HC Deb 12 November 1940 vol 365 cc1580-1
53. Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is now prepared either to guarantee insurance companies against loss if they offer a fair rate for air-raid life insurance, or alternatively, will inaugurate a totalisator or pool assurance retaining a percentage for expenses, in view of the fact that far larger benefits would be paid, and that it is just as important for the breadwinner to be able to insure his life as his property?

55. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take immediate steps to obtain an actuarial calculation, based on the mortality figures from air raids for the 12 months from 1st November, 1939, to 1st November, 1940, with a view to facilitating members of the general public being able effectively to insure their lives at a reasonable premium, since the present rates of the insurance companies do not appear to be based on any actuarial calculation?

Sir K. Wood

As I have already stated, there are many difficulties in adopting the exact suggestions of my hon. Friends, and I could not recommend their adoption. The Government have, however, had this whole question under consideration, and I hope to be able to make an announcement at an early date.

Mr. De la Bère

Will my right hon. Friend really get the life offices and the insurance companies together and inform them that the rates that have been charged are absolutely unjustified; and is he aware that the public ought not to be exploited during the war? How can it be said that the insurance companies are taking part in the total effort when they are behaving in this way?

Sir J. Lucas

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is 100 per cent. difference between the various companies giving premiums, and that also football pools are stepping into what they imagine to be a very profitable market?

Sir K. Wood

I would ask my hon. and gallant Friend to await the statement that I am to make on the matter.

Mr. Stokes

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why, if it is possible for insurance companies to make the necessary calculations, it is impossible for the Government to do so?

Sir K. Wood

I have not said so, but my hon. and gallant Friend has pointed out the difficulties and discrepancies that have already arisen.