§ Mr. GINNELL
asked whether it is with the knowledge and sanction of the President of the Board of Trade that officials of the Board of Trade examine companies' documents deposited in pursuance of Statue solely for technical correctness for purposes of filing, and without regard to the safety of the public which Parliament intended the filing to subserve; if he will ascertain and state whether the growing practice of the same set of persons running several kinds of insurance companies concurrently is in the public interest or ought to be checked by the Board or by Parliament, if necessary; whether the National Protector Insurance Company and the Law Integrity Insurance Company are run by members of the group who victimised people in Ireland through the Irish Provident Assurance Company; seeing that they have not published either their balance sheets or their revenue and expenditure accounts corresponding to their last annual report, whether he will state, from the copies of those documents lodged with the Board of Trade, the real as distinguished from the paper liabilities, and the real as distinguished from the paper assets, of those two concerns together or separately; and whether the Board has, and will exercise, power to require such companies to publish documents revealing their true financial condition?
If the hon. Member refers to the documents deposited with the Board of Trade in accordance with the requirements of the Assurance Companies Act, 1909, I may inform him that these documents are carefully examined by the officials of the Board of Trade with a view to insuring that they are accurate and 1583 complete. I am not aware that the practice of several insurance companies being controlled by one group of persons is increasing, and I do not consider it necessary to introduce legislation dealing with the subject. The directors of the National Protector Insurance Company, Limited, and the Law Integrity Insurance Company, Limited, are not the same as the late directors of the Irish Provident Assurance Company, Limited, although the managing director of the first two mentioned companies was chairman and managing director of the Irish Provident Assurance Company, Limited, about seven years ago. Returns under the Assurance Companies Act, 1909, have been lodged with the Board of Trade disclosing the financial position of the National Protector Insurance Company, Limited, and the Law Integrity Insurance Company, Limited, and when these returns have been examined and accepted by the Board they will be open to inspection; but I am not prepared to distinguish in an answer between what are referred to as real and paper assets and liabilities. I shall, however, be glad to send the hon. Member copies of the returns which have been lodged by the two companies as soon as they have been accepted by the Board of Trade, if he would like to have them.
§ Mr. GINNELL
I would like to have the documents. Will the hon. Gentleman, if he finds out that these documents are irregular, call the attention of the Public Prosecutor to them?