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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]



Alliance Assurance Company, Grey Street, Wellington. Branch Manager, Mr. William Gill. Telephone 605. Bankers, Union Bank of Australia, Limited. Head office for New Zealand, Hereford Street, Christchurch. [This Company will be more fully described in the volume for Canterbury.]

Mr. William Gill, Branch Manager of the Alliance Assurance Company, and of the Alliance, Marine, and General Assurance Company, Limited, who resides at the Lindens, Wool-combe Street. Wellington, was born at Dudley, England, After being educated at private and public schools in the Midland Counties, he was put into the service of a leading South Staffordshire firm of ironmakers to learn the business of ironmaking and manufacturing, and after passing through all its practical and mercantile stages, he removed to the Cleveland district, in the north of England, where he was for many years connected with the iron trade of that important centre. Here he rose to the position of iron manufacturer, and was also closely identified with several kindred industries in the town of Middlesborough. Mr. Gill was for some years secretary of the large ironmaking and engineering company that built the original Tay Bridge, which, it will be remembered, collapsed with such fatal results. In 1879, having been engaged as Commissioner to take evidence in Australia on a most important law case between the South Australian Government and a manufacturing company in England, Mr. Gill paid a flying visit to New Zealand, and it was then he first formed the love for the Colony which caused him to make his home in the “Britain of the South.” Arriving with his family in Auckland in 1887, he joined the South British Insurance Company at their head office, and after about a year in the Northern City, went to Capetown as assistant manager of the Company's branch, and eventually became acting manager of the Johannesburg office. About the end of 1890 Mr. Gill returned to New Zealand, and soon after this he was appointed manager of the Union Fire and Marine Insurance Company of New Zealand at Wellington. He remained in this position till its incorporation with the Alliance Assurance Company in 1892, and has since continued to hold that responsible position. Mr. William Gill page 519 Mr. Gill has always taken an interest in musical matters, and speaks with great pride of his having been a performer, both in the orchestra and chorus, at many of the musical festivals at Home. He was for some years a town councillor in Middlesborough, but has taken no part in municipal or political affairs in Wellington. Being an active member of the Anglican Church, he was elected on the Vestry of St. Peter's, and is one of its representatives on the Diocesan Synod, and is also on the General Synod of New Zealand. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity, being attached to the Pacific Lodge, N.Z.C. While in England he took an active part in the North York Lodge, E.C., of which he became a “past master.” He is also a “past provincial grand officer” of the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire. Mr. Gill has devoted himself entirely to insurance since he came to the Colony, and was elected chairman of the Fire and Marine Underwriters' Associations in 1893.

Guardian Fire and Life Assurance Company (Limited). Agents, W. and G. Tumbull and Co., Custom-house Quay, Wellington. This Company, which was established by deed of settlement in 1821, has its head office at 11 Lombard Street, London. The Company does a fire business only in the Colony. Its subscribed capital is £2,000,000 in 200,000 shares of £10 each, of which £5, representing £1,000,000, is already paid up. At the end of 1894 the fire insurance fund stood at £524,100.

The Imperial Insurance Company (Limited). Head office, 1 Old Broad Street, London E.C. New Zealand branch, Imperial Chambers, 6 Featherston Street, Welling ton. Telephone 160; P.O. Box 360. Bankers, Union Bank of Australia (Limited). Local director, Mr. A. J. McTavish. Resident manager, Mr. F. H. Pickering. The Imperial Insurance Company (Limited) was established in London in 1803: its capital is £1,200,000. The Company commenced business in New Zealand as long ago as the year 1854, when the first policy was issued in Auckland. It is claimed that this was the first fire policy issued in the Colony. Since commencing business here the Imperial has never withdrawn, even temporarily, and though a very conservative Company, it has transacted a large business. One of the Company's agents, the Hon. J. A. Bonar, of Hokitika, has continuously represented the Imperial for thirty-five years, and another, Mr. W. H. Armstrong, of the firm of Dignan and Armstrong, solicitors, Auckland, has acted as agent for about twenty-five years. The Imperial Insurance Company does a fire business only within the Colony, It has agents all over New Zealand, who are empowered to accept risks on the Company's behalf. The fine two-story building known as Imperial Chamber at 6 Featherston Street, Wellington, is the freehold property of the Company.

Mr. Francis Henry Pickering, Manager for the Imperial Insurance Company (Limited) for New Zealand, has had a wide commercial experience in the Colony. Mr. Pickering arrived in New Zealand in 1863, and for thirty years he has been more or less intimately connected with insurance business in New Zealand. He was in business in Nelson, Blenheim and Christchurch. For ten years in Nelson (1873–1883), Mr. Pickering's firm were agents for the National Insurance Company of New Zealand, and in Blenheim from 1881 to 1889. In the last named year an officer of the Imperial Company visited New Zealand and appointed Mr. Pickering manager for the Colony. The branch office in Wellington was there upon opened by him, and the present handsome building in Featherston Street subsequently purchased on the Company's account.

The Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company. Wellington agents, Messrs. Levin and Co., Grey Street, Wellington. Telephone 11; P.O. Box 187. Bankers, Union Bank of Australia. Chief offices, 1 Dale Street, Liverpool, and 7 Cornhill, London. The Australasian board, to which is entrusted the direction of the Company's business in the colonies, consists of the Hons. H. E. Kater and Henry Mort, and Mr. W. C. Watt. The resident secretary is Mr. M. W. S. Clark. The board's offices are in Pitt and Spring Streets, Sydney, and the Melbourne office is in Baring Chambers, 31 Market Street, the local manager being Mr. George Buzzard. The Liverpool and London and Globe Company was established as early as the year 1836, when it had not the same competition to contend with as it has now-a-days. Notwithstanding, however, the multitude of rival aspirants for insurance business, this Company has gone persistently forward, and secured a very large share of available business. In 1853 it was deemed advisable for the Company to open an Australasian branch to secure for it a large participation in colonial insurance transactions, and expedite its general business in Australasia. The branch was duly opened, and since then the Company has opened agencies in all the chief centres of the colonies. The Australasian branch has paid under its fire and life policies the large sum of £31,615,692 since its foundation. The funds of the Company, as shown by its balance sheet of 1894, are:—Capital paid up, £245,640; general reserve, £1,300,000; fire reinsurance, £740,000; total, £2,040,000; globe perpetual annuity fund, £1,102,800; life and annuity funds, £4,608,471. The total assets of the Company exceed £9,000,000, over £400,000 being invested in the colonies. The business done by the Company has been a rapidly expanding one. In Australia it does a life assurance business besides fire. The fifty-ninth annual report of the Company for the year 1894 is of a very encouraging nature. It showed that the fire premium income for the year, after deducting the sums paid for re-insuring surplus risks, amounted to £1,618,128. The losses, inclusive of full provision for all claims that had arisen up to the end of the year, amounted to £902,241. The account, after providing for expenses, shows, without the addition of interest, a surplus of £211,456, which was carried to profit and loss account. The Company's funds are invested as follows:—Mortgages on property within the United Kingdom, £425,144 7s. 5d.; mortgages on property out of the United Kingdom, £994,396 3s.; loans on the Company's policies, £170,245 7s. 3d. The Company has investments also in British Government securities, £169,794 11s. 9d.; United States Government and State securities, £396,463 7s. 1d.; United States municipal securities, £55,199 7s. 9d.; Colonial municipal securities, £415,564 11s.; Colonial Government and State securities, £9024 3s. 3d.; foreign government securities, £2,099,282 16s. 7d.; railways and other debentures and debenture stock, £1,371,029 4s.; railway stocks (of which £4,947 10s. 7d. is ordinary), £1,371,029 4s.; house property, including offices partly occupied by the Company, £953,503 2s. 11d.; ground rents, £34,683 8s. 4d.; life interests and annuities, £253,861 18s. 9d.; reversions, £45,960 16s.; loans on life interests, annuities and reversions, £300,956; loans on railways and other debenture bonds, shares, and other stocks, £63,279 16s.; loans to local boards and counties, United Kingdom, £96,744 17s. 10d. Reverting to what will now be almost looked upon as ancient history, it will be remembered that in the enormous conflagration which nearly demolished the city of Chicago, and at the same time wiped out of existence many of the American insurance companies, this Company paid up its losses, amounting to over a million and a half pounds sterling, within a week of the event, and a few years after in Boston paid a total of over three quarters of a million for losses by one fire, page 520 These losses, however, far from crippling the Company, were, by the prudent and far-seeing management of the directorate, employed as object lessons to further its advancement, and the subsequent career of the Liverpool and London and Globe has been one of steady improvement. It now occupies a position second to none in the world for stability and prompt liberality in payment of claims, and continues to enjoy the consequent well-deserved respect and confidence of an ever increasing clientel. The board has been fortunate in establishing its agencies in the colonies with gentlemen of high commercial standing and keen enterprise. The principal agencies in the colonies are:—Southern Queensland—Messrs. Webster and Co., Mary Street, Brisbane. Northern Queensland—Messrs. Burns, Philp and Co., Limited. Tasmania—Hobart, Messrs. Roberts and Allport; Launceston, Mr. Henry Edgell. South Australia—Adelaide, Mr. R. M. Steele, Grenfell Street. New Zealand—Wellington, Messrs. Levin and Co.; Christchurch, Mr. James A. Bird; Auckland, Mr. James A. Buchanan; Dunedin, Messrs. Brodrick and Chalmer; Nelson, Messrs. J. H. Cock and Co.; Invercargill, Mr. T. Brodrick. Western Australia—Perth, Messrs. McBean, Bowker and Co.

London and Lancashire Fire Insurance Company, Featherston Street, Wellington. Attorneys for Wellington and Taranaki, Messrs. Johnston and Co., Featherston Street, Wellington. Head office of the Company 45 Dale Street, Liverpool.

Manchester Fire Insurance Company. District Agents, Baker Bros., Lambton Quay, Wellington. The chief office for the Colony is situated at Christchurch. Full information regarding this old established Fire Office will appearin the Canterbury volume.

North British and Mercantile Insurance Company. Agents, Murray, Roberts and Co., Featherston Street, Wellington. This Company, which is incorporated by royal charter and special acts of Parliament, and has chief offices in London and Liverpool, was established in 1809. The head office for New Zealand is in Dunedin, and further particulars of the Company, which does only a fire business in the Colony, will be given in the volume for Otago.

The Northern Assurance Company (Limited). Head Offices, London and Aberdeen. The chief office for the colonies is in Melbourne. Mr. G. H. Scales, auctioneer, of Customhouse Quay, is the agent for Wellington.

North German Fire Insurance Company of Hamburg, Germany. Agent, James G. Carpenter, Lambton Quay, Wellington. This Company was established in New Zealand about 1880. The chief office for the Colony is in Auckland, and fuller reference will be made to the Company in the Auckland volume.

Norwich Union Fire Insurance Company. Agents and public officers for New Zealand, B. Smith and Co., Lambton Quay, Wellington. This Company, which has been doing business in the Colony for over twenty years, was established in the year 1797. Its head office is in Surry Street, Norwich, and it has offices in London. The Company, which does a fire business only, has a paid up capital of £132,000, a reserve fund of £410,000, and a reserve on current policies of over £300,000.

Palatine Insurance Company (Limited). Head office, Manchester. Chief office for New Zealand, Christchurch. Wellington branch, 24 Lambton Quay. Mr. A. T. Bate, agent. Further particulars of this Company will appear in the volume for Canterbury.

Phœnix Assurance Company of London. Chief office for New Zealand, Custom House Quay (opposite the Bank of New Zealand), Wellington. Telephone 40; P.O. Box 376. Bankers, Bank of Australasia. Cable address, Phœnix Fire; Code, A.B.C., 4th edition. Head office, 14 Lombard Street, London, E.C. Trustees and directors, Messrs. J. W. Baxendale, W. Bird, B. Bovill, Hon. J. Byng, J. Clutton, A. C. L. Fuller, C. E. Goodhart, R. K. Hodgson, Right Hon. Sir J, Lubbock, Bart, M.P., F.R.S., Hon. E. Ponsonby, Hon. E. B. Portman, Right Hon. the Earl of Randor, Messrs. D. R. Smith and W. J. Thompson. Joint secretaries, Messrs. C. Macdonald and B. Macdonald. General manager for the Colony, Mr. R. M. Simpson. Private residence, Upper Willis Street. The Phœnix Fire office has been doing business in New Zealand since the year 1875. It is one of the old powerful fire syndicates that were established in the eighteenth century in the world's metropolis. Founded in the year 1782, the Phœnix Company has from time to time accumulated large funds. The office has recently obtained from the British Parliament an Act to determine the amount of capital, and to give additional powers and facilities in the management of the business. The capital has thus been fixed at £2,688,800, which in addition to the funds in hand, makes an asset of nearly £4,000,000, for the protection of policy-holders. The annual premium income is £1,200,000, and the reserve £1,460,000. The total sum paid on losses by fire exceeds £20,000,000. The Phœnix Fire office is represented in New Zealand by the following agents:—Messrs. W. W. Baker, Auckland; R. Dobson page 521 and Co., Napier; Goldwater Bros., New Plymouth; W. Hall, Wanganui; H. L. Sherwill, Manawatu; H. H. Wolters, Wairarapa; P. S. Butler, Wellington; A. E. Moore, Nelson. J. J. White, Blenheim; J. J. Skogland, Greymouth; L. A. Cuff, Christchurch; G. P. Wood, South Canterbury; G. Sumpter, Oamaru; T. J. McKerrow, Dunedin; J. W. Mitchell, Invercargill.

Mr. R. M. Simpson, the General Manager for New Zealand, was born in Lancaster, England. Arriving in Auckland via Melbourne in 1853, he was educated at Wesley College and at Dr. Kinder's school. Mr. Simpson commenced his mercantile career in the office of Mr. Strickland, agent for the White Star Line, in Auckland, now manager of the New Zealand Shipping Company in London. He was afterwards in Mr. John Roberton's office for a short time. In 1862 he joined the staff of the Bank of New South Wales, and remained for five years. Subsequently Mr. Simpson was engaged in the sawmilling industry, on the West Coast of the South Island. Returning to the north, he had three years experience on the Thames goldfields. Soon after this he went on a trading voyage to the South Sea Islands, and was appointed accountant in the Fiji Banking and Commercial Company at Levuka, where he lived for three years. In 1876, Mr. Simpson returned to Auckland and entered the service of the New Zealand Insurance Company. His first duty was to open the Wanganui branch for the company, In April, 1877, he was made acting manager of the Company's branch office in Wellington. Soon after he was confirmed as manager, and this position he retained for fifteen years. He resigned in 1891, to accept the position he now holds. Mr. Simpson is a Justice of the Peace and is President for the year of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

Royal Insurance Company. Head office, Liverpool. Principal office for Australasia, Melbourne. Agents for Wellington, Messrs. W. M. Bannatyne and Co., Hunter Street.

Royal Exchange Assurance Corporation. Established 1720. Head office, Royal Exchange, London, E.C. Chief New Zealand office, Dunedin. Wellington branch, 12 Featherston Street. Mr. A. Simpson, agent. Fuller information of this Company will be given in the Otago volume.

The Sun Insurance Company. Agents and public officers for New Zealand, J. H. Bethune and Co., Brandon and Featherston Streets, Wellington. The chief office of this Company is at 63 Threadneedle Street, London, E.C. It has done business in New Zealand since 1877, as a purely fire office. The Sun Insurance Company was founded in the year 1710. Its capital is £2,400,000, in 240,000 shares of £10 each, on which 10s. per share, or £120,000, is paid up. The general reserve fund amounts to the huge sum of £1,125,000—over ten times the amount of the paid-up capital.