NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY.
ANNUAL MEETING. The annual meeting of the National Insurance Company was held this afternoon, when Mr J. M. Ritchie (chairman of directors) presided, and there were about thirty other shareho dera present. REPORT AND BALANCE-SHEET. The Chairman, ia moving the adoption of the report and balance-sheet, which have been previously published, said he-was very pleased to meet the shareholders after the interval that had elapsed since last meeting, and also to be able to give a very satisfactory account of the affairs of the company. They would see from the figures that the 'iifference between the exhibit this year and last year was very small indeed. The income was vry much the same as before. It was thought at one time that the losses would show to be very heavy this year. They were very numerous for several months, but fortunately they had had some good settlements of losses, whim had been provided for last year, which helped them to meet the losses here referred to at the beginning of this year, and the last two months had been very free from losses, consequently they came out a good deal better than was expected. Considering the experience of thelastthreeor four year.', he thought that this was a sure indication of tho quality of the business they were doing. The business varied little now, and the net result generally came out very close one year with another. There was one point he might mention before going from this subject, and it was the only unsatisfactory one he had to refer to. That was that the local premiums were very stationary. He would like very much to see these grow a little faster than they were doing. They must not let them grow by taking risks that were rash or imprudent, but they ought to keep growing with the natural expansion of the colony. That, of course, had been small during recent years, and was, perhaps, the reason why the income was stationary. Their income was good, for they got it almost direct from those who insured their own property. They got very little business second-hand, through other companies'. The shareholders had a good deal in their own hands. There were 700 shareholders, and they could reckon for themselves what tho effect would be if they were all on an average able to bring £lO or £2O in premiums to the office each year. It would help the offica materially and also help the profits. He knew shareholders would always give the National Insurance Office first chance, but there were others who would not do so. All other circumstances being equal, it was fair that they should bear in mind the company in which they had their money. In connection with the profit and loss account there wa? only one item he would speak of, and that was the loss of £968 17s 4d on realisation of mortgages. Thi3 arose through the wiping out of the books of six small mortgages. Tho interest upon them had been paid fairly well until recently, but they showed signs of weakness, and the directors saw a chance of getting rid of them at a little less than their full value, and they took advantage of the opportunity. That was the course they had always followed, and he hoped that the shareholders would admit that it was the most satisfactory way of treating these ca3es. Great difficulty" had been experienced in lending money. They had been holding back from taking any recurities which were questionable, and therefore had had difficulty in getting money placed. Since the balance, however, they had got a vtry good security for £B,OOO, but they had to take 4i per cent. oiit. The effect of thi*, and also having money on deposit and at short call, was marked on the amount of interest which came into the credit of the profit and loss aicount. This sum was nearly £BOO less this year than ever it had been before. He trusted that this was the lowest point at which they would see it for some years to come Low interest was good for many people, but on the whole it showed a want of enterprise or mistrust of things in the colony when people seeied to b3 so chary about putting money into any but tho very sifest concerns. Regarding the 4£ per cent, loan he had just refe.red to, there was just this to be said about it: that it was 50 per cent, better than the present bank rate of iuterest, and, looking at it in that way, there wa3 some reason for its not being higher than it was. The appropriation for losses unpaid was less tban last year, chiefly because of the immunity fiom tosses. It was, however, very full for ail that, and indeed he might say in confidence that Mr Williams always balanced very much against the year's work, and the directors never interfered with him. He (Mr Williams) always liked to see everything in that he knew of. He did not think it was necessary to say anything about Government legislation. There was no appeirance of the Government having looked into the matter so closely as to have satisfied themselves of the propriety or possibility of carrying through their scheme. If they had dons so they probably -would have found that it was neither possible nor desirable. The National Inßuranca Company assets n ere represented by thoroughly solid securities and good property, and even if the worst came to the worst they would not suffer. The staff had been most energetic, as they always had Men, in the interests of the company during the year, and the directors had every reason to be sati fled with the manner in which they had worked. During the last month the directors had scrutinised every sing!e security the company possessed, and had ccme to the conclusion that it would be difficult to imagine them better or safer. With these remarks he would move—"l hat the balance-theet and the profit and loss accounts as presented be approved, and that the dividend of 91 per share, making a total of Is 6d per share for the whole year, be confirmed." Mr A. Cameron seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously. COMPLIMENTARY. On the motion cf Mr R. Watson a unanimous vote of thanks was accorded to the directors and staff. ELECTION OF DIRECTORS. Messrs R. Glendining, B. Hallenstein, and T. W. Kempthorne were re-el- cted directors. AUDIT OES. The retiring auditors (Messrs Thomas Callender and A. G. Fenwick) were re-elected.
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NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY., Evening Star, Issue 10474, 18 November 1897