Cranbrook Rotary had as their guests Tuesday Rotarian Currier of Nelson and Jimmy Reeves, pianist with the “Everygirl” musical comedy company. The latter rendered several selections of his own composition, which were vociferously applauded.
Frank MacPherson, who has the Rotary Minstrel show in hand, named his committees to carry out the program. The committees appointed are:
General Committee – F.M. MacPherson, A.H. DeWolf and C.J. Little.
Ticket Committee – C.J. Little and W.H. Wilson, with every member of the club.
Advertising Committee – L.P. Sullivan, J. Delany and F.B. Miles.
Programme Committee – J.P. Fink, E.W. MacKay and Harry McKowan.
Parodies – Alan Graham, Dad Worden and Frank Marsh.
Properties – Fred Scott, E.A. Jones and Joe Schell.
Finance – C.R. Ward and George Robson.
The first practice of the troupe was held Thursday night.
M.A. Beale was the speaker at the Tuesday’s luncheon, dilating on the subject of insurance, particularly that of fire insurance. Bealie’s talk was very much to the point and of interest to every person in East Kootenay. His address is printed below.
There is some similarity between the origin of Fire Insurance and Rotary in that both were started by a small group of men meeting together with the primary idea of rendering service to each other. The Rotarian, to interchange ideas and business methods as a means of increasing the efficiency and usefulness of each other; the Insurance men, to lift the load of individual loss by fire on to the shoulders of each. The principal is the same – to help one another – only Rotary is of recent origin, Insurance 250 years old.
The simplest definition of Fire Insurance is “A provision made by a group of persons, each singly in danger of loss by fire, the incident of which cannot be foreseen, that when such loss shall occur to any one of them, it shall be distributed over the whole group.
Its essential elements are therefore foresight and co-operation. Insurance abolishes the element of gamble and the gambling spirit is always the foe of civilization.
Insurance begins when the liability to loss is recognized as common and provision is made beforehand to meet it from a common fund.
The first direct insurance as far as is known began in Belgium in 1310 on sea risks, known as marine insurance, but there appears to have been no adequate method of fixing the rates commensurate with the enormous risk of sea travel in those days until toward the end of the seventeenth century when the various underwriters met together in Lloyd’s Coffee House, London, and evolved rules and improved methods so that the name of Lloyds from that time became the symbol of Marine Insurance.
After the great fire of London in 1666, some measures were adopted for insuring houses but it was not until 1704 that societies began to insure household effects and stock in trade and in 1706 the Sun Fire office was founded. The Sun therefore rightly claims to be the oldest fire office in the world.
Since that date until the present time the business of fire insurance has steadily grown. Today it is an essential factor in the prosperity of the national life. No sane business man dare carry his own risk of fire.
Without insurance the world’s system of credits and loans would be rendered unsafe and trade between the consumer, the retailer, the wholesaler and the manufacturer become chaotic.
I have no desire to inflict on you a mass of figures as evidence of the growth of fire insurance in Canada. It is sufficient to state that 13 years ago the government Bluebook gives the gross amount of fire insurance taken in Canada as $1,579,975,867. Ten years later it had increased to $5,423,569,961. The premium charged thereon in 1909 were $22,293,633; in 1919 $57,577,632.
It is of primary importance that the Fire Insurance Corporation in control of this vast system of protecting the world’s wealth against fire should be always in perfectly solvent condition with adequate reserves to enable them to liquidate their claims. It is therefore necessary to charge the insured adequate rates that will not only provide for normal losses but also for what is known as the “Conflagration Hazard.” It is computed that the whole or large portion of a city is wiped out by fire every 7 years and the strain on the resources of the fire insurance companies at these periods is great. A recent instance is the Ontario fire which has cost the insurance companies over five millions. The companies which have not been long in existence or which offer inadequate rates or which confine their underwriting to a restricted area frequently find themselves unable to meet the exceptional demand on their resources for which they have made no provision and they die. A proper system of rating is therefore necessary and to centralize this work a Board of Underwriters, composed of experts trained especially in the work, exist. Rates are based entirely on the law of averages, structural defects of buildings and plants, the quantity and quality of surrounding exposures, fire protection devices all enter into and bear an important part in the making of rates. It is also the object of the Board thru their inspectors to eliminate as much as possible prolific sources of fire which are subject to remedy.
Now, a few words about the insurance companies. It is an all to prevailing impression that fire insurance companies avail themselves of any opportunity to avoid a just settlement. There may be and have been some companies of mushroom growth who take every advantage of a legal technicality, but I have represented over 40 fire companies covering a period of 25 years and have paid during that time many thousands of dollars in losses and never in my experience has a company represented by me endeavored or even evinced the slightest desire to evade its responsibilities.
The companies do not want to beat the assured but neither do they want the assured to beat them. That they have to keep a wary eye open for the unprincipled assure is evidenced by the large percentage of fires of doubtful and incendiary origin and other fires where stock and belongings have been overvalued and over insured. A man who beats the insurance company is a menace to the community, as he is prepared to risk the property and even the lives of that community for the sake of gain.
Now a word about the agent and I’m through. The agent is a very important spoke in the wheel of fire insurance. It used to be said that a failure in other lines of business usually took up insurance, but today a man who makes good in the fire insurance business must have the attributes of business success. Why? Because insurance today is a science, a profession requiring knowledge, study and care.
Your insurance contract is as important to you as the deed to your house, or the mortgage you hold. All your business career, all your life’s earnings perhaps are wrapped up in your fire insurance contract and yet how many of you give a moment’s study to that contract when the agent hands it to you. You rely on him to see to it that your business, your life’s work, your home, are properly protected. The responsibility is thrown on the agent. An insurance contract is frequently only put to the test when a fire occurs. Don’t leave it until then to examine your policies and ask your agent to examine them and satisfy you that the wording gives you fully the protection you need.
An insurance policy agrees to indemnify you for the value of your loss by fire up to the face value of your policy. The onus of proof is therefore necessarily upon the assured. See to it that your stock sheets, your purchase and sales ledger are kept in a fire proof safe, and that you know the contents and value of your office and household goods. Don’t put it off but act on the principal that you may be the next to suffer a fire loss. Be prepared.
Photo Caption – M.A. (Bealie) Beale, speaker at Tuesday’s Rotary Meeting.