FIRE-WASTE AND PREVENTION.
The extraorinary increase of the fire-waste during the last few years has causes which so far have baffled all the watchfulness of the insurance profession. A portion of that increse is due, in the opinion of some underwriters,to the operation of the valued-policy laws of the States. Other underwriters attribute a portion of the increase to the carelessness and to the rush of work, due to the expansion of manufacturing which unprecedented prosperity has brought to the country. Incendiarism, of course, has had its share in that increase. But, after all these and other causes have had due consideration the increase in the fire-waste is still unaccounted for. The fact remains that the reasons why the fire-waste has become progressive in its increase have not been obtained to the satisfaction of the underwriters. That the extraordinary increase in wealth which the last few years have witnessed should have been accompanied with an extraordinary destruction by fire is a phenomenon in the civilization with which the new century opens. That this extraordinary increase in fire-waste should have occurred contemporaneously with the great improvements of later years in the means and implements of fire-fighting is another unaccountable fact. Has the enormous fire-waste of the past few years, come to stay? Is it to be the normal condition of prosperity, that, with the increase of wealth, there must follow an increase of its destruction by fire ? The Malthusian philosophy taught that war, pestilence,and famine were evils, but necessary to prevent the increase of population over that of production from causing the race to starve to death. Is the fire-waste a providential preventive with a like purpose as to wealth? Perhaps _____o. But that Providence which tempers the wind to the shorn lamb has also accompanied the fire-waste with an alleviative blessing in the principle of indemnity, by which a large portion of the loss incident to fire-waste is distributed over the community.—Baltimore Underwriter.