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A great spirit of enquiry has developed to the people of England during the last ten years various avenues to intellectual gratification, and has opened new fields for the exertion of genius, and the improvement of fortune. Information in the various branches of literature, science and trade is more generally diffused; men now write for the world, not for a learned oligarchy; the public are capable of appreciating the merits of a Milne; and a Babbage submits his labours for the judgment of the people.
As the means of intellectual and moral improvement have multiplied, it is not surprising that Life Insurance should have become a subject of general enquiry, and of serious consideration. “Every assurance made for providing for a surviving family, in whatever office it is effected,” has been justly described by Mr. Morgan as “not only a private, but a public good;" consequently a wide extension of the circle in which that good may be effected is a consummation to be wished.
The following pages are intended to call attention to the means by which life insurance may be secured to many, from whom its advantages have hitherto been withheld.
REASONS FOR PUBLICATION.
As there are few large landed estates in England the values of which are not, in some way, affected by life contingencies, so there is rarely a large mercantile adventure the profit on which may not, in some degree, depend on the life of a supercargo, or manager in a foreign market. A Capitalist, when offering money for land subject to the payment of one or more annuities, necessarily directs an enquiry as to the probable duration of the lives of the annuitants; and that duration can only be estimated by a correct table of the mortality among persons under exactly similar circumstances. For instance, a native of England, whilst residing in his own country, is subject to the various diseases and influences which produce mortality among the population of England; which mortality may be reduced to the certainty of a law, from the data furnished by enumerations of the population, and the certificates of burial. But the moment an Englishman goes to the East or West Indies he becomes subject to a totally different rate, or law of mortality; indeed to a law having no relation to, or connection with the mortality of his own country; a law not only different in its operation on the Native and the European, but differing also in the cases of the Swede, the Frenchman, and the Englishman. Before the Capitalist therefore can deduct the value of the annuities from the price he would give for the freehold, he should not only be satisfied of the circumstances in which the annuitants are presently or likely to be placed, but also, that the values are deduced from data of so satisfactory a character, as to leave no doubt of the certainty of the law of mortality to which the annuitants are, or may become subject. On the correctness of these estimates must the advantage of his purchase depend.
A merchant sending goods to a foreign market, either on credit to a respectable managing owner or under care of a supercargo skilled in the value of the commodity and familiar with the destined market, would reasonably deem his security or profit, in some degree, dependant on the life of the owner or manager; and such a consideration would influence him in determining the prices to be affixed, so as to coùer the risks of life, either by effecting insurance, or becoming his own assurer by running the risk for the extra gain. The same information and degree of certainty would therefore be necessary in this case, as in the former.
Similar remarks may be applied to the lives of persons suffering from chronic diseases in Europe; and it has been the want of observations on their probable duration and on the mortality among Europeans when beyond the li