§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that for the year 1924 the industrial assurance companies and societies collected from the people about 46 millions of money, and in return only gave back in benefits something like 15¼ millions; that in addition to a balance of over £30,000,000 out of the premiums collected they had an income of over £10,000,000 as interest and dividends on investments; that during the last five years they had collected about £135,000 per day and have returned only £42,000 per day, thus retaining for themselves £ 3,000 for every working day during these years; that out of the money thus obtained the shareholders of one company divided 17,000 per cent. on the capital actually paid in, and several other companies paid dividends on the capital paid in from 300 per cent. to 500 per cent.; and that during 1924 for every working day 23,000 policies lapsed, the holders of which lost every penny paid in premiums, although many of these holders paid premiums for anything up to 30 or 40 years; and whether the Government will cause an inquiry to be held into the system of industrial assurance methods in this country?
§ Mr. RONALD McNEILL
In the year 1924, according to the returns furnished by the industrial assurance companies and collecting societies their premium income was, in round figures, £42,000,000 and their income from investments £8,000,000. They paid in benefits £16,000,000, and their expenses were £16,000,000. The hon. Member appears to regard everything which was not paid out in benefits as retained for the concerns themselves, but he forgets that every insurance concern has to accumulate a reserve to meet future claims—this is the essence of insurance—and the sum so accumulated during the year was £16,500,000. The balance therefore remaining amounted to £1,500,000. No materials are available for estimating what percentage this represents on "capital actually paid in," if by that the hon. Member means capital subscribed in cash. As to the remainder of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. and learned Member for South-West Hull (Mr. Grotrian) on the 18th February.