§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE EARL OF GRANARD
My Lords, the Bill I venture to ask your Lordships to read a second time to-day is one which has received the general assent of the House of Commons. In that House it was never divided against. The object is to apply the provisions of the Life Assurance Act of 1870 to companies carrying on insurance business with regard to workmen's compensation and employers' liability. The Bill has really become necessary owing to the coming into operation on the 1st July of this year of the Workmen's Compensation Act. It is 1528 computed that something like six millions of additional workers are brought in, and these have to be insured by their employers, and naturally the Board of Trade are very anxious that no sort of mushroom insurance business should arise, and for that reason they think it right to apply the same conditions to this business as exist in the Act of 1870. These provisions are, as your Lordships are well aware, that any company starting insurance business must deposit the sum of £20,000 in Court, and also file a balance sheet with the Board of Trade each year. In the present Bill there are a few exceptions. We intend to except existing companies, so far as regards the deposit, because obviously it would be very hard to ask them to deposit £20,000 after they have been in business for some time. We shall insist, naturally, upon their furnishing an account each year. We also intend to exempt associations of employers and underwriters. The Bill, as I have said, has been agreed to in every way in the other House, and I do not think it is necessary for me to detain your Lordships with any further remarks. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.
Read 2a (according to Order), and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.