Defending a Nation's Prosperity
Seventy-five Years of Service in the United States celebrated this year by The Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company, Limited
THE bulwarks of civilization are never really safe. From the crude shelters built by pioneers as they press on across fresh frontiers, to the newest and mightiest business blocks of steel and concrete, every phase of the efforts of men and industries to entrench themselves against the dangers that threaten their labors, is attended by subtle and multitudinous menaces. It seems that risks and hazards that no one can predict lurk along every inch of the way.
For centuries science has bent itself energetically to the task of safeguarding human activities against such risks and hazards. And out of this world-old effort there has risen a special science that has addressed itself specifically to the undertaking of making financial provision against certain risks in the business of life. It is the science of insurance.
The principle of insurance has gradually and steadily become a fixed element of the life of enlightened nations. Today it surrounds human activities, great and small, with a protective influence designed to offset accident, interruption, and disaster, and to guard against damage and loss due to a great variety of causes.
In this uncommonly important task of insuring individuals and concerns against damage and loss, it has been the privilege of The Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Co., Ltd., to perform a substantial service throughout a long period of years.
"The Great Fire Insurance Company of the World”
THE theatre of action of this company is world-wide in scope. It is very literally a “theatre of action,” since no business on earth is more closely identified with dramatic events than the insurance business.
It writes policies in every language spoken by civilized peoples. It has for generations been privilegend to stand by innumerable communities when the air was ruddy with flames and thick with the smoke of conflagrations, and likewise to pay losses involved by many causes other than fire. For, although it is known primarily as “the great fire insurance company of the world,” it does large volumes of business in other fields of insurance, notably automobile, tornado, sprinkler leakage,explosion, use and occupancy, postal, profits, transportation, commissions, tourists’ baggage, hail, and strike, riot, and civil commotion.
SEVENTY-FIVE years ago The Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Co., Ltd., began serving the American public. That was in the year 1848; and the period between 1848 and 1923 has witnessed the enactment of vast changes in the social and industrial life of the United States. From the humble levels of 1848, the nation was destined, during that intervening span, to mount to stupendous peaks of civic and industrial achievements. And in this dramatic rise, The Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Co., Ltd., was destined to enact an interesting and useful service.
Its broad experience, in the underwriting of the prosperity of communities, the extent of its reserves, the vision and integrity of its officials, and local confidence in the judgment of its agents, enabled the company to establish itself firmly and permanently in American life.
A Notable Body of Men
UPWARDS of 10,000 agents link the company intimately to the length and breadth of the United States. These agents, chosen with painstaking regard for their character and fitness, are interpreting the ideals and scope of the company to their various communities, and are placing the worldwide facilities of the company within quick reach of individuals and institutions. The local work of these agents, in turn, is facilitated and is kept keyed up to its high point of proficiency by a compact, highly organized force of about a thousand officials and employees. No other insurance company has more extensive foreign connections.
America Profits by Enormous Fire Reserves
IF the company had actually been able to look clairvoyantly into the future, and to foresee the fires that were to rage in Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, and San Francisco, it could scarcely have cleared its decks more definitelv for the rôle it was destined to play in connection with the restoration of those charred and ruined areas.
New Orleans had a fire in 1854 that cost the company $90,000, which was considered a goodsized loss at that period. Eight years later there was a fire in Troy, New York, which involved The Liverpool and London and Globe more seriously than any other insurance company. And again, as a result of a Fourth of July fire in Portland, Maine, in the year 1866, the company faced and took prompt care of losses that were considered heavy.
On each of these occasions, The Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Co., Ltd., paid its losses promptly and in full; and by 1867 its service in the United States wars held in such high public confidence and esteem that its premium income in that year was exceeded by only two insurance companies in the entire United States.
THEN came the disastrous Chicago fire of 1871. On the night of October 8th of that fateful year, a restless cow kicked a lantern, set fire to the stable which was located on the West Side of Chicago, and the now historic flames, urged by a strong gale, rapidly invaded the North Side of the city, and began devouring that wooden, combustible section.
So intense was the heat that in some instances stone was observed to disintegrate and crumble even more rapidly than wood was consumed. About ninetenths of the buildings of the North Side were destroyed , the fire raging fiercely for twenty-eight hours and destroying property covering a total of 2,124 acres. The fire marshal estimated the total loss at $190,526,500. Fully 17,450 buildings were destroyed.
The Chicago Fire
On the morning of October 10th, while the fire was still raging,acrowd of whitefaced Chicago business men gathered on the lawn in front of a residence in Lake Forest, a North Shore suburb of Chicago. It was the residence of William Warren, The Liverpool and London and Globe’s general agent at Chicago at the time of the fire. The men assembled on his lawn were holders of policies in his company. The properties of many of them had been completely swept away, and their faces were drawn with anxiety. One question was embedded heavily in their minds, and they hardly dared ask that question. They had come to find out what proportion of the losses The Liverpool and London and Globe would be able to pay. When William Warren opened the door, an elderly man, whose possessions had been literally wiped out by the fire, was the first to accost him.
"I’ve got only one thing left in the world,” he declared pitifully,”and that’s The Liverpool and London and Globe.”
"Then you’re just as safe as if you had every dollar of the amount of your policies in your pocket right now,” answered the general agent quietly. “The Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Co. will meet all of its obligations to the last dollar.”
The calm reply had elements of magic in it, and its effect was instantaneous.
Then and there was initiated the resolute spirit with which Chicago, to the amazement of the whole world, was to be rebuilt in record time and with invincible ardor.
The Boston Fire
A BURST of flame from a mansard roof in Boston started a fan-shaped conflagration in the autumn of 1872 which destroyed 776 buildings in the mercantile district. This fire left twenty-six Massachusetts insurance companies insolvent, with losses totalling $30,000,000 and assets of about half that amount. Four New York companies likewise collapsed.
But again The Liverpool and London and Globe, sustaining more than half the total loss of the foreign companies, paid its claims promptly and in full.
Here were thirteen crucial months within which The Liverpool and London and Globe suffered losses totalling nearly five million dollars, caused by the Chicago fire and the Boston fire, plus the ordinary losses of that period. All of these losses were paid as adjusted, promptly and without discount.
The San Francisco Tragedy
WHEN San Francisco was singled out by the elements as the scene of a great tragedy, The Liverpool and London and Globe was again permitted to draw vigorously upon its reserves in an hour of extraordinary need.
The disaster, which occurred in April, 1906, destroyed almost the entire city, and was followed by a fire that lasted for three days and caused the loss of 1,500 lives, with an estimated damage to property of half a billion dollars.
San Francisco, practically the product of the gold boom which began in 1848, was thus helped back on her feet by the insurance company which began its career in the United States in identically the same year. From an even start, the one had grown into a great city and the other into the business partner of towns and cities throughout the nation.
Such was the havoc caused by this disaster, and in the sudden face of those terrific losses, it is not to be wondered at that delays in the settlement of claims were almost universal. About $235,000,000 of insurance was involved, and this was carried in some 230 companies.
Of the 230 insurance companies involved in the San Francisco tragedy, it may be noted that only five companies paid all claims in full upon adjustment, without cash discount, except a few whose losses were nominal. One of these five companies was The Liverpool and London and Globe.
Standing in the background, but ever in readiness to act in its appointed capacity if and when the moment came, The Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Co. was ready when San Francisco’s evil hour struck.
The Morale World
THREE quarters of a century of constantly expanding service to the American people under conditions of stern and strenuous competition could not have been accomplished by The Liverpool and London and Globe without an organization that has been kept carefully tuned up and delicately responsive to the imperious demands upon it.
It has required a patient and progressive adaptation to the changing forces and environments that have accompanied the transformation of America from the stage-coach days of 1848 to the airplane speed of today.
The jump in American premiums paid to the company from a meagre $4,515 in 1848 to $18,000,000 in 1922, indicates the expansion that has taken place between that date and this, in the company’s facilities to perform a useful service in its field.
In 1848 one man, tramping the sidewalks of Manhattan, represented the company in America. Today, more than 10,000 Americans of importance and achievement represent The Liverpool and London and Globe among their neighbors, and are translating the ideals and resources of the company into tangible documentary guarantees against loss or damage to property from a variety of different causes.
The service of the company has meant much more than supplying aid in the resurrection of cities like Chicago or San Francisco after grievous calamities. These spectacular forms of assistance have been important, of course, but it is rather the daily and hourly rehabilitation of isolated sufferers throughout the past seventy-five years that has comprised the great bulk of the company’s performance.
Most of the $190,000,000 of losses paid by the company since beginning its career in the United States has been the result of damage or destruction, which, although not momentous enough to be cabled round the world, has none the less meant tragic hours to individual sufferers. In standing lay this continuous procession of its clients in critical hours, The Liverpool and London and Globe has had happy opportunities for the kind of service that improves the morale of the world.