HL Deb 28 March 1876 vol 228 cc690-1

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, the object of the measure was to cure a grievance to which merchants and shippers were at present exposed. Sea insurance policies required to be stamped; but should there be a mistake, and the policy be insufficiently stamped, there was no remedy—no additional stamp could afterwards be added, and the policy was void. This was a great hardship to merchants and shippers, because before the policy was signed, it was often difficult to avoid mistakes as to the requisite amount of stamp duty. If the insurers insured insufficiently they were subject to loss, which it was the very object of insurance to avoid; and if they insured too heavily they exposed themselves to the charge of having done so with a fraudulent design. A case of very remarkable hardship had recently come before the Court of Queen's Bench. A merchant of the City had sent out a freight made up of several distinct parcels, and had insured the aggregate value; but it appeared, on loss, that the stamp divided over the several interests fell short by the sum of 4s. of what the amount of stamps would have been had the interests been insured severally. The Court, with very great reluctance, was compelled to give judgment against the insurers. This Bill was intended to remedy that injustice. Its leading provision was that in future a policy of sea insurance by which the separate and distinct interests of two or more persons were insured, being stamped in respect of the aggregate of such interests, but not duly stamped in respect of each of such interests, might be stamped with an additional stamp or stamps at any time within one month after the last risk had been declared. The Bill had also a general provision applicable to policies of sea insurance, that they might be legally stamped after execution, on payment of a penalty of £100. The Bill would inflict no injury upon the reve- nue, and had received the assent of the other House of Parliament.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Carlingford.)


said, that the noble Lord had accurately described the grievance which the Bill was intended to remedy, and the mode in which the remedy was to be applied. The Bill had passed through the other House after some Amendments, introduced on the Motion of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who gave his full sanction to the proposals, and he believed that if it received the sanction of their Lordships 'House it would prove to be very useful legislation on the subject with which it dealt.

Motion agreed to:—Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.