Oral Answers to Questions — War Risks (Life Insurance).

– in the House of Commons on 9th June 1942.

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Photo of Sir Jocelyn Lucas Sir Jocelyn Lucas , Portsmouth South

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the reluctance of many insurance companies to accept special war risk life insurances except at prohibitive premiums, or at all; whether he is aware that while one company has doubled its rates from £1 1s. per cent. to £2 2s. per cent. for ordinary civilians for death or serious injuries, with 50 per cent. increase for full-time air-raid precautions workers, Lloyds have halved their rates to 12s. per cent. for the full risk; and what steps he is taking to prevent the public being exploited and to look after their interests?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

The rates of premium against the risks in question vary with the terms of the policies issued, but are not capable of precise actuarial calculation. The Government have already made provision by the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme for the payment of compensation for war injuries to members of the civilian population, and cannot undertake the financial responsibility which would be involved in any scheme of Government control of the rates of premium charged by insurance interests for voluntary supplementary cover.

Photo of Sir Jocelyn Lucas Sir Jocelyn Lucas , Portsmouth South

Cannot the Government allow the public to buy Lloyds policies through post offices? At present it is very difficult for an ordinary member of the public to obtain a Lloyd's policy. It would be a great advantage and would make all the difference in the world from getting 22s. 6d. a week and a lump sum?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

My hon. and gallant Friend put down a Question on this subject to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 19th May, and my right hon. Friend and I have gone into the matter very carefully and see great difficulties in doing what he suggests.

Photo of Mr John Mack Mr John Mack , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Would it not be possible for the Government to suggest to the companies a reduction in the rates of premiums comparable to the risks and cover involved?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

The difficulty is to estimate the risk. In this case it is not capable of precise actuarial calculation.

Mr. De la Bère:

Notwithstanding the great difficulties, if it is just, ought it not to be done? Why are there always great difficulties in doing away with an injustice?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

Perhaps my hon. Friend will make some suggestions to me with a view to overcoming the difficulties contained in the Question