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Looking back ... Insurance Advocate, August, 1910.

know. What a chance! The experience so obtained, and which could never on God's fair and frothy earth have been secured under any but similar conditions, will be adjusted to cover the extended liability under the new laws, which become effective September 1, coincident with the hunting season and the hunter's moon. Here endeth the lesson. The congregation will now sing a part of the hymn beginning: In days of old, ere knights grew bold and put rates on the bum, a conference rate on every skate was good for years to come.


An illuminating exhibit of loss paying ability, rise and fall, downs and outs of fire insurance companies of New York State for thirty-nine years, comes to us from our friend and neighbor the Spectator. This exhibit tells its own tales and ought to be of special interest to certain muckrakers, legislators and other onmivera, born with prejudice but without understanding. Just look at this:

Out of business                84  =  80% of total
Surviving                      21  =  20% of total

    Total                     105  = 100%

1, 1871.

Out of business                58  =  72% of total
Surviving                      23  =  28% of total

    Total                      81  = 100%


Out of business               142  =  76% of total
Surviving                      44  =  24% of total

    Total                     186  = 100%

For every one that has lived, three have died. The mortality therefore among fire insurance companies in New York State is 300.23 per thousand! The twenty-one New York companies surviving in 1910, and which have been in business thirty-nine years and more, have among them a net surplus of more than $42,000,000. Of this amount the Home has nearly $12,000,000, the remainder dividing up the balance. The graveyard of the deceased is impressive with a wonderful array of great names.


Among the faithful workers in the New York office of the Mutual Benefit Life George H. Austin holds a high place and is greatly esteemed by his coworkers. lie has been indorsed by the progressive Republicans for Member of Congress from the Eighth Congressional District of New Jersey. Mr. Austin is very much to the good, is as square as a die, and ought to receive the cordial support and indorsement of every man who believes in and is striving for good government.


Personality, that, too, is it. Some call it sentiment. Call it what you will, it is the human element that gets there every time. A corporation has no red blood in its veins except as it is put there by up and doing men. It wearies me this talk about the strength of corporations. Who made them so, and how long would they remain so lint for the human element? Corporations are a fine thing, for they live on whereas men pass away, but just the same they are a product of the human heart and mind, without which they would crumble and decay. Those corporations that have been eminently successful have been managed by men of unusual attainments, men born to big things, not only of mind but of heart. Point, if you can, to a single successful corporation that did not have back of it a master mind, and when I say mind I mean heart as well, for things do not endure unless the heart element enters into their make up.

After all is said and done,
   "There is in every human heart
   Some not completely barren part.
   Where seeds of truth and love might grow
   And flowers of tend' rest virtue blow."

By not recognizing this truth, lots of men are losing golden chances. Principals are suspicious of their subordinates and vice versa, evidently forgetting that all men are human, and that by mutual confidence only can the best results be attained.

At the present time, the matter of expenses is worrying underwriters a whole lot. To my way of thinking they don't go at the problem in the right way. They are working single-handed, whereas they ought to have the co-operation and confidence of the field workers. I give the men ill the field a chance. They're human beings as well as the managers. The success of the company is as vital to them as to anyone. Don't keep them outside the breastworks. That's not the way to get their confidence and support. Call 'em in and have a good heart to heart talk with them. You'll be surprised to see how they'll respond. Give 'em to understand that they are a part of the company; that its success or failure depends on them. Unless my estimate of human nature is all wrong, such a course would be productive of results. And talk about work. Well, no man ever does quite so well as when he's put upon his honor, when he's regarded as a human being worthy of trust. Then it is that the best that's in him is developed. He sees a great light. He puts his shoulder to the wheel to secure it larger volume of business at a less expense. Then the problem is solved.

After men have tried every other scheme they have always found and ever will that men are not machines: that they must be trusted and dealt with as human beings. What is true of other lines of human endeavor is also true of insurance. The matter of expense will not be regulated until the field man is taken fully into confidence.
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Publication:Insurance Advocate
Date:Dec 15, 2008
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