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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Life Insurance Companies

Life Insurance Companies.

The foreign insurance companies operating in New Zealand are in number following, and the extent of their business may be gauged by the annexed detail for the year 1888:—
Number of Policies. Sum Assured
The Australian Mutual Provident Society 1,631 £473,341
The Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Company 1,093 344,400
The Equitable Insurance Association of Now Zealand 2,472 50,941
The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States 225 77,252
The Mutual Assurance Society of Victoria 264 62,550
The Mutual Life Association of Australasia 781 193,552
The National Mutual Life Association of Australasia 3 92,772
The New York Life Insurance Company 87 37,025
The following gives the grand total of the number of policies and amount assured on the books according to the last sworn returns:—
Names of Office. Number of Policies. Sum Assured.
Australian Mutual Provident 14,432 £4,630,532
Mutual Life Association of Australasia 2,553 679,967
National Mutual Life 1,939 505,902
Mutual of Victoria 1,056 272,319
New York Life 151 65,200
Colonial Mutual 2,689 905,873
Equitable of United States 930 521,652

Perhaps no better evidence of the prosperity of the colony exists than the number of life assurance institutions transacting successful business in our midst. The life assurance institutions of Australasia may be looked upon with pride by all colonials, inasmuch as no society established in these colonies has ever failed to meet its engagements, and of all these societies there is not one which is not in a properous condition at the present day. Australasia leads the world in respect to life assurance. No other country carries a larger amount of assurance per head of the population, neither are the liberality of the conditions of the policies and returns to policyholders surpassed.

The pioneer company in New Zealand is the Australian Mutual Provident Society. Established in the year 1848, and commencing business in a small office over a grocer's shop in George-street, Sydney, this society's business for the first year consisted of the granting of certain deferred annuities. Apparently satisfied with this tremendous windfall of business the society rested upon its oars until the next year, when the first life assurance policy was issued on the life page 25 of the secretary for £300. About 28 years ago this society included New Zealand in its field of operations, making a name for itself by strict attention to sound business, and the New Zealand business of this company has largely contributed to swell its profits in the past, more than one-eighth of its entire business being held in this colony. The principal office for the colony is in Wellington, Mr. E. W. Lowe being in charge of the colony, Mr. C. W. Hemery in charge of the Auckland office.

Taking the companies in their order, the next to commence business in New Zealand was the Mutual Life Association of Australasia, established in Sydney in the year 1869. This company selected Auckland as its headquarters, and began business under the management of our popular townsman, Mr. W. T. J. Bell. It has erected magnificent new offices in Queen-street, and is now vigorously expanding its business throughout the colony. Pursuing a conservative policy, for which it has always been noted, the company has not, until of late years, vigorously pushed for business. Notwithstanding this, the company holds risks in New Zealand to the extent of £679,967.

The National Mutual Life Association of Australasia, which is distinguished as being the first office in the world to apply the surrender-value of policies to paying overdue premiums, began operations here about ten years ago. This company has a wider popularity in Australia than in New Zealand, the majority of its business being held there, New Zealand only contributing a small proportion of the total. The headquarters of this company are located at Wellington, and the New Zealand branch is under the control of Mr. S. G. Martin.

The year 1884 was marked by the advent of the Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society and the Mutual Life Assurance Society of Victoria, both companies making Dunedin the centre of their business. It is a strange fact that Dunedin had found so little favour previously for this purpose. Although one of the latest arrivals, the Colonial Mutual has not allowed the grass to grow under its feet, and now possesses the third largest business in the colony.

The latest additions to the ranks consist of the two mammoth American companies, the New York Life and the Equitable Companies, with whom millions are but as thousands with other people. Their business here is not of large amount, together equally only 4 per cent, of the total business of the colony.

The total amount of assurances in force in the colony (exclusive of policies held in English offices) is now £14,613,598, total funds being £2,865,409, and the annual new business transacted last year £2,065,985, nearly half-a-million a year being collected in premiums.

When we consider that the population of New Zealand only now amounts to 650,000, that this accumulated business and funds really represents only twenty years' actual work, and that these figures indicate a certain secure provision for the future of our people, well may the colony at this Jubilee of its existence be congratulated on the wisdom and foresight thus displayed.