Notes from the Field

Notes from the Field


Fire losses in New York City during 1920 are interestingly dealt with in the printed annual report of the committee on losses and adjustments of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters, which is now being distributed to members. Speaking roughly, this report indicates that the incurred fire insurance losses in the metropolitan territory last year reached a total of almost $27,500,000. The report states that there were 3,186 loss entries during the year and that the average aggregate insurance loss per entry was $5,162. This would indicate a total fire insurance loss of losses handled by the committee of $16,446,132. It is getieraly conceded that the committee handles about 60 per cent of the entire fire insurance losses of the metropolitan district, and adjusted on that basis these figures develop a total fire insurance loss for the city during 1920 of $27,410,220.

This compares with 2,177 loss entries in 1919. with an average insurance loss per entry of $4,029, indicating a total fire insurance loss on committee losses of $8,771,133. This adjusted on the 60 per cent basis gives the approximate total fire insurance loss of the city in 1919 as $14,618,555. Commenting upon the results shown in the report the chairman, Fred A. Hubbard, said:

“In our report for the years 1917-18 we said that business conditions as affected by the war, both with reference to physical and moral hazard, had been clearly reflected in the losses of those years. We may say now, with even greater earnestness, if possible, that the business conditions, particularly with reference to moral hazard, during the past year have been and are being seriously reflected, in our opinion, by the losses which have occurred and are almost daily being reported. The increase in losses handled by our committee during the past year over the year 1919 was about 90 per cent in amount and over 46 per cent in number. The estimated losses reported to our committee during 1920 amounted to about double the incurred loss of 1916 reported to us, including the losses referred to and handled by the special committee on Black Tom Island disaster.

“We have made 85 moral hazard reports during the past year. Thirty-five of these claims reported on during 1920 called for unusual investigation, the cost of which amounted to $26,703.76, of which amount $21,005.82 was paid during the year 1920, representing 10.9 per cent of the full expense of the year’s adjustments. The resulting saving to companies, as compared with assured’s profits of loss in these, was, however, $448,597,55We have spent during 1920 $10,157.67 on criticised claims, adjustments of which are still pending, and this amount, together with the expense of the adjustment of 35 claims above referred to represents 16.2 per cent of the full expense of the year’s adjustments.”

The classification of the adjusted losses for the past two years shows as follows:

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