FIRES AND FIRE INSURANCE IN N. C.
So far as fire insurance goes North Carolina is a wideawake state. The receipts of the insurance department paid into the State treasury for the year which ends next March I will be $25,000 greater than for the preceding twelve months—by far the greatest gain ever made. This is due to the fact that the insurance laws of North Carolina are better and their administration more satisfactory than in any of the Southern States. The companies are, therefore, trying to induce them to adopt North Carolina as their model. The State insurance department was established in 1880. It supervises all the insurance companies doing business in the State; sees to the execution of the laws governing them; issues licenses to companies and their agencies; collects all license fees, taxes, etc., imposed upon them by the State: and examines and approves all insurance policies on State property. The law for the investigation of all fires occurring within the State is among the wisest provisions of the State insurance law. It has already shown its value in the decrease of incendiary fires ir. the State and the consequent reduction of fire premiums. The act requires that every fire occurring in an incorporated city or town shall be reported to the insurance commissioner bv the chief of the fire department or chief of police, and that all fires occurring outside of an incorporated city or town shall be so reported by the sheriff of the county. The insurance commissioner is required, with these officers, to investigate fully the origin and circumstances of all fires, and where the circumstances are suspicious to hold a special examination, and where the evidence is sufficient, cause the arrest of any person charged with arson and prosecute the same. Provision is also made for the examination of all premiums and the removal therefrom of all combustible material or inflammable conditions, and a penalty is provided against all officers neglecting or refusing to comply with the requirements of this law.
The costs of these investigations are provided for by a tax upon the gross receipts of all fire insurance companies doing business in the State. The companies express themselves as pleased with this law and its enforcement. The commissioner has received on this fund during the past year $1,284.43 and paid out $297.62. as appears of record on the books of the department.