HC Deb 24 November 1909 vol 13 cc265-8

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

The expression "chairman" means the person for the time being presiding over the board of directors or other governing body of the assurance company:

The expression "policy" includes any instrument, evidencing a contract of insurance:

The expression "policy holder" means the person who for the time being is the legal holder of the policy for securing the contract with the assurance company:

The expression "underwriter" includes any person named in a policy or other contract of insurance as liable to pay or contribute towards the payment of the sum secured by such policy or contract:

The expression "financial year" means each period of twelve months at the end of which the balance of the accounts of the assurance company is struck, or if no such balance is struck, then the calendar year:

The expression "Court" means the High Court of Justice in England, except that in the case of an assurance company registered or having its head office in Ireland it means, in the provisions of this Act other than those relating to deposits, the High Court of Justice in Ireland, and in the case of an assurance company registered or having its head office in Scotland it means, in the provisions of this Act other than those relating to deposits, the Court of Session, in either division thereof:

The expression "Companies Acts" includes the Companies Consolidation Act, 1908, and any enactment repealed by that Act:

The expression "registrar" means the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies:

The expression "actuary" means an actuary possessing such qualifications as may be prescribed by rules made by the Board of Trade:

The expression "Gazette" means the London, Edinburgh, or Dublin "Gazette," as the case may be.


proposed to leave out the second paragraph, "The expression 'policy' includes any instrument evidencing a contract of insurance."

The object is to exclude reinsurance companies from the scope of the Bill. It is not necessary that they should be included, as they do not have any contact with the public. They deal solely with other insurance companies, and have not the same incentive for escaping the provisions of the Bill. We have been anxious not to unduly widen the scope of the Bill, and I have come to the conclusion that the inclusion of these reinsurance companies is not necessary in the public interest.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give the Committee the name of one or two of these reinsurance companies? I am not aware of any company which confines itself to re-insurance. I know that companies reinsure between each other, and that that is a fruitful way of increasing their business; but I am not acquainted with any company which exists solely for the purpose for reinsuring risks.


I have to thank the President of the Board of Trade for moving this Amendment, which is similar to one of which I had given notice. I do not think it necessary to add any words to what he has advanced in support of it. In reply to the hon. Member for Central Hull, I can assure him that many such companies do exist, and that they are highly prosperous companies.


Will the hon. Member name one or two?


No, Sir; but I would be prepared to give the hon. Gentleman particulars of some of them. This Amendment protects British re-insurance companies from being in a worse position than foreign re-insurance companies undertaking this business in this country.


Will not the effect of the Amendment be that an insurance company not doing any direct business in this country will be enabled to come in and take part in this reinsurance business without making provision for security of any sort or kind?


The Board of Trade do not know of any company which does only reinsurance business. But we are told that there are such companies. The hon. Member has asked whether a foreign company doing general business outside this country can come here merely for the purpose of doing reinsurance business. If we were to assume such a case I think it would be no exaggeration to say that such a company doing that class of business would not be called a reinsurance company.


These re-insurance companies have to be and are registered at the Board of Trade in the same way as any direct insurance company. To my knowledge there are a number registered.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.


proposed, in lieu of the paragraph left out, to insert the words "the expression 'annuities on human life' does not include, superannuation allowances and annuities payable out of any fund applicable solely to the relief and maintenance of persons engaged or who have been engaged in any particular profession, trade, or employment, or of the dependents of such persons." This Amendment has been brought forward in view of some disquiet felt by Scottish companies. The Bill, as a matter of fact, makes no change in the law in regard to these questions, but the Amendment may remove any doubts that have arisen.

7.0 P.M.

Further Amendment proposed: At end of paragraph commencing "the Expression 'Court,'" to leave out the words "other than those relating to deposits."—[Mr. Mooney.]

Question, "That those words stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.