WHERE INSURANCE COMPANIES ERR.
The records of fires, says the Cincinnati papers, give constant warning of the evil under which the country is laboring in the matter of fire was e, and yet no heed by the public appears to be taken of all this showing. There is a grievous fault somewhere, and we believe it lies with the insurance companies. In nine cases out of ten where the attention of owners is called to their negligence as to a guardian against fire, they will answer, the insurance companies would make no allowance for such improvements, and thus carelessness, instead of being rebuked, is encouraged. With a majority of underwriters a furniture factory is a furniture fictory, and a flouring mill a flouring mill, and the rate is fixed arbitrarily and without any consideration other than the general occupancy of the premises. Now any sensible man knows that some furniture factories are worth double what others are, the difference being in ownership, in construction, in care, in cleanliness, in discipline of workmen, in many things that tend to increase or lessen the hazard. There are wood-working establishments in this city which have stood unharmed by fire for thirty years and more, and bid fair for the enjoyment of another thirty years’ and more immunity from fire. There are others of the same general character that have burned several times within that period. We can name more than one concern that has burned out, on an average, every four years since their establishment. People generally say that one of these is fortunate, and that the other is unfortunate, but it is not so. There is nothing of chance, or whai is called luck, in it. Both are the results of the operations of laws as fixed and unalterable as the laws of gravitation—the law of carefulness and the law of carelessness. That the same rate of premium should be charged both is an absurdity, and the underwriter who does so is not only ignorant of the true principle of the business he undertakes to transact, but is an aider and abettor, by encouraging and promoting that carelessness which leads to waste of property, and not unfrequently to the ruin of innocent and careful persons.