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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 54

What The Success of a Life Office Depends Upon

What The Success of a Life Office Depends Upon,

it will be seen from what I have said that I am of opinion that, in order for the management of a life office to be successful, it should be conducted on purely commercial principles. A life insurance office is not a benevolent or a charitable institution. Occasionally we see directors act as if they thought the society under their charge partook of this character. For instance, in times of public excitement directors of offices have voted sums for the relief of exceptional distress; but it seems to me that any such appropriation of the funds under their charge is of doubtful legality, and might successfully be challenged by any person interested in the company. Again, directors are sometimes disposed to deal more leniently with a poor policyholder than with a rich one. This also seems to me to be quite contrary to sound principle; and I hold that the poorer persons interested in a company should be dealt with on exactly the same principles as the rich. Such concessions, for instance, as making payment of a sum assured when it is small immediately on proof of death being furnished, while payment is delayed several months when the sum is larger, cannot, I think, be defended on any business principles; in fact, I would lay down the principle that those who wish to be charitable should do it at their own expense, and not at the expense of the trust funds they have to administer.