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The Progress of Life Assurance Business in the United Kingdom during the last Fifty Years

  • David Deuchar (a1)

At so striking an epoch in the history of our times as the Jubilee of our Most Gracious Queen, it seems natural that those who are engaged in any special branch of trade, or commerce, or science, should look back with interest at the records of the progress of that branch during the period then completed; and I therefore venture to hope that the particulars which I have collected regarding the progress of Life Assurance Business in the United Kingdom during the last half-century, and which I propose to lay before you this evening, may prove in some degree interesting to you.

Before submitting to you these particulars, I think it may be useful if I refer for a few minutes to the condition of the United Kingdom in 1837, and to the changes which have occurred since then in matters which have had an important, though indirect, bearing on Life Assurance Business.

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page 142 note 1 See Statement in Appendix, page 172.

page 142 note 2 The Equitable Society from an early date issued for the private information of its members a copy of its annual cash account, with a statement of the stock held in the funds, and the amount laid out on mortgages; the London Life Association also, I believe, adopted a similar course; but, after carefully going over the contents of the interesting volume of old prospectuses (now in the Library of the Institute of Actuaries) collected by the late Mr. Samuel Brown in January 1838, I have only been able to find one company (the Scottish Widows' Fund) which at that date published in its prospectus the amounts of its income, funds, and existing assurances.

page 145 note 1 The Blue Book gives the accounts of 111 companies. The 10 companies omitted in arriving at the above figures are accounted for thus:—Industrial Offices and Friendly Societies, 5; Annuity Society, 1; Reversionary Company, 1; American Life Offices, 3.

page 145 note 2 The English and Scottish Law Life Assurance Association was treated as an English office, its annual meetings being held in London. The North British and Mercantile and Northern Companies were treated as Scottish offices, their annual meetings being held in Edinburgh and Aberdeen respectively.

page 146 note 1 The Blue Book gives the accounts of 106 companies. In arriving at the above figures 15 companies have been omitted, viz. purely Industrial Offices, 9; Annuity Societies, 3; Reversionary Company, 1; American Life Offices, 2.

page 146 note 2 See note2 on preceding page.

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Transactions of the Actuarial Society of Edinburgh
  • ISSN: 2046-0562
  • EISSN: 2058-1025
  • URL: /core/journals/transactions-of-the-actuarial-society-of-edinburgh
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