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Moments In Time (January 01, 2004)


January 1, 2004   by Canadian Underwriter


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Dominion Superintendent Reviews 1935

(January 15, 1936)

In a review of the operations of insurance institutions in Canada. Mr. G.D. Finlayson, Dominion Superintendent of Insurance, reports that results for 1935 will probably reveal an improvement over the preceding year. Net premiums on fire and casualty business are expected to show a slight increase with a further material decline in losses.

“The most important class of casualty insurance is that arising from the insurance of automobiles and in that class the increasing hazards of the highways continue to make their impression. Accidents are steadily increasing in number and these have resulted in an increasing number of claims upon insurance companies. Many of these claims are, of course, unavoidable and meritorious, but in recent years there has been an increase in the number of claims bearing all the earmarks of collusion between policyholder and third party claimant.”

Has Suing For Damages Become a Habit?

(April 1, 1936)

It may be libel on the human race to state that suing for damages has become a habit, yet sometimes it does not seem to be such an exaggeration. It is true that when someone suffers as a result of someone else’s actions, he should be reimbursed and no one should object. On the other hand, it is just as true that many of the suits for damages which clutter up the courts are brought by people who hope to get something for nothing. Juries are very impressionable and award claims for excessive amounts, on some occasions, an extreme example of this being the recent case in Montreal where the amount of damages suggested by ten of the jurymen was averaged, and $10,600 awarded to a lady for a fall on the ice.

Editorial Viewpoint: Motor Accident Compensation

(August 2, 1937)

One of the most important problems looming on the horizon of today’s insurance world is the promulgation of some adequate system for compensating person injured in automobile accidents. Automobile insurance is the largest single casualty line now written, and any action in this field affects virtually every company and agent in the country… Faced with the present situation, the immediate reaction of most people – including many agents – is to recommend compulsory insurance. “Make motorists insure before they get their car licenses, and if they can’t get insurance don’t let them drive,” is the summation of these suggestions, which are very sound on paper. However, experience has show that while compulsory insurance is effective in assuring every injury victim of indemnity if he can prove his claim in court, the same legislation brings with it a deluge of irresponsible drivers who “don’t care because they are insured”, a plague of racketeering ambulance-chasing lawyers and adjusters and accident fakers, and general unjustified claims-consciousness.

Prosperous Insurance Year Recorded

(April 15, 1938)

Despite a slight increase in the over-all loss ratio for the combined fire and casualty insurance lines written in Canada by Dominion licensed companies, the insurance picture in this country may be considered to have improved considerably during 1937, according to the preliminary government figures recently released which appear in this issue. Fire insurance income showed an encouraging rise of more than $2 millions with a slight drop in loss ratio from 34.97 per cent in 1936 to 34.88 per cent in 1937, while casualty and inland transportation chalked up a further increase of more than $5 millions. Net premiums written for all lines other than life and marine totalled $76,872,984 in 1937 as compared with $69,273,546 in 1936, accompanied by a very slight rise in loss ratio from 40.18 per cent in 1936 to 41.02 per cent in 1937. As usual, some lines were less profitable than in the previous year. Automobile experience, despite rate increases, showed losses at 57.19 per cent of premiums as compared with 56.39 per cent in 1936, while premium income rose from $13,510,431 to $16,790,056.

The Measure of Insurance Progress

by Edgar J. Kay

(February 1, 1939)

Insurance, particularly Marine Insurance, has registered the effect of those awe-inspiring days of late September when not only the peace of the world but perhaps the fate of civilization as we know it, stood in the balance. Following the Munich deliberations, however, it has more or less settled down to its normal existence except in certain quarters of this world of ours where extreme nationalism threatens to over-balance the common sense of some nations. It is perhaps interesting to note in passing, the striking incident in Insurance that illustrates the futility of legislating morality amongst nations as amongst individuals. The War Risk Exclusion Clause had to be amended to catch up with the Nations which renounced war as a national policy and at the same time circumvented their profession of morality by waging a conflict without a declaration of war. This necessitated a change in this War Risk Exclusion Clause to exclude loss from war, whether declared or not.


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