3 MAY 1940, Page 31



220TH ANNUAL GENERAL COURT THE two hundred and twentieth annual general Court of the Royal Exchange Assurance was held on May 1st at the Royal Exchange, London.

Lord Bicester (the Governor) in the course of his speech, said: In the Life Department total sums assured after deduction of reinsurances amounted to L2,965,00o. The premium income of the Department was f.,1,388,000, and the Life Assurance Fund now amounts to £14,571,000, an increase of nearly £45i5,000 for the year.

Few of us would have cared to hazard a guess at the possible extent of casualties among the civilian population from air attack, in the event of the outbreak of a major European war. As far as I know, general opinion would have placed them at a high figure. It seemed at first sight, therefore, that a risk of such potential magnitude, while included under the terms of life policies already issued, could not be included in new policies that would be taken out after war commenced, without some additional premium being added. While we appreciate that it is a decision that must be subject to review from time to time, the "Royal Exchange" has decided for the present to include this risk for approved civilian lives at the normal rate of premium, and in so doing has, I think, extended a facility of great service to the general public.

The results of our Fire Department show a total underwriting profit for the year of £147,000. With the addition of 1.,44,000, being net interest received, there has been transferred to the general profit and loss account L192,00o. Throughout the whole of the year, and certainly after the outbreak of hostilities, fire insurance business was confronted with questions of the utmost importance.

ACCIDENT DEPARTMENT Despite a slightly lower premium income, the underwriting profit of the Accident Department was £120,000—a record figure for this

department—against L55,000 for the previous year. Together with

net interest, the amount transferred to profit and loss account is k155,000. This represents a much higher ratio of profit than our accident business is accustomed to yield, and there are two main reasons for this satisfactory result. The Corporation has for some time been concentrating on improving the quality of our overseas and foreign accident business, and the result of these efforts has coincided with a good year in the Home markets. The decrease in the premium income is in some respects due to a pruning of the account, but it also foreshadows a falling off of motor car insurance owing to cars being laid up, because of the rationing of petrol, the increased taxation, and through general war conditions. Claims in respect of motor car business are likely to show some increase due to the larger number of accidents which have unfortunately occurred during the black-out periods, but it is as yet too early for either of these factors to be fully reflected, at any rate in the figures which are before you today. The Group; as a whole, has again experienced a very excellent year's trading, and we have. I feel, every cause for satisfactim in the steady progress that is being maintained throughout our organ- isation, and at the continually mounting figure of our assets, which in a combined total for the Royal Exchange Group now exceeds thirty-three and a quarter million pounds. In any normal year I would be prepared to suggest that we might look forward to this steady arithmetical progress. But we are meeting here today under no ordinary conditions. Our country is again at war, against the same relentless, but, if possible, more unscrupulous foe. The future, therefore, must of necessity hold many uncertainties for us and in many ways our business progress may for a time be impeded. The report was unanimously adopted.