixed" offices, in which the assured participate largely in profits, but have proprietary capital to fall back upon. The general weight of testimony is in favor of the last system, for these offices are able to declare larger bonuses than the Mutual ones, and the cost of a guarantee fund to the assured is not large. The profits on life assurance depend much upon,-1st, economy and good management; 2d, a careful selection of healthy lives, so that the real result exceeds the calculated average; 3d, the prudent investment of funds at interest exceeding three per cent. But to accomplish this there are delicate problems to solve: such as the selection of lives; the determination of what amount of stock should be kept in reserve, to meet payments at a distant date; the amount required to guarantee perfect safety; the mode of ascertaining what surplus should be equitably divided, and what proportion should be divided between share and policy-holders; and the adjustment of expenses to income. All these are matters which relate to the finance of life assurance, demanding skill and experience in this kind of business.

Although, as we have stated, life assurances are calculated upon the average expectation of persons in the whole community, yet the selection of lives is necessary to protect the offices from

A deposit of 67. Os. 4d. at 45, and annually afterwards, will secure 1001. at death, and the representatives may receive back all sums paid but the first. A. SCRATCHLEY, M.A. A married couple, of middle age, by saving 3d. a day, may secure 100%. to the survivors, or a like sum to their eldest child when it comes of age.

fraud, and to render the class of assured lives better than the general average.

A medical examiner, acting for the interest of the company, detects the existence of diseases that tend to shorten life. The duty of these medical experts is to detect those diseases which bring about an early emergence from the ranks of life; for, although all must die, the great object of a company is to exclude all those who are likely to die quickly. No company could realize any profit where the real expectation of life in the assured fell much below the calculated expectation, and where many short-lived persons were permitted to enter.

In the selection of lives, Dr. Mann observes, in one of his contributions to the medical statistics of life assurance, that it is of grave importance to be familiar with the waves that rise and fall below the dead level in the ocean of life, for it is in these stormy latitudes that the path of their voyage lies.

What specially demands medical attention are facts relating to the family history, inasmuch as they, more than any other, throw most light upon the probability of latent disease likely to shorten life. Suspicious lives are those who show hereditary tendency, or otherwise, to consumption, scrofula, gout, kidney disease, asthma, heart disease, epilepsy, dysentery, and last, though not least, intemperate habits.

The admission of consumptive and intemperate persons causes immense loss to life assurance offices. Lives which become consumptive after assurance show an average duration of seven years eleven months, whilst the average expectation should have been thirty years seven months. The first table on opposite page shows the value and expectation of life in temperate and intemperate persons of certain ages.

The influence of selected lives, is, however, not so great as may be imagined where large numbers are concerned. The second table on opposite page shows the annual mortality per 1,000.

Some persons consider even the present mode of selection too severe, and that the field of life assurance might be extended by more general assurance of persons having a standard average of general good health. The

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

correlation of disease is a subject deeply interesting in a life assurance point of view. Scrofula, consumption, cancer, insanity, gout, diabetes, have well-known hereditary tendencies; and, where one of these diseases has manifested itself, another in the category will, very probably, appear in the individual or in the offspring.

Hereditary taint cannot be lightly passed over, nor can any life be considered first-class where it has been well known to exist.

Instead of rejecting, unconditionally and without explanation, a proposer whose life has been considered doubtful, and where there is an extra risk, a practice now exists of making surcharges, that is, to diminish the expectancy of life, and charge the higher premium-a practice which general experience appears to indicate to be both inefficient and unsatisfactory.

There are companies which undertake special assurance against accidental death, in contradistinction to natural causes; and here subtle questions have arisen to show how difficult it is to give any law a general application. Accidental death, in medical language, signifies mortal effects, produced by a blow, a fall, poisoning, suffocation, or by violent But legal difficulties not unfrequently arise, in contesting

and sudden means.

the nature of death resulting from sunstroke, lightning, exposure to cold and privation after or during shipwreck.

Companies are exposed to all kinds of frauds. It may be generally supposed, that a man has an interest in preserving his own life; but experience has plentifully shown, that life assurance contracts have been deliberately entered into, with a view of securing for their family that provision which they believed themselves incapable of obtaining by the usual and legitimate mode. Numerous instances illustrate the importance of making a very exact official inquiry as to the cause of death, when it appears to have been sudden and unexpected. A coroner's inquest is usually a sufficient proof as to the cause of death; but its verdict is not binding on any company, and when good reasons have existed for suspecting fraud, facts now and then come to light that show the death to have been brought about by poisoning, either accidentally, or from suicidal motives. Interesting medico-legal questions, belonging to these cases, embrace the many forms of homicide, suicide, and insanity. The practice, therefore, of making policies indisputable or unchangeable, after two or three years, adds much to their mercantile value; for, where fraud, by duelling or suicide, has been meditated, the claims are early,

whilst, in ordinary life policies, several years elapse.

It frequently happens that a life assurance office meets with failure. Such a misfortune, however, could never occur under a prudent management. A guarantee fund need not be large; but a provision should be made for rent, salaries, advertising, and agency, or the expenses will otherwise consume the whole of the first, and probably, much of the second year's income from premiums. In a short period, however, the management expenses ought to bear only a proportion of two to five per cent. on the premiums, leaving, therefore, a sufficient margin for profit; for, as we shall have to show, a charge, or loading, is added to the net calculated premiums of not less than 20 There are, too, circumstances that cause the disruption of a young of fice, or necessitate its amalgamation with a more successful rival. In the first place, mismanagement, and an extravagant expenditure, with or without an adequate guarantee fund, may do it; in the second, an interested motive may induce directors or shareholders, to effect an amalgamation with a rich and substantial office -a proposition in no way objectionable, when there exists the least doubt of success, or of permanent stability, to the affairs of a young company.

per cent.

Fraud, and various other kinds of irregularities in life assurance offices, are to be attributed, when they do occur, to directors either being too much engrossed in their own affairs, or understanding too little of those of the company, to enable them to form an opinion upon its financial position. Hence the utility of that very useful class of men -actuaries, auditors, and accountants. A system of audit by men of great experience and sagacity is, indeed, most essential in every life assurance office. Experience also shows that legislative interference may wisely be used to protect the interests of private individuals, who are now so largely disposed to invest in our numerous mutual and coöperative associations. Auditors elected by shareholders themselves are often unsafe, their investigations not extending sufficiently into details. In calculating risk, and the many financial investigations contingent upon life, the highest mathematical and scientific education is neces

sary to get at true results; and none but an experienced and trained actuary can, with a prospect of success, undertake these duties. We coincide with Dr, Farr, that a settled system of annual audit should be instituted, and such returns made to Government as shall enable sound offices to establish, without a doubt, their ability to fulfil their engagements.

Much more might be written to illustrate the connection of life assurance doctrines with coöperative industrial associations, investment of savings, freehold land and building societies, and their adaptability for the better regulation and security of friendly societies; and lastly, it may be predicted that a time may arrive, when it will be considered a national duty to enforce a tax upon the whole population, to meet the social miseries arising from improvidence, sickness, accidents, sudden and unexpected emergency into the less favored ranks of life; rather than submit to the inequalities and unfairness of compulsory rates on the property and industry of a few. The poor rates are a burden upon the industrial energies of the middle class, and fail in their object; for, neither in theory nor in practice will they keep large numbers of people from destitution, even in this rich country. Men should legally endow themselves; for, just as security is the foundation of civilization in a state, the adop tion of measures by individuals to mitigate the effects of prospective misfortune, is the best foundation of social prosperity.

The London Review.


THERE are those who regard the contest between the Ritualists and their opponents as a mere matter of theological dispute. A very large proportion of the public seem content to let the hostile clerical parties fight their battle out, satisfied that whoever wins the day, any real national interest will not suffer. We are not of that opinion. We see something far more important in this contest than a mere surplice and gown row, an angry internecine strife

between theological experts. We view it as a warfare which, however much it may deal damage to both belligerents, must at the same time seriously affect the welfare of the land in which it is fought. It is not a question between Geneva and Rome; it is the question whether the laity of the United Kingdom are to submit to the tyranny of priesteraft, to surrender to the clergymen of each individual parish, the power to dictate to them what they are to believe, to what they are to conform in the ceremonial of their public and prirate acts of devotion. One of the greatest privileges won for us at the Reformation, and confirmed to us by the usage of three centuries, is the liberty to read our Bibles by the light of our own understanding, whilst we are at the same time offered the opportunity of attending a form of public worship, the Liturgy of which, if not faultless, at least has this great meritit offers forms of prayer and praise presented to us in language almost unequalled for beauty of expression, conveying a great devotional depth of meaning. The "ceremonial" ordered, when decently carried out, was all that any person of ordinary simple-minded piety could have desired. The clergymen officiating had no inducement to magnify their office overmuch, they were ministers in the matter of ceremonial, teachers under heavy responsibility in the pulpit; the congregation had their Bibles and Prayer-books, ever ready Commentaries on what was preached. Whatever view any took of the two Sacraments, whatever width of interpretation, in one direction or the other, they gave to the language used in their alministration, in regard to the office itself, there was no offence given to the opinions or prejudices of any party in the Church.

We are prepared to admit that, as a ntion, the laity had become too indifferent in the matter of the repair and construction of the actual church build; the clergy very generally but too Careless and cold in the performance of the service. From this lethargy both in time awoke, and it is not surprising that in the day of reaction, both should some extravagance. Churches neglected were to be repaired,

have run into

NEW SERIES-Vol. VI., No. 3.

renovated, freed from the consequences of long neglect, made again more fitting for their holy work; new churches to be built, were to be built of a character more in keeping with an age in which so much wealth is ever bestowed in retaining high art in aid of architecture. The better-ordered building demanded, we might almost say insured, more decorous service; the prayers were read with more devotion, the singing and accompaniments raised to a higher standard, the ceremonial generally carried out with more apparent respect for that which must ever be its real endgaining the interest of those to whom it ministered, by proof in its ministers that they themselves were acting under the pressure of the devotional feeling to which they sought to elevate their congregation,

All this was to thinking people of every class of opinion a subject of most thankful consideration. It was felt that the National Church-the form in which it was the will of the nation--the relig ion of Protestants should be set forth in every parish, was at last brought into better harmony with religious feeling, was in all necessary accessories what it ought to be. Well would it have been if all this good gained had been as satisfactory to the clergy as to the laity. That these would have been content to see their value recognized, their true service accepted, and all in reason done, to afford them a worthy scene of action for duties now universally admitted to be of the highest worth.

Strange as it appears to have to write it, in our opinion, building and repairingof churches, the liberality of laity, aided by the ability of architects, the reani mation of lay feeling in the direction of more decent Church service, came too hastily on the great body of the clergy. So much was made of the scene of their action, that it seems to have turned their heads. They entered on the old services-for many years slovenly executed, in churches with the whitewashed walls picked out with green damp-stains; pews made to order, one size for the squire lined altogether; another size for lower folk partly lined; a third species, narrow, unlined, uncushioned; a mere pew for commoner sheep of the flock, rate-paying perhaps, but nothing more,


with rickety deal benches, and ugly deal galleries for the poor-in buildings altogether changed. Churches restored became what churches were before carelessness had desecrated them; and more than this, for, restored in a day of wealth, they were after their kind, as God's houses, made consistent in character, with the pains taken, and wealth bestowed to improve human dwellings. We all have read in fiction of the effect on a poor man of being on a sudden placed in a position of great wealth and power; some of us may have seen something of the sort in our own life's expe rience. When Lazarus is clothed in purple and fine linen, faring sumptuously every day, the humility and penury of his former condition is but too often soon forgotten. It would be no matter of surprise to see him treating his dogs as Christians, poor Christians as dogs; because the liberality of those who have built churches or restored them has af forded to architects the opportunity to mould the building after the fashion of the best ancient church architecture; the clergy seem to have thought it now became them to seek for themselves all the powers their order claimed, when, as priests of the pre-Reformation churches, they ruled their people after a right royal fashion, claiming to be prophets to interpret Scripture, divinely-appointed priests, alone chartered from above to make sacraments effectual, pardon of guilt secure. In real truth, we are driven to the conclusion that the laity have unwittingly, in the great majority of cases, armed the clergy with the rod with which resuscitated priestcraft threatens to punish them--forged the chains with which these semi-Romanist priests now

seek to enslave them.

What is called the Sacramentarian

upholsterers can achieve. We cannot doubt but that the Ritualists centre their whole demand to the submission of the laity on the fact that our religion is one, first and foremost, essentially sacramental. That they the priests are, of all living men amongst us, the sole depositories of that divine power which can educe from the ordinary elements of the Sacrament the extraordinary efficacy they attribute to it in the Holy Communion, they feel they are more or less out of court with regard to baptism, as this rite a deacon, or even a layman, can administer; avowing that, separate from their action, there is nothing in the act of the partaking of the Lord's Supper; that by their action alone the ineffa ble miracle is performed. They thus at once elevate their office to a dignity, before which the whole laic world are expected to bow. Necessarily, and with some reason, they avow that, being the priests of such a rite, as such, they, from the same authority by which they claim to be so, can, as they do, claim to act as our confessors-spiritual directors--sovereign over our heart's secrets, possessed of authority held by their peculiar priestly incorporation with the Redeemer to demand confession and give absolution.

Thus has it come about that at a time when every devout Protestant had reason to rejoice that the House of God was a better house, we find that if it is So, that which was done to honor the Deity has been adopted by these clergymen as so much done to exalt themselves. With no such early training as could win the laity to believe they are a separate order of men, from youth to manhood taught priesthood; instructed in all that could fit-if anything can-a man to be as a god; they grasp the Church theory we are not about to dis- sceptre that clainis rule over the souls cuss; it is sufficient for us that it is a very of an intellectual age, with no one char old discarded one, reburnished up for a acteristic that could justify rational benew purpose-taken from the condemned ings in accepting their rule. They buy, cell to which the ablest theologians long themselves or through friends, or by so since committed it, and where the purer licitation, or from mere worldly acci and increasing light of three centuries dent, obtain a fee-simple in the ministry was quite content to leave it. We of our parishes; they proceed to tell us would seek to call attention to that that without their aid our souls must which is the clearly-avowed aim of those carry their every spiritual burden-withourselves, tres for its exhibition, in all the pomp if we think we can gain spiritual help and array the ecclesiastical tailors and from the ordinances of our Church.

« ZurückWeiter »