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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Fire And Marine

Fire And Marine.

Commercial Union Assurance Company, Limited. Head Office, 19 and 20 Corn-hill. London Directors: Messrs. W. R. Arbuthnot, R. Barclay (Barclay, Bevan, Tritton, Ransom, Bouverie and Co.), W. M. Campbell, (Hogg, Campbell, Curtis and Co,) J. Coleman, (J. and J. Coleman), Right Hon. L. H. Courtney, M.P. Mr. W. C. Dawes (J. B. Westray and Co.), Sir J. F. Garrick, Q.C., K.C.M.G., Messrs. F. W. Harris (Harris and Dixon), F. Larkworthy, C. J. Leaf, J. H Ley, Right Hon. A. J. Mundella, M.P., Sir H. W. Peek, Bart. (Peek Bros. and Co.), P. P. Rodocanachi (P. P. Rodocanachi and Co.), Sir A. R. Scoble, M.P., Q.C., K.C.S.I., P. G. Sechiari (Sechiari Bros. and Co.), A. B. Sim (Churchill and Sim), J. Trotter (J. Trotter and Co.), H. Trower (Trower and Sons). Trustees: (General), Right Hon. A. J. Mundella, M.P., Sir H. W. Peek, Bart., Messrs. P. G. Sechiari and H. Trower; (Life), Messrs. R. Barclay, W. M. Campbell, J. Coleman, and F. W. Harris. Bankers, Bank of England; Fire, London and County Banking Company, Limited; Life, Barclay, Bevan, Tritton, Ransom, Bouverie and Co.; Marine, London Joint Stock Bank, Limited. Executive Officers:—Fire Department: Manager, Mr. E. R. Owen; assistant manager, Mr. G. C. Morant, Life Department: Actuary, Mr. T. E. Young, B.A., F.I.A. Marine Department: Underwriter, Mr. J. Carr-Saunders; assistant underwriter, Mr. R. T. Jones; Secretary, Mr. H. Mann. The head offices of the Company are to be removed to offices adjoining the present premises in Cornhill, London, about the beginning of 1896. The new building, which, when completed, will be one of the finest offices in London, will cost, including the land, upwards of a quarter of a million sterling. The Company has branches and agencies in all the chief cities in the United Kingdom, throughout the United States of America, the Argentine Republic, in Germany, India, Capetown, South Africa, Canada, and Australasia. The Commercial Union was founded as an unlimited company by a body of merchants, brokers, and others in 1861, shortly after the great fire in Tooley Street, and commenced with fire business in October, 1861, life business in May, 1862, and marine business in January, 1863. The Company was registered as a limited company in 1865. The Commercial Union is one of the five fire insurance companies whose annual net fire premium incomes exceed one million sterling. The Company has always paid high dividends, but during the past seven years the dividend paid to shareholders has been at the rate of twenty-five per cent. per annum. The financial position of the Company will best be shown by a comparison of the results of one of the earliest years with 1894. The amount of net premium income in the fire department on the 31st of December, 1862, was £55,940; thirty-two years later it was £1,127,745. In the life department the number of policies issued in 1862 were 180, assuring £171,300, the premium incomes being £4447; during the year 1894, 777 policies, assuring £482,898, were issued, the premiums received on which amounted to £172,571. The marine department had a net premium income of
N.Z. Head Office, corner of Lambton Quay and Grey Street.

N.Z. Head Office, corner of Lambton Quay and Grey Street.

page 522 £99,454 in 1863; that for the year 1894 being £232,203. The total claims paid by the Company to the end of 1894 have been: Fire, £11,460,686; life, £1,546,518; marine, £5,017,259; total, £18,024,463. The capital of the Commercial Union is £2,500,000, fully subscribed in 50,000 shares of £50 each, of which £250,000 is paid up. The accumulated funds amount to £3,151,768, and the total net income of the Company is £1,532,519. New Zealand branch, head office corner of Lambton Quay and Grey Steeet, Wellington. Local directors:—Messrs. J. B. Harcourt (chairman), Jacob Joseph, G. M. Kebbell, J. Kirkcaldie, and E. W. Mills, J.P. Solicitors, Messrs. Brandon and Hislop. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. General manager, Mr. Frank Allen, J.P. Branch managers, Messrs. G. H. Harbroe, J.P., Wellington; Frank Graham, Canterbury; Graham and Walker, Auckland. Agents, C. B. Hoadley and Co., Napier; Webster and McKellar, New Plymouth; C. Dunlop, Gisborne; Adams and Kingdon, Nelson; R. E. D'Oyley, Dunedin; J. E. Hannah, Invercargill; J. Notman, Wanganui; S. A. Whealer, Bluff; Guinness and Kitchingham, Greymouth; J. Churches, Hokitika; Free and Cottrell, Westport. The Company has sub-agents in all towns and districts throughout New Zealand. The Commercial Union Insurance Company commenced to transact fire and marine business in New Zealand in 1890, having purchased the connection of The Colonial Insurance Company of New Zealand on the 12th of December of that year. The Commercial Union, although a fire, life, and marine company, transacts only fire and marine business in New Zealand, The Company has now one of the largest connections in the Colony, and is noted in New Zealand and elsewhere for the fair and liberal manner in which it treats its clients and settles its losses.

Mr. Frank Allen, J.P., General Manager of the New Zealand branch of the Commercial Union Assurance Company, Limited, has had a long experience in insurance business, in New Zealand and other parts of the world. Mr. Frank Allen He was born in London, England, and came to New Zealand when ten years of age. His education was completed in the Colony, and since its completion he has been in the employment of various institutions and firms, chiefly in New Zealand, till 1878. In April of that year, “The Colonial Insurance Company of New Zealand” (a fire and marine office having its headquarters in Wellington) was formed, and Mr. Allen was appointed the assistant-manager. Six years later, upon the resignation of Mr. G. S. Graham, Mr. Allen succeeded to the general managership, which position he retained until the C olonial Insurance Company disposed of its business in 1890 to the Commercial Union Assurance Company, Limited. He was then appointed general manager of the New Zealand branch of the latter company. Mr. Allen's genial, kindly disposition renders him deservedly popular with all who know him.

Mr. George H. Harbroe, J.P., Manager of the Wellington Branch of the Commercial Union Assurance Company, was born at Hobart, Tasmania, in 1854. His father, Mr. George Harbroe, was a well-known officer in the Comptroller-General's department at the above mentioned place. Mr. Harbroe was educated at the High School, Hobart, under the then Rector, the Rev. R. D. Harris, M.A. At an early age he went to Melbourne, and for several years was in the employ of a mercantile firm, but in 1875 resigned and took up his residence in Sydney. Almost immediately he received an appointment in the head office of the Australian Mutual Provident Society. He was transferred from the head office to the accountants' department of the New Zealand branch of that Society in 1877. Two years later Mr. Harbroe resigned his position to accept the appointment of accountant to the head office of the Colonial Insurance Company of New Zealand (fire and marine). He was promoted by the directors in 1884 to the office of manager of the Wellington branch of this Company. When the Colonial was absorbed by the Commercial Union six years afterwards, he received his present appointment. Mr. Harbroe, from his long experience, has a thorough knowledge of underwriting, both fire and marine, and is very popular with the public. He is on the executive committee of the Wellington Fire Underwriters' Association, and is a member of the Institute of Accountants. He is attached to the Masonic fraternity, being a member of Lodge Waterloo, N.Z.C. Mr. Harbroe is a past grand of the American Order of Oddfellows, and holds several other important positions in the City.

National Insurance Company of New Zealand. Head office, Custom House Square, Dunedin. Wellington Branch, corner of Custom House Quay and Hunter Street. Branch manager, Mr. Andrew Campbell. A full account of this prosperous New Zealand Company will be published in the volume for Otago.

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Mr. Andrew Campbell, Branch Manager of the National Insurance Company of New Zealand, was born in Scotland, where he was educated. He came to Dunedin about twenty years ago. For some time he was engaged in mercantile pursuits, but he eventually entered the National Insurance Company in Dunedin. On the retirement of Mr. F. G. Thompson from the management of the Wellington Branch of the National Insurance Company, Mr. Campbell was appointed, and has now conducted the Company's business for over ten years. As a member of the Underwriters' Association he has occupied the position of Chairman, and both in and out of office has shown an earnest desire to further its interests.

New Zealand Fire and Marine Insurance Company. Office, New Zealand Insurance Buildings, corner of Lambton Quay and Grey Street, Wellington. Telephone 32; P.O. Box 81. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. Manager, Mr. J. C. Hanna. Head Office, New Zealand Insurance Buildings, Queen Street, Auckland. This old-established Company will be fully described in the Auckland volume of the Cyclopedia.

Mr. James Crawford Hanna, Manager of the New Zealand Insurance Company at Wellington, has had a long experience in connection with colonial institutions. Born in 1856 at Lisburn, Ireland, he attended private schools before leaving with his parents for the Colony. Arriving in Auckland by the ship ”Ganges,” in 1867, he received instruction at the schools of Mr. William McIntosh and the Rev. Peter Mason. On leaving school he joined the Post and Telegraph Department of the General Government in Auckland. Mr. Hanna steadily advanced in the service, and subsequently bee me postmaster and telegraphist in various parts of Mr. James Crawford Hanna the North Island. Resigning his position in 1875, he joined the Bank of New Zealand in the Inspector's office in Auckland. After about a year he was sent to the Otago goldfields, where he remained for about three-and-a-half years, occupying positions as agent, gold buyer, and teller respectively. In 1879 Mr. Hanna was sent to the West Coast of the North Island, and through the Wairarapa to open various agencies of the Bank, and generally to conserve its business. On the completion of this work Mr. Hanna returned to Auckland, and from thence proceeded to Canterbury, where he had charge of the Bank's business in various parts of the northern portion of the provincial district. Subsequently he made a tour through Southland, and afterwards went on to Dunedin and the Taieri district. Again returning to Canterbury, Mr. Hanna assumed charge of the Bank's branches at Southbridge and Leeston for about two years. During this time he was also engaged in the liquidation of several businesses, principally grain merchants and stock auctioneers, which required very careful and judicious handling. This work completed, Mr. Hanna went on a short holiday. In January, 1885, he was in harness again in the Manawatu district, as manager of the Palmerston North branch, and subsequently was transferred to Hawera, and then back to Palmerston North. On the formation of the Bank of New Zealand Estates Company in 1890, the position of accountant to the company was conferred on Mr. Hanna, who was located in Auckland, and undertook the organisation of this new branch of the Bank's business. A year later he became colonial manager of the Company, a position which he held till the close of 1894, when the head office was removed to Wellington. Mr. Hanna then rejoined the Bank of New Zealand as assistant inspector, and subsequently resigned from the Bank to join the service of the New Zealand Insurance Company.

North Queensland Insurance Company (Limited). Head office, corner of Pitt and Bridge Streets, Sydney, New South Wales. Messrs. J. Holmes and Co. are the agents for Wellington. This office will be more fully described in the Auckland volume, the chief office for New Zealand being situated in the nerthern city.

The South British Fire and Marine Insurance Company of New Zealand was established at Auckland in 1872, and conducts a large fire and marine business throughout the Colony as well as in Australia, Fiji, South Africa, India, China, Japan, and South America, transacting also marine business in London, Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow, The company is also represented by correspondents at all chief ports in the world. The authorised capital is £1,900,000, of which £1,227,932 is subscribed and £64,628 paid up, the liability of shareholders being unlimited. At the present time the reserved and invested funds exceed £180,000. Mr. Thomas Peacock is the present chairman of the Board of Directors, Messrs. W. S. Wilson (Wilson and Horton), J. H. Upton (Upton and Co.), R. A. Carr (Carr, Johnston and Co.) Jno. Edson, Jno. Batger, and C. C. McMillan being the other members of the Board. The present general manager, Mr. Jas. Kirker, assumed control in September, 1890. The headquarters of the company are in Auckland, at the corner of Queen and Shortland Streets, in a three-story building of imposing appearance, and right in the heart of the city traffic. The South British Company has thirty-two branches, of which ten are in New Zealand; they are represented in the various town and country districts by capable and responsible agents. Mr. C. W. Benbow is the manager for the Wellington district, and the offices are on Lambton Quay between the Colonial Bank and the Bank of New South Wales.

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Mr. Charles William Benbow, the manager of the Wellington Branch of the South British Insurance Company, is very well known in the Empire City, both in commercial and private circles. The son of Mr. George Benbow, he was born in Birmingham, England, on the 13th of February, 1842. He was educated at one of the Birmingham church schools, and at the early age of twelve years entered the office of a Birmingham firm, with whom he remained for twenty-one years. He then, in 1875, left England for this Colony per ship “Border Chief,” and on his arrival in Wellington found suitable employment with Messrs. Levin and Co., merchants, where he superintended the Insurance Department, conducted the correspondence, etc. In 1891, Mr. Benbow severed his long connection with Messrs. Levin and Co. to accept his present position. Though he has kept aloof from both colonial and civic politics, Mr. Benbow has in less prominent ways been serving the public with commendable ardour and most satisfactory results. Whatever he takes in hand is done, and done thoroughly. He is, of course, best known as a chess player; but as a separate article in connection with the Wellington Chess Club speaks of him in that capacity it need only be said here, that in addition to his duties as president of the Club, he has for many years past had charge of the chess column of the New Zealand Mail. The Mail is to be congratulated on having, therefore, in one department at least, the highest talent that the Colony can supply. As a composer of problems, as in the other branches of the game, Mr. Benbow many years ago made for himself a prominent position among the first chess stars of England. In draughts, too, he plays a strong game. As a cricketer he has shown a keen interest, and no small ability in at least one out-door pastime; but in this Mr. Charles Benbow of the A.M.P. staff, has outstripped his father. Mr. Benbow still plays occasionally for exercise, and he occupies the position of president of the Phœnix Club and vice-president of the Cricketer's Association. Mr. Benbow is a rare sample of a rare class of men. There is hardly an important game which he does not play really well; and yet he has sacrificed himself to none. The positions he has held in business circles show that very plainly; but the writer, from an intimacy of many years' standing, is able to speak with confidence on this point. Mr. Benbow's library is one of the best in the city, and of the thousands of books which compose it, there are very few with whose contents he is unfamiliar. He is not a mere collector of books: his study of them is characterised by the same thoroughness which wins for him the highest esteem in all quarters. As a public lecturer he cannot be said to have come prominently before the public; but several audiences have been kept in almost breathless interest throughout the delivery of his lectures on Goldsmith, John Bright and others. As an Oddfellow of the American Order, Mr. Benbow has held for many years the high position of Deputy Grand Master for the Wellington District. He is a member of the Southern Cross Lodge, No. 24, of which he is a trustee, and both officially and privately he takes a leading part in Oddfellowship. In church matters, too, the subject of this sketch is equally prominent; though it is but fair to say to those who are unacquainted with Mr. Benbow that his prominence in many of these spheres is not due to his own choice. He has an extraordinary capacity, and an equal willingness for hard work; and as he is incapable of doing anything badly or of neglecting the due performance of a duty devolving upon him, it is not surprising that he is pressed into positions of responsibility and honour. With his genuine desire to be useful, and genially courteous to all, the wonder is that he has been able to limit the number of his public duties within the possibility of such punctilious performance. Among the positions held by Mr. Benbow in connection with the Wesleyan body may be mentioned those of Senior Circuit Steward, Society Steward of Wesley Church, and Trustee of the Wellington Circuit Education Trust. In the Wesley Sunday School and in connection with the Literary Institute he has given much valued assistance. Mr. Benbow was married in 1866 to Miss Elizabeth Jennings, daughter of Mr. Michael Jennings, of Birmingham, and their family numbers six. Mr. Charles Benbow, the only son, is in the office of the Australian Mutual Provident Society, and several of the daughters have already distinguished themselves in educational subjects. The youngest daughter was in the sixth standard at the age of ten, which tends to explain how the father might go to business at twelve, and yet be in no way behind the ordinary schoolboy of fifteen or sixteen.

The Standard Fire and Marine Insurnace Company of New Zealand, Custom House Quay, Wellington. Branch Manager, Mr. William Evans. Further particulars will be found in the Otago volume.

The United Insurance Company, Limited: New Zealand Branch, Principal Office, corner of Hunter and Featherston Streets, Wellington. Local Directors, Messrs. Nicholas Reid (chairman), Robert O'Connor, and Martin Kennedy; Resident Secretary, Mr. J. S. Jameson. Bankers, Bank New South Wales. Solicitors, Messrs. Chapman and Tripp. Head Office, corner of George and Hunter Streets, Sydney: Directors, Messrs. James Ewan (chairman), Samuel Dickinson, George J. Cohen, T. F. Knox, Richard Binnie, and the Hon. Sir John Lackey, M.L.C., K.C.M.G.; Auditors, Messrs. F. T. Watkins and J. B. C. Miles. Solicitors, Messrs. Bradley and Son. Bankers, Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, Limited. Manager, Mr. Thomas M. Tinley; Secretary, Mr. Bartin Haigh. The United Insurance Company, which was founded in Sydney in 1862, has had a uniformly page 525 successful career. For nearly twenty years past the Company has carried on business in this Colony, but it was not till November, 1891, that New Zealand was constituted a separate branch, and the principal office was opened in Wellington. The capital of the United Insurance Company is £500,000 in 50,000 shares of £10 each, of which 34,161 shares are allotted, and on these the sum of £68,225 has been paid up. The thirty-third annual general meeting of shareholders was held in Sydney on the 23rd of October, 1895. The report showed the total receipts for the year ending the 30th of September, 1895 (including balance brought forward from last year) to have been £110,943 19s. 11d., and the expenditure £95,398 16s. 4d., leaving a surplus of £15,545 3s. 7d., which it was decided to dispose of as follows:—To reserve fund (now £52,000), £750; appropriation for unadjusted losses (making £5000), £1000; office furniture written off, £315 18s. 6d.; dividend for half-year at 12 1/2 per cent. per annum, £4264 2s.; undivided balance carried forward to next year, £9215 3s. 1d.; total £15,545 3s. 7d. The investments of the Company include deposits at interest, £83,765 13s. 4d.; debentures, £5000; mortgages on real property, £5150; real property, £58,560. The following are the principal agents of the Company in New Zealand:—Auckland, Mr. Arthur Heather; New Plymouth, Mr. D. McAllum; Napier, Mr. W. Kinross White and Mr. E. Crowley; Nelson, Messrs. Levien Bros.; Christchurch, Messrs. Jameson, Anderson and Co.; Dunedin, Messrs. Neill and Co., Limited; and Invercargill, Mr. H. Hawson.

Mr. James Samuel Jameson, the Resident Secretary of the New Zealand branch of the United Insurance Company, Limited, has represented the office since 1877. Born in Manchester, England, Mr. Jameson was educated at the Rev. Dr. Cranswick's school and the Manchester Grammar School, and came to New Zealand in the year 1865, per ship “Sebastopol,” to Lyttelton, after a long voyage of 125 days. On arrival in the Colony Mr. James Samuel Jameson he turned his attention to mercantile life, and for a long time occupied an important and responsible position with the late firms of Messrs. Gould and Miles, and Mr. George Gould, general merchants and station agents, Christchurch. In 1877 Mr. Jameson entered into business on his own account in the City of the Plains, and accepted the agency of the United Insurance Company, Limited, for Canterbury, which he held for fourteen years. On the re-organisation of the Company's business in New Zealand in 1891, the responsible position of Resident Secretary for New Zealand was conferred upon him. This necessitated his removal to Wellington, where he has since resided.

Victoria Insurance Company (Limited). New Zealand branch, principal office, Dunedin. Wellington agents, Messrs. Levin and Co., Grey Street. Further information concerning this office will appear in the volume for Otago.