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“A SACRED TRUST FOR THE FUTURE”: REGULATING INSURANCE, 1800–70

  • Philip Rawlings
Abstract

The history of commercial law has often been written as if it were merely a product of the common law, disregarding the role played by legislation. The principal exception to this has been work on company law. Until recently, the prevailing view has been that the Companies Acts 1844–62 represented the triumph of the free market and the expulsion of the state from business. But, although these laws did make incorporation easier and granted companies privileges, what this view ignores is that they also imposed regulation, such as obligations to register the company and charges on its assets and to hold shareholder meetings. At the forefront of these legal changes were insurance companies. Yet, in spite of the proliferation of these companies and their role in, for example, the inquiry that led to the 1844 Act, they have been neglected. This may be because, while the successful campaign in 1824 to remove restrictions on access to the marine-insurance market would seem to support the view of legislation driven by free-market ideas, that explanation seems contradicted by the closing of access to the life-assurance market and the imposition of various obligations on life offices in 1870, a time when the liberalisation of company laws seemed at their peak. Neither development can, however, be so easily explained, and both show the effect of fierce divisions within the insurance industry.

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Address for Correspondence: Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London, WC2A 3JB, UK. Email: p.rawlings@qmul.ac.uk.
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The Roy Goode Professor of Commercial Law, Queen Mary University.

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References
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1 But Hellwege, P., “A Comparative History of Insurance Law in Europe” (2016) 56 Am. J. Leg. Hist. 66; Rawlings, P.J., “What Can History Tell Us About Insurance Regulation?” in Georgosouli, A. and Goldby, M. (eds), Systemic Risk and the Future of Insurance Regulation (London 2015). This paper will not discuss industrial assurance – low premium, low benefit sickness and life policies aimed at working people and offered by friendly societies. The societies, which had been regulated since legislation in 1793, enjoyed statutory privileges, giving them competitive advantages, so life offices were vigilant to limit their field of operations (although this did not prevent commercial insurers aggressively expanding into industrial assurance from the mid-nineteenth century): Report from the Select Committee on Friendly Societies, P.P., V.295 (1852).

2 Cottrell, P.L., Industrial Finance, 1830–1914: The Finance and Organization of the English Manufacturing Industry (London 1980), 52.

3 A. Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (2005), 619–20, available at <http://eet.pixel-online.org/files/etranslation/original/The%20Wealth%20of%20Nations.pdf>; McCulloch, J.R., Considerations on Partnerships with Limited Liability (London 1856), 6.

4 HC Deb. vol. 140 col. 131 (1 February 1856).

5 O'Brien, C. and Fenn, P., “Mutual Life Insurers: Origins and Performance in Pre-1900 Britain” (2012) 54(3) Business History 325, at 326; The Insurance Register (London 1899).

6 E.g. London Assurance and Royal Exchange Assurance under the Bubble Act (6 Geo. I c.18). For other types of insurance business, see Clark, G., Betting on Lives: The Culture of Life Insurance in England 1695–1775 (Manchester 1999).

7 Smith, Wealth of Nations, pp. 619–20.

8 Freeman, M., Pearson, R. and Taylor, J., “Law, Politics and the Governance of English and Scottish Joint-Stock Companies, 1600–1850” (2013) 55(4) Business History 636, at 640. See Harris, R., Industrializing English Law: Entrepreneurship and Business Organization, 1720–1844 (Cambridge 2000).

9 Baily, F., An Account of the Several Insurance Companies Established in London (London 1811), 1920; Day, H., A Defence of Joint Stock Companies; Being An Attempt to Shew Their Legality, Expediency, and Public Benefit (London 1808), 3; Morning Chronicle, 9 January 1808.

10 The King v Dodd (1808) 9 East 516, 526, 528. Dodd's colourful life involved various unrealised engineering projects, assaulting the clerk to Colchester Water-work and bankruptcy. He died poor in 1822 after a steam engine accident.

11 Ibid., at p. 526; Kinder v Taylor, The Times, 30 March 1825; Farren, G., A Treatise on Life Assurance (London 1823), 36; First Report of the Select Committee on Joint Stock Companies, 180 (119) (1844).

12 The King v Webb (1811) 14 East 405; Blayney, F., A Practical Treatise on Life-Assurance (London 1826), 24; Van Sandau v Moore (1826) 1 Russ. 441. Also, Josephs v Pebrer (1825) 3 B. & C. 639; HL Deb., 2nd ser, vol. 13 col. 901 (27 May 1825). The House of Lords insisted companies had substantial means and struck out liability limitations in trust deeds: Wordsworth, C., The Law Relating to Railway, Bank, Insurance, Mining and Other Joint Stock Companies (London 1837), 102. For a partial list of private statutes obtained by insurance offices, see Bunyan, C., A Treatise upon the Law of Life Assurance (London 1854), 355–60.

13 Rawlings, P.J., “Bubbles, Taxes, and Interests: Another History of Insurance Law 1720–1825” (2016) 36(4) O.J.L.S. 799.

14 E.g. The Cambrian, 6 July 1805. In many ports merchants and shipowners formed mutual assurance clubs: The Cambrian, 17 August 1816.

15 39 Geo. III c. 83 (Public Local & Personal); Aberdeen Journal, 3 April 1805; HC Deb. vol. 7 cols. 812–13 (24 June 1806); Francis, J., Annals, Anecdotes and Legends: A Chronicle of Life Assurance (London 1853), 180.

16 41 Geo. III c. 57–58 (Public Local & Personal Acts); [Eden, Frederick M.], On the Policy and Expediency of Granting Insurance Charters (London 1806), 23, 96.

17 Ibid., Appendix I.

18 Commons Journal, vol. 65, 54, 56 (8 February 1810).

19 HC Deb. vol. 15 cols. 399–401 (14 February 1810). Manning spoke too quietly to be heard, so the reporter assumed he had repeated the arguments in the petitions.

20 Caledonian Mercury, 30 June 1810.

21 Marryat, J., Observations upon the Report of the Committee on Marine Insurance (London 1810), 61.

22 HC Deb. vol. 15 cols. 401–22 (14 February 1810). Only 4% of duty paid on marine policies came from the chartered companies: Select Committee on Marine Insurance: Report, P.P., IV, 226 (1810), 4–6, 119.

23 Commons Journal, vol. 65, 395 (23 May 1810), 407 (24 May 1810), 410 (31 May 1810), 446 (1 June 1810), vol. 66, 129 (28 February 1811); HC Deb. vol. 11 col. 773 (24 May 1824).

24 Select Committee on Marine Insurance: Report, 110; Lobo-Guerrero, L., Insuring War: Sovereignty, Security and Risk (London 2012), 4154; Uglow, J., In These Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon's Wars, 1793–1815 (London 2015), 356–57.

25 5 Geo. IV c. 114; The Times, 11 September 1824; Morning Post, 17 December 1824; HC Deb. vol. 11 cols. 920–33 (28 May 1824), cols. 1086–88 (3 June 1824); Francis, Annals, pp. 188–89. Buxton is commemorated by a plaque in Brick Lane, London, and a ceramic and stone confection in Victoria Tower Gardens.

26 HC Deb. vol. 11 cols. 922–23 (28 May 1824).

27 Ibid., at col. 923.

28 Ibid., at col. 1087 (3 June 1824), A. Robertson. “It was alleged Manning now opposed reform”, Morning Post, 23 July 1824.

29 Morning Post, 19 May 1824. Smith did think insurance might properly be provided by joint-stock companies because of the capital required: Smith, Wealth of Nations, p. 618.

30 Report from the Select Committee on Marine Insurance (Sess. 1810), HC 298 (11 May 1824).

31 HC Deb. vol. 11 cols. 920–33 (28 May 1824); Morning Chronicle, 19 May 1824; The Times, 17 May 1824, 19 May 1824, 21 May 1824.

32 HC Deb. vol. 11 col. 772 (17 May 1824).

33 6 Geo. IV c. 91 (1825).

34 English, H., A Complete View of the Joint Stock Companies (London 1827). Of course, this number did not include mutual societies.

35 Taylor, J., Creating Capitalism: Joint-Stock Enterprises in British Politics and Culture, 1800–1870 (Woodbridge 2006), 109–21.

36 Josephs (1825) 3 B. & C. 639, 644. For Eldon's criticism of the judicial interpretation of the act: The Times, 30 March 1825; HL Deb. vol. 13 col. 901 (27 May 1825).

37 HC Deb. vol. 13 col. 1019 (2 June 1825). But see HC Deb. vol. 14 col. 646 (21 February 1826).

38 Large parts of the act dealing with Royal Exchange and London Assurance were unaffected.

39 The Speeches of the Right Honourable William Huskisson (London 1831), vol. II, 261; HC Deb. vol. 13 col. 1021 (2 June 1825).

40 HL Deb. vol. 13 col.1350 (24 June 1825). Eldon's proposed clause declaring the common law unaltered was rejected as unnecessary: Blayney, Practical Treatise, p. 33. See Kinder v Taylor, John Bull, 4 April 1825; Duvergier v Fellows (1828) 5 Bing. 248, 266.

41 Kynaston, D., The City of London: Volume I: A World of Its Own 1815–1890 (London 1994), 139.

42 “Assurance and Insurance”, London Saturday Review, 31 August 1839.

43 (1839) 64 London Quarterly Review 284, 303.

44 Ibid., at pp. 303, 307.

45 Ibid., at p. 290. See Taylor, J., “Numbers, Character and Trust in Early Victorian Britain: The Independent West Middlesex Fire and Life Assurance Company Fraud” in Taylor, J. (ed.), Statistics and The Public Sphere (London 2011); Taylor, J., Boardroom Scandal: The Criminalization of Company Fraud in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Oxford 2013), 7078.

46 Morning Chronicle, 6 October 1838: the statutes concerned insurable interest, annuities, stamp duty and banking.

47 Francis, Annals, p. 236n.

48 Eight libel actions were begun: Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords Appointed to Consider the Law of Defamation and Libel, P.P., V, 513 (1843), 150.

49 Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, 24 January 1841; The Times, 21 January 1841, 28 January 1841, 19 February 1841, 18 March 1841, 8 March 1845; Taylor, J., “Criminalising Fraud: Victorian Responses to Company Scandals” (2011) 32 Company Lawyer 291, 292. For civil actions, see The Times, 8 March 1845.

50 MacKay, C., Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (London 1841); Thackeray, W.M., The History of Samuel Titmarsh and The Great Hoggarty Diamond (London 1841) (see The Times, 9 December 1853, letter from P. Laurie); Dickens, C., The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (London 1843–44). See Pugsley, D., “Sham Insurance Companies: Dickens, Thackeray, and the West Middlesex Company in Devon, 1837–1841” (1993) 23 B.L.J. 43.

51 The Times, 16 December 1841.

52 Trewman's Exeter Flying Post, 4 February 1841.

53 E.g. The Times, 3 August 1840; Trewman's Exeter Flying Post, 16 July 1840. See Asquith, I., “Advertising and the Press in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries” (1975) 18 Historical Journal 703.

54 Taylor, J., “Watchdogs or Apologists? Financial Journalism and Company Fraud in Early Victorian Britain” (2012) 85 Historical Research 632, 643.

55 Ibid.

56 The Satirist, 7 June 1846. See its criticism of supporters of new offices: 17 February 1849.

57 Ibid., 3 May 1840.

58 Anon., Observations, Cautionary and Recommendatory, on Life-Assurance (London 1841), 15.

59 Taylor, Boardroom Scandal, p. 76.

60 HC Deb. vol. 57 col. 842 (2 April 1841); Taylor, Creating Capitalism, pp. 135–43.

61 HC Deb. vol. 76 col. 278 (3 July 1844), J. Parker.

62 First Report of the Select Committee on Joint Stock Companies, P.P., XI, 119 (1844), q.2133, John Duncan.

63 Ibid., p. xi.

64 These provisions did not affect pre-1844 companies.

65 The Times, 10 January 1851.

66 Harrison v Heathorn (1843) 6 M. & G. 81; Garrard v Hardey, (1843) 5 M. & G. 471.

67 Assurance Companies. Abstract of Return to an Order of the Honourable The House of Commons, P.P., L, 272 (1849); The Times, 26 October 1849.

68 Report from the Select Committee on Assurance Associations, P.P., XXI, 965 (1852–53), 262–69; R. v Whitmarsh, The Times 18 February 1850; In Re Sea, Fire, and Life Insurance Company, ex parte Greenwood, ibid., 26 January 1854; Report by the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, P.P., LII, 224 (1850), 1; National Archives, BT 41/623/3398. See also The Times, 28 November 1849, 30 November 1849, 1 December 1849.

69 Manchester Times, 12 May 1852.

70 Quoted in Ogborn, M.E., The Story of Life Assurance in the Experience of the Equitable Life Assurance Society 1762–1962 (London 1962), 236.

71 A.M., “The Life Assurance Controversy” (1853) 3(3) Assurance Magazine 216.

72 Ibid., at pp. 216–19; Life Assurance in England” (1852) 2(2) Assurance Magazine 171; Brown, S., “On the Sufficiency of the Existing Companies for the Business of Life Assurance” (1854) 4(1) Assurance Magazine 10.

73 Klaus, I., Forging Capitalism: Rouges, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance (New Haven and London 2014), 135; Christie, R., Letter to The Right Hon. Joseph W. Henley, M.P., Regarding Life Assurance Institutions (London 1852). Also, Hartnill, J.H., Letter of J. Hooper Hartnill, Editor of the Post Magazine, to the Rt. Hon. E. Cardwell, M.P., President of the Board of Trade (London 1852).

74 Thomson, W.T., On the Present Position of the Life Assurance Interests of Great Britain (London 1852).

75 A.M., “Life Assurance Controversy”, pp. 216–19; “Life Assurance in England”, p. 172; Brown, “On the Sufficiency of the Existing Companies”, p. 14. Chartered companies were typically obliged by the foundation statutes to maintain “a stock of ready money” to meet claims, but there were no enforcement mechanisms: Bubble Act 1720, s. 3, and Globe Act 1799 (39 Geo. III, c. 83 (Public Local & Personal)), s. 5.

76 The Sunday Times, 10 April 1853.

77 Ibid.

78 Ibid., 5 December 1852: Strousberg, B.H., Conspiracy Detected, in a Letter to the Right Hon. J.W. Henley, Esq. M.P. (London 1852).

79 The Sunday Times, 17 October 1852.

80 Ibid., 5 December 1852. This newspaper acknowledged the difficulty of discovering information about the offices: 28 December 1851.

81 Ibid., 5 December 1852.

82 Strousberg, Conspiracy Detected, p. 24.

83 The Sunday Times, 10 March 1850.

84 Strousberg was involved in various doubtful life offices. In relation to one, the magistrate, Sir Peter Laurie, warned: “There were a great many of those companies that required looking after” (The Times, 28 March 1854, 10 May 1854). Strousberg later became a railway entrepreneur, whose bankruptcy almost crashed Russian and German money markets: Hunt, R., The Amazing Dr Strousberg: The European Railway King (Tadcaster 2010). See also, the defence of Sea, Fire by its actuary, Burt, A., Life Assurance. Validity and Non-Validity of Life Polices (London [1849]). Burt became manager of Householders’ Life Assurance, and National Credit and Exchange: The Times, 9 April 1852, 31 October 1861.

85 The Sunday Times, 17 October 1852.

86 Manchester Times, 18 December 1852.

87 The Era, 1 October 1848

88 HC Deb. vol. 124 cols. 1323–24 (8 March 1853).

89 Ibid., at col. 1322. Sotherton estimated funds at £350 million: ibid., at col. 1332.

90 This was not always the case since life policies might be annually renewable.

91 Ibid., at col. 1321.

92 Ibid., at col. 1331, J. Hume.

93 Sunday Times, 10 April 1853, 16 October 1853, 18 March 1855.

94 Select Committee on Assurance Associations, at p. 270.

95 Ibid., at p. 100.

96 Ibid., at p. 112.

97 Ibid., at p. iv.

98 Ibid.

99 Ibid., at p. iii.

100 Ibid., at p. vii.

101 Sunday Times, 18 March 1855.

102 Income Tax Acts 1853 (16 & 17 Vict. c. 34, c. 91); Succession Duty Act 1853 (16 & 17 Vict. c. 51); Sunday Times, 16 October 1853. There was also relief under the Stamp Act 1853.

103 HC Deb. vol. 140 col. 1951 (6 March 1856).

104 Ibid., at cols. 132–33 (1 February 1856).

105 Ibid., at col. 339 (29 June 1855).

106 Legislation in 1857 (20 & 21 Vict. c. 80) revived the 1844 Act (which had been repealed by the Companies Act 1856) for insurance companies: Wordsworth, C., The New Joint Stock Company Law (London 1858), 98.

107 There were other insurance provisions in this act: e.g. s.44, Sch. D.

108 Sunday Times, 8 May 1859.

109 O'Brien and Fenn, “Mutual Life Insurers”, p. 327.

110 The Times, 31 August 1863 (see Wolley v Pole, The Times, 21 August 1863, 26 August 1863, 31 August 1863). Also The Times, 10 March 1846; Burt, Life Assurance, p. 4.

111 Manchester Times, 28 July 1852; Robertson, A., Defects in the Practice of Life Assurance, and Suggestions for Their Remedy (London 1848); note in (1850) 14 The Jurist 324; Law v The London Indisputable Life Policy Co. (1855) 1 K. & J. 223. The office lost the action and was later acquired by Eagle. Also The Examiner, 11 January 1845 (London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Life Assurance) and for an attempt to legislate to this effect, see Walford, C., “History of Life Assurance in the United Kingdom” (1886–87) 26 Journal of the Institute of Actuaries and Assurance Magazine 436, 440.

112 John Bull, 30 April 1869; The Times, 12 May 1869; The Sunday Times, 15 August 1869.

113 Alborn, T.L., “The First Fund Managers: Life Insurance Bonuses in Victorian Britain” (2002) 45 Victorian Studies 67, 8283; Insurance Register 1869, pp. 25, 28.

114 Insurance Register 1869, p. 28. Although the European was founded in 1819, a new office emerged after amalgamation with The People's Provident in 1858 and rapid expansion followed: Pall Mall Gazette, 25 August 1869; Liverpool Mercury, 19 November 1869; Alborn, T.L., Regulated Lives: Life Insurance and British Society, 1800–1914 (Toronto 2009), 6063; The Times, 20 January 1872.

115 The Sunday Times, 29 August 1869; Insurance Register (1869), pp. 11, 13. For higher estimates, see HC Deb. vol. 199 col. 724 (23 February 1870).

116 Sunday Times, 10 April 1853.

117 The Times, 31 August 1869.

118 S. Smiles, “Life Assurance Companies”, Quarterly Review 18, 27, 29 (January 1870); The Times, 14 August 1873.

119 Morning Post, 3 April 1869; Insurance Register (1869), p.15.

120 Insurance Register (1869); The Times, 18 September 1879. Some offices were traded on: e.g. Beacon was acquired by Times Fire and then sold to Albert Life: Sunday Times, 28 December 1856.

121 Liverpool Mercury, 16 April 1858; The Times, 5 October 1859, 11 October 1859.

122 The Sunday Times, 7 October 1860.

123 Ibid., 7 October 1860. But, for an advertisement celebrating this amalgamation, see ibid., 3 February 1861.

124 HC Deb. vol. 173 col. 1570 (7 March 1864).

125 HC Deb. vol. 174 col. 789 (11 April 1864), Ayrton. Gladstone introduced the Government Annuities Act 1865 to compete with industrial assurance companies and friendly societies, but it failed, mainly because it did not employ door-to-door agents, which the companies used to persuade people to take out policies and maintain premium payments.

126 Insurance Register (1869), p. 20.

127 The deed of settlement might require consent: Kearns v Leaf (1862) 1 H. & M. 681. Also (1872) 16 Solic. J. & Rep. 342

128 In re European Life Assurance Society (No. 1) (1869) L.R. 9 Eq. 122, 128. Also Francis, Annals, p. 258. Bunyon, C.J., On Liquidation of an Insolvent Life Office (London 1870).

129 The Times, 21 August 1869.

130 In re Family Endowment Society (1869) 5 Ch. App. 118; HC Deb. vol. 199 col. 722 (23 February 1870).

131 These arbitrations did not entirely stop litigation: The Times, 18 September 1879; Lobban, M., “Cutting the Gordian Knot? Arbitration and Company Insolvency in the 1870s” in Dyson, M. and Ibbetson, D. (eds.), Law and Legal Process: Substantive Law and Procedure in English Legal History (Cambridge 2013).

132 The Times, 14 August 1873.

133 35 & 36 Vict. c. 41, s. 7.

134 The Times, 28 August 1869.

135 Ibid., 19 August 1869.

136 HC Deb. vol. 198 col. 324 (20 July 1869), vol. 199 cols. 728–29 (23 February 1870). Illness allegedly prevented Cave carrying the first Bill forward: The Times, 2 September 1869. Since this was not a government measure, the recently formed Office of the Parliamentary Counsel was not involved in the drafting: National Archives, BT AM 3/13.

137 HC Deb. vol. 199 col. 726 (23 February 1870).

138 Ibid., at col. 721 (23 February 1870)

139 Ibid., at col. 727. See also Life Assurance Companies: Their Financial Condition Discussed, with Reference to Impending Legislation (London 1869), 12.

140 Life Assurance Companies Act 1870, s. 3. Also Life Assurance Companies Act 1872, s. 1. Large foreign offices, which already had premiums above £40,000, were required to pay the deposit and immediately reclaim it.

141 HC Deb. vol. 202 col. 1171 (29 June 1870).

142 National Archives, BT 15/24 (F3170/1885).

143 Also Life Assurance Companies Act 1872, s. 2.

144 For an alternative but apparently unused route, see Joint-Stock Companies Arrangement Act 1870, s. 2; Sovereign Life v Dodd [1892] Q.B. 405; [1892] 2 Q.B. 573; MacGillivray, E.J., Insurance Law Relating to All Risks Other than Marine (London 1912), ch. 1.

145 Opinion of the Attorney General (1874), National Archives, BT 15/10 (F12976/1874).

146 Alborn, Regulated Lives, p. 65. Sprague wrote a key study on mortality rates, Select Life Tables Deduced from the Institute of Actuaries’ Experience (London 1869) (known as the “Twenty Offices Table”), and another on life office accounts, A Treatis on Life Insurance Accounts [sic] (London 1874) (he also promoted an alternative spelling method).

147 Alborn, “First Fund Managers”, p. 85.

148 The Life Assurance Companies Act, 1870” (1870) 16(1) Journal of the Institute of Actuaries and Assurance Magazine 1.

149 The Times, 2 April 1869 (British Imperial), 14 June 1869 (Northern Assurance).

150 The Times, 20 January 1872, 14 March 1872; HC Deb. vol. 217 col. 657 (21 July 1873).

151 Life Assurance Companies. Report by Mr. Malcolm and Mr. Hamilton, Assistant Secretaries to the Board of Trade, P.P., LV, 275 (1874), 8.

152 HC Deb. vol. 199 col. 729 (23 February 1870). Fraudulent Trustees Act 1857, passed after bank failures, criminalised breaches of trust by directors and managers, but prosecutions were rare.

153 Pall Mall Gazette, 2 November 1871; Morning Post, 3 November 1871, 27 November 1871, 8 March 1872, 25 August 1875; Lloyd's Weekly, 14 May 1876. For someone launching a life office under a changed name to conceal a conviction, see Report from the Select Committee on Assurance Associations, p. 270.

154 Unusually, the Treasury solicitor conducted the prosecution: The Times, March–June 1878; Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org), trial of Wood (May 1878); Taylor, Boardroom Scandal, pp. 170–73, 175–76. For a similar fraud at Manchester Provident, see Lloyd's Weekly, 1 August 1875. For the imprisonment of William White for insurance fraud, see Manchester Guardian, 5 December 1868, 23 June 1870.

155 The Times, 10 June 1878.

156 Morning Post, 1 August 1868, 19 August 1868, 25 August 1868; The Times, 15 May 1869.

157 Industrial assurance offices did fail in the interim.

158 Six new offices were established in the first 13 years of the act: Walford, “History of Life Assurance”, p. 460. Also Insurance Register (1869), The Insurance Register (London 1899).

159 HC Deb. vol, 202 col. 741 (29 June 1870), G.B. Gregory.

160 Insurance Register (London 1893).

161 Turnbull, C., A History of British Actuarial Thought (London 2007).

162 HC Deb. vol. 199 col. 752 (23 February 1870).

163 He may also have considered the failure of Gladstone's scheme for low benefit, low premium policies to rival those offered by friendly societies and industrial assurance companies: Government Annuities Act 1865.

164 Letter from W. Clarke, 14 September 1874, National Archive, BT 15/10 (F10563/74).

165 Ibid.

166 Ibid.

167 This (like s. 3 of the 1870 Act) required the Board lay before Parliament statements received even if, “the Board are of opinion that that it is not such a statement or abstract as is required to be prepared by that Act”.

168 Opinion of the Attorney General (1874), National Archives, BT 15/10 (F12976/1874).

169 E.g. Statements and Abstracts Deposited with the Board of Trade, under the Life Assurance Companies Act, 1870, P.P., LV.15 (1874), 349–53.

170 Rawlings, “What Can History Tell Us About Insurance Regulation?”.

171 The state also intervened through stamp duty which influenced transactions as insurers sought to minimise tax burdens: Rawlings, “Bubbles, Taxes, and Interests”.

172 See Gladstone's criticism of this practice: HC Deb. vol. 76 col. 273 (3 July 1844).

* The Roy Goode Professor of Commercial Law, Queen Mary University.

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