THE Manager of the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company, who is also the doyen of the fire insurance profession in Glasgow, is an Ayrshire man. His father was a noted schoolmaster, first in Saltcoats and afterwards in Kilwinning. He received his business training in the office of a leading chartered accountant in Glasgow, and moved thence to the fire department of his present company. For a time he held a position in the office of another company, and he became surveyor and afterwards secretary to the Queen Insurance Company's Scottish branch. In 1872, however, he returned to the North British and Mercantile Company as Secretary. Eighteen years later, on the resignation of the late G. W. Snodgrass, he became Manager of the whole fire and life business for the Glasgow district.
    Mr. Laidlaw's professional aim has been to reduce fire underwriting as far as possible to an exact science, and on this subject he is regarded locally as a chief authority. He has occupied with much acceptance for four different yearly terms the Chairmanship of the Glasgow Rate and Salvage Committee, which is practically the local council of the fire insurance offices, and he has been twice President of the Insurance and Actuarial Society of Glasgow. In the latter position his inaugural address in 1891 on "The Growing Fire Hazard of Central City Districts," attracted much attention, and was included in the first "Journal of the Federation of Insurance Institutes." His later address to the same society, entitled "Observations on the progress and prospects of Fire Insurance as a Science," had a large circulation both at home and abroad, and was reprinted in the Federation Journal of 1900. In 1901 he received the laurel of his profession, the Chairmanship of the Federation of Insurance Institutes of Great Britain and Ireland, which held its conference that year in Glasgow.
    Apart from business Mr. Laidlaw leads an active social life. A resident in Pollokshields, he is a member and an ex-chairman of its Municipal Ward Committee, a member of the Business Committee of the West of Scotland Liberal Unionist Association, and one of the founders and managers of the beautiful Sherbrooke U.F. Church. He is an enthusiastic musician, and was one of the original committee, and chairman of executive for two sessions, of the highly successful Pollokshields Society of Music and Literature. Among his outside recreations he has been President of the Pollokshields Bowling Club and Captain of the Pollok Golf Club. His holiday travel has included the West Indies, Norway, Switzerland, the Riviera, Egypt, and Palestine. He is a Justice of the Peace for Lanarkshire.

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