Boiler Insurance and Steam Power Company

Boiler Insurance and Steam Power Company, 2, West Regent Street.—

    Insurance against risk of all kinds is now so prevalent and, in view of the large interests often involved, so necessary, that the raison d'etre of the Boiler Insurance and Steam Power Company (Limited) is at once obvious. Users of machinery, especially steam machinery,, are particularly liable to break-down or accident. It is here that the Boiler Insurance, &c., Company comes to their assistance. It provides for the insurance of engines against break-down, the insurance and inspection of steam-engines and boilers, and also for the insurance of lives in manner suited to meet liability under the “Employers’ Liability Act of 1880”. The company was established in Manchester, where the chief office is situated, in 1859. It has a branch office in London, and another at 2, West Regent Street, Glasgow. This latter was opened about 1864. The capital of the company is £250,000, and both the directors and officers are well known in the mercantile and engineering world.

    The company have now some 22,000 boilers, &c., under supervision, and have experienced and well-qualified inspectors residing in all the principal districts where steam power is used. The insurance of a boiler covers damage to the boiler from explosion or collapse of flue, also damage to surrounding property of whatever description. It covers also claims for personal injuries, whether under the “Employers’ Liability Act” or at common law, resulting from the explosion of the boiler or the collapse of flue. The company also undertakes the responsibility of the insured under the “Boiler Explosions Act of 1882”. The compensation is due to the insured in the event of a collapse of flue or explosion of the boiler, from whatever cause those accidents may arise, provided only, that the accident is not brought about by overloading of the safety valves or by the wilful, and consequently criminal act, of the insured.

    Another branch of the company’s business is the inspection and insurance of engines against breakdown. Every engine insured is regularly inspected by experienced officers of the company, and diagrams taken from it at intervals of three or four months. A thorough examination of the bearings and working parts generally is also made once a year. After each visit a written report is sent to the owner, pointing out any defects that-may have been detected, and advising as to any repairs or alterations that may be required. Although the company considers it their duty to take this course, the insured are under no obligation to adopt any suggestion that may be made, nor will the non-adoption in any way affect the validity of the policy, so long as the pressure on the piston of the engine does not exceed that stipulated in the policy. The insurance covers, up to the amount insured, all damage to the engine, in the shape of actual breakage or partial fracture of any of the principal parts, when either is of so serious a nature as to necessitate the stoppage of the engine. The definition of the term “principal parts” will of course vary with the type of engine, but it is construed in a manner sufficient to cover all practical needs. The rates of premium vary between three and six percent on amounts insured of not less than £300. The higher rates are-charged for the older types of beam engines and for very large horizontal engines. For single engines of average size a less rate is taken if the power is transmitted by ropes or belts instead of gearing. Naturally, insurances can only be affected on engines of satisfactory strength and in good repair. If an insurance is declined by the company, no charge is made to the proposer for the examination which has taken place.

    The other special branch of the company’s enterprise is the Workpeople Insurance Department, which has been established to cover the risks to which large employers of labour are subject under the “Employers’ Liability Act”. The rates in this department are divided into two classes. For the one which we will call class A, the liability of the employer under the Act only is undertaken by the company, and wrongful claims, although requiring to be resisted in the name and on behalf of the employer, are contested entirely at the expense of the company. In the second class, which we will term class B, the rates are arranged to meet cases where the workmen are prepared to pay a part of the premium for insurance, in order that all accidents occurring during employment may be provided for. In either case the premium is calculated upon the amount paid in wages per annum to the workmen, and is subject to modification in accordance with the greater or less risk from the nature of the employment, woollen and textile manufacturers being, at one end of the scale, and cutlery works, the building trades, and mining at the other. In class B, the employers’ risks, under the “Employers’ Liability Act”, are covered, and in the case of other accidents for which no claim could be established under the act, compensation is granted as follows : in case of death, one year’s wages ; in case of total disablement, half ordinary wages for a period not exceeding twenty-six weeks during such disablement. The premium in class B averages about four times that for class A. Many employers, however, have availed themselves of the advantage which the extra payment gives of providing a sort of benefit fund for those who labour in their service.

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