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interim, so little pains was taken to in- vantageous to the assured, we must conform the public upon the system, that sider the subject of premiums, and unin 1842 the amount assured probably derstand whence companies derive their did not exceed $ 5,000,000. But, in a surplus, or, as it is sometimes called, Christian country, all material enter- the profits. This is easily explained. prises go swiftly forward, and of late As the liability to death increases with years the progress of life assurance has age, the proper annual premium for asequalled that of railroads and tele
surance would increase with each year graphs; so that there are in the United of life. But as it is important not to States at least fifty companies, which burden age too heavily, and as it is simare disbursing in claims, chiefly to wid- pler to pay a uniform sum every year, a ows and orphans, about five millions mean rate is taken, - one too little for of dollars annually.
old age, but greater than is absolutely With this large extension of busi- necessary to cover the risk in the first ness, the fundamental principles of life years of the assurance. Hence the assurance are now universally agreed company receives at first more than on; but, in carrying them out, there it has to pay, and thus accumulates are differences deserving attention. funds to provide for the time when its
Life-assurance companies may be payments will naturally be in excess of divided into three classes, - the stock, its receipts. Now these funds may be the mutual, and the mixed. In the invested so as of themselves to produce stock company, the management is in an income, and the increase thence dethe hands of the stockholders, or their rived may, by the magical power of agents, with whom the applicant for compound interest, reaching through a insurance contracts to pay so much long series of years, become very large. while living, in consideration of a cer- In forming rates of premium, regard tain sum to be paid to his representa- is had to this ; but, to gain security in tives at his death; and here his con- a contract which may extend far into nection with it ceases ; the profits of the future, it is prudent to base the the business being divided among the calculations on so low a rate of interstockholders. In the mutual company est that there can be a certainty of obthe assured themselves receive all the taining it. The rate adopted is usually surplus premium or profit. The law three per cent in England, and four or of the State of New York passed in five per cent in this country. But, in 1849 requires that all life - insurance point of fact, the American companies companies organized in the State shall now obtain on secure investments six have a capital of at least one hun- or seven per cent. dred thousand dollars. Mutual life-in- Again, in order to cover expenses surance companies organized in that and provide against possible continState since 1849 pay only seven per gencies, it is common to add to the cent on their capital, which their stock rates obtained by calculation from corby investment may produce. In the rect tables of mortality a certain permixed companies there are various centage, called loading, which is usucombinations of the principles peculiar ally found more than is necessary, and to the other two. They differ from the forms a second source of profit. mutual companies only in the fact that, Again, most tables of mortality are besides paying the stockholders legal derived from the experience of whole interest, they receive a portion of the communities, while all companies now profits of the business, which in some subject applicants to a medical examicases in this country has caused the nation, and reject those found diseased; capital stock to appreciate in value over it being possible to discover, through three hundred per cent, and in Eng- the progress of medical science, even land over five hundred per cent. incipient signs of disease. Hence one
To decide which of these is most ad- would expect that among these selected
lives the rates of mortality would be by which the company contracts to pay, less than by ordinary statistics; and on the death of the assured, the sum this is confirmed by the published ex- named in the policy, to the person in perience of many companies. Here we whose behalf the assurance is made. find a third source of profit.
In mutual (cash) companies, when In these three ways, and others in the premium has been paid in full for cidental to the business, it happens about sixteen years, judging from past that all corporations managed with or- experience, the policy-holder may exdinary prudence accumulate a much pect that his annual dividend on policy larger capital than is needed for future and additions will exceed the annual losses. The advocates of the stock premium, thus obviating the necessity plan contend that, by a low rate of of further payments to the company, premium, they furnish their assured while his policy annually increases in with a full equivalent for that division amount for the remainder of life. But, of profits which is the special boast on the contrary, when the dividends of other companies. In a corporation have been anticipated, as in the note purely mutual, the whole surplus is system, by giving a note for part of the periodically applied to the benefit of premium, the policy-holder insuring in the assured, either by a dividend in this way, although he may at first recash, or by equitable additions to the ceive a larger policy than he has the amount assured without increase of ability to pay for in cash, may lose the premium, or by deducting from future chief benefit of life insurance. For premiums, while the amount assured should he become unable, either by remains the same. The advantages age, disease, or loss of property, to of the latter system must be evident continue the payment of his premiums, to every one.
his policy must lapse, because there is It is of course important in all com- no accumulation of profits to his credit panies, whether mutual or not, that the on which it can be continued. officers should be men of integrity, sa- In other forms of life policies, called gacity, and financial experience, as well “Non-forfeitable,” premiums are made as that due precautions should be tak- payable in “one,” “five,” or “ten” anen in the care and investment of the nual payments. In all cash companies, company's fund ; and it is now proved and in some of the note companies, by experience in this country, that, after the specified number of premiums when a company is thus managed, so have been paid, the policy-holder draws regular are the rates of mortality, so an annual dividend in cash. efficient the safeguards derived from A further advantage arising from this the selection of lives, the assumption plan is, that the policy-holder, at any of low rates of interest, and the load- time after two annual payments have ing of premiums, that no company, been made, is always entitled to a when once well established, has ever “paid-up" policy for as many “ fifths” met with disaster. On the other hand, or “tenths” of the sum assured as he there has been a rapid accretion of shall have paid annual premiums. For funds, in some instances to the amount example: a “five-annual-payment poliof many millions of dollars. The char- cy” for $10,000, on which three premiacteristics of a good company are secu- ums had been paid, would entitle the rity and assurance at cost. It should holder to a “paid-up policy” for $6,000; sell, not policies merely, but assur- a “ten - annual - payment policy” for ance; and it should not make a profit $10,000, on which three payments had for the capitalist out of the widow and been made, would entitle the holder to orphan.
$3,000 ; and so on for any number of The policies issued by life companies payments and for any amount, in acvary in their form and nature. The cordance with the face of the policy. ordinary one is called the life policy, Another form is denominated the En
He says :
dowment Policy, in which the amount advantages which life assurance has assured is payable when the party at- conferred upon the public, especially tains a certain age, or at death, should in America, whose middle classes, amhe die before reaching that age. This bitiously living up to their income, policy is rapidly gaining favor, as it pro- are rich mostly in their labor and their vides for the man himself in old age, or homesteads, - in their earnings rather for his family in case of his death. It than their savings; and whose wealthy is also fast becoming a favorite form of classes are rich chiefly through the investment. We can show instances giddy uncertainties of speculation, — where the policy-holders have received magnificent to-day, in ruins to-morrow. a surplus above all they have paid to In a country like this, no one can estithe company, with compound interest mate the amount of comfort secured by at six per cent, and no charge what- investment in life assurance. It is the ever for expenses or cost of insurance one measure of thrift which remains meanwhile.
to atone for our extravagance in living The Term Policy, as its name im- and recklessness in trade. plies, is issued for a term of one or Henry Ward Beecher spoke wisely more years.
when he advised all men to seek life Policies are also issued on joint lives, payable at the death of the first of two “It is every man's duty to provide or more parties named in the policy; for his family. That provision must and on survivorship, payable to a party include its future contingent condition. named in case he survives another. That provision, in so far as it is mate
Some companies require all pre- rial, men ordinarily seek to secure by miums to be paid in cash, while others their own accumulations and investtake the note of the assured in part ments. But all these are uncertain. payment. These are denominated cash The man that is rich to-day, by causes and note companies, and much differ- beyond his reach is poor to-morrow. ence of opinion exists as to their com- A war in China, a revolution in Euparative merits.
rope, a rebellion in America, overrule The latter is at first sight an attrac- ten thousand fortunes in every comtive system, and its advocates present mercial community. many specious arguments in its favor. “But in life assurance there are no The friends of cash payments, however, risks or contingencies. Other investcontend that the note system is detri- ments may fail. A house may burn mental and delusive, from the fact that down. Banks may break and their these notes are liable to assessment, stock be worthless. Bonds and mortand, in case of death, to be deducted
gages may be seized for debt, and all from the amount assured ; also that property or evidences of property may the notes accumulate as the years roll fall into the bottomless gulf of bankon, the interest growing annually lar- ruptcy. But money secured to your ger, and the total cash payment con- family by life assurance will go to them sequently heavier, while the actual without fail or interruption, provided amount of assurance, that is, the dif- you have used due discretion in the ference between its nominal amount selection of a sound and honorable asand the sum of the notes, steadily less- surance company. Of two courses, one ens; and thus a provision for one's of which may leave your family destifamily gradually changes into a burden tute, and the other of which assures upon one's self.
them a comfortable support at your But whatever differences of opinion decease, can there be a doubt which may exist as to the comparative value is to be chosen ? Can there be a doubt of various systems, few will deny the about duty ? "
A DISTINGUISHED CHARACTER.
N order to prevent conjectures which IN
of admirers no doubt re
my might not be entirely pleasant to member, - I soon perceived the unone or two persons whom I have in my stable character of my reputation. I mind, I prefer to state, at once and was at the mercy of the next man who frankly, that I, Dionysius Green, am should succeed in inventing a the author of this article. It requires slang, or a funnier way of spelling. some courage to make this avowal, I These things, in literature, are like am well aware ; and I am prepared to “ fancy drinks "
among the profane. experience a rapid diminution of my They tickle the palates of the multipresent rather extensive popularity. tude for a while, but they don't wear One result I certainly foresee, namely, like the plain old beverages. I saw a great falling-off in the number of ap- very plainly, that much more was to plications for autographs ("accompa- be gained, in the long run, by plantnied with a sentiment”), which I dailying myself — not with a sudden and receive ; possibly, also, fewer invita- startling jump, but by a graceful, tions to lecture before literary societies cautious pirouette -- upon a basis of next winter. Fortunately, my recent the Moral and the Didactic. I should marriage enables me to dispense with thus reach a class of slow, but very a large portion of my popularity, with tough stomachs, which would equire out great inconvenience; or, rather, I ample time to assimilate the food I inam relieved from the very laborious tended to offer. If this were somenecessity of maintaining it in the face what crude, that would be no obof so many aggressive rivalries. jection whatever : they always mistake
The day may arrive, therefore, when their mental gripings for the process I shall cease to be a Distinguished of digestion. Why, bless your souls ! Character. Since I have admitted this I have known Tupper's “ Proverbial much, I may as well confess that my Philosophy” to fill one of them to rereputation — enviable as it may be pletion, for the space of ten years ! considered by the public — is of that I owe this resolution to my natural kind which seems to be meant to run acuteness of perception, but my sucfor a certain length of time, at the ex- cess in carrying it into execution was piration whereof it must be wound up partly the result of luck. The field, again. I was fortunate enough to dis- now occupied by such a crowd, (I name cover this secret betimes, and I have no names,) was at that time nearly since then known several amiable and clear ; and I managed to shift my cosworthy persons to slip out of sight, tume before the public fairly knew from the lack of it. There was Mr. what I was about. I found, indeed,
for example, whose comic ar- that a combination of the two styles ticles shook the fat sides of the na- enabled me to retain much of my old tion for one summer, and whose pseu- audience while acquiring the new. It donyme was in everybody's mouth. was like singing a hymn of serious Alas ! what he took for perpetual mo- admonition to a lively, rattling tune. tion was but an eight-day clock, and One is diverted: there is a present I need not call your attention to the sense of fun, while a gentle feeling of present dead and leaden stillness of its the grave truths inculcated lingers in pendulum.
one's mind afterwards. The pious can Although my earliest notoriety was find no fault with the matter, nor the achieved in very much the same way, — profane with the manner. Instead of that is, by a series of comic sketches, approaching the moral consciousness
of one's readers with stern, lugubrious I gain in sound knowledge and indecountenance, and ponderous or lamen- pendent common-sense,) I should like table voice, you make your appearance to describe, for the contemplation of with a smile and a joke, punch the future ages, some of the penalties atreader playfully in the ribs, and say, as tached to popularity at present. it were, “ Ha! ha! I've a good thing I was weak enough, I admit, to be to tell you !” Although I have many immensely delighted with the first imitators, some of whom have attained which I experienced, — not foreseeing an excellence in the art which may be whitherward they led. The timid, enconsidered classic, yet I may fairly thusiastic notes of girls of fifteen, with claim to have originated this branch of the words “sweet” and “exquisite,” literature, and, while it retains its pres. duly underscored, the letters of asent unbounded popularity, my name piring boys, enclosing specimens of cannot wholly perish.
their composition, and the touching Nevertheless, greatness has its draw- pleas of individuals of both sexes, in backs. I appeal to all distinguished reduced circumstances, were so many authors, from Tupper to Weenie Wil- evidences of success, which I hugged lows, to confirm the truth of this asser- to my bosom. Reducing the matter to tion. I have sometimes, especially of statistics, I have since ascertained that late, doubted seriously whether it is a about one in ten of these letters is dicgood thing to be distinguished. Alas! tated either by honest sympathy, the my dear young gentleman and lady, warm, uncritical recognition of youth whose albums would be so dismally in- (which I don't suppose any author complete without my autograph (“ac- would diminish, if he could), or the companied with a sentiment"), would craving for encouragement, under unthat you could taste the bitter with the propitious circumstances of growth. sweet, — the honey and aloes of an But how was I, in the beginning, to American author's life! At first, it is guess at the motives of the writers ? exceedingly pleasant. You are like a They offered sugar-plums, which I newly-hatched chicken, or a pup at the swallowed without a suspicion of the end of his nine-days' blindness. You drastic ingredients so many of them are petted, and stroked, and called sweet contained. Good Mrs. Sigourney kept names, and fed with dainties, and carried a journal of her experiences in this in the arms of the gentlemen, and cud- line. I wish I had done the same. dled in the laps of the ladies. But The young lady correspondent, I when you get to be a big dog or a full- find, in most cases replies to your regrown game-cock, take care! If peo- ply, proposing a permanent correspondple would but fancy that you still wore The young gentleman, who deyour down or silken skin, they might sires, above all things, your “candid continue to be delighted with every opinion of the poems enclosed, be gambol of your fancy. But they sus- sure and point out the faults, and how pect pin-feathers and bristles, whether they can be improved," – is highly inthe latter grow or not; and, after do- dignant when you take him at his word, ing their best to spoil you, they sud- and do so. You receive a letter of denly demand the utmost propriety of defence and explanation, showing that behavior. However, let me not antici- what you consider to be faults are not pate. I can still call myself, without such. Moreover, his friends have asthe charge of self-flattery, a Distin- sured him that the poem which you guished Character; at least I am told advise him to omit is one of his finest so, every day, each person who makes things! The distressed aspirant for the remark supposing that it is an en- literary fame, who only requests that tirely original and most acceptable com- you shall read and correct his or her pliment. While this distinction lasts, manuscript, procure a publisher, and (for I find that I lose it in proportion as prefix a commendatory notice, signed