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¦X 108 PRIENDIiY SOCIETIES.
Life Assunaisrce Has Long Since Become A...
result . Yet such a risk . has "been incurred on such , terms over and over again . The problem of the proper rate of contribution is a
• work of labor to the qualified actuary ; is it to be wondered at if it j _> _roved an insoluble riddle to working * men ? They could not
avail themselves of the expensive services of the actuary , perhaps did not know that his services were available in the case . Then
the Societies vary indefinitely in their constitution , and a table of rates drawn up for one would utterly mislead and ruin another .
The rates , moreover , have been inequitable as well as inadequate . It has been and still is a common practice to admit as
members of Friendly Societies all persons between some specified ages—we have known one of which the range was as wide as from
16 to 60—and to charge them all alike . Now , after a certain age the liability to sickness and to death increases every year . Other
things being equal , a man is more liable to fall sick or to die at 5 0 than at 20 . It is therefore unfair to admit the man of 50 on the same
terms as the man of 20 . Take a case in illustration . A Society starts with 300 membersall between the ages of 20 and 45 , and all
, contributing the same sum per month—calculated after the loivest possible tariff- —for the sake of the same benefits . For the first few
years all goes on well enough , but in progress of time there is a cessation in the influx of new members . In the meanwhile all the
members have become older , and their numbers diminished by death or removal . The Society , under such circumstances , presents
but little attraction , and certainly offers no security to a young man contemplating the future . He perceives that the average is
against him , and accordingly inquires for a Society composed of persons more nearly of his own ageeven though it proceed on the
, same erroneous principle of making a fixed charge for members at whatever period of life they may be . He joins a younger Society ;
should this be a prosperous one , the members of the older Society who happen not to be above the maximum age transfer their
membership to it , leaving their more aged associates to shift for themselves . These poor persons , staggering under the weight of
years , struggle on for a time ; but the claims of the sick increase , the funds diminish , the contributions daily becoming smaller , and
the disbursements greater , and at length , finding it hopeless to attempt to carry it onthe Society is abandoned , and those who
, trusted to it for relief in their declining days are entirely disappointed . w
One element of success is often entirely lost sight of by the founders of Friendly Benefit Societies , the element of number . It is
impossible to secure a just average without a large body of members . No Society with a small number of members can be looked
upon as safe , even though its tables may be founded on the most perfect lawor on the most scientific data of the statistical actuary ;
for should , its experience turn out worse than the average , its fate
is sealed ,
¦X 108 Priendiiy Societies.
¦ X 108 _PRIENDIiY SOCIETIES .
English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Oct. 1, 1860, page 108, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/ewj/issues/ewj_01101860/page/36/