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and the bereft, but that it would also prove more economical than
When the Act was passed by the Legislature of New York, the brewers were confronted with a more serious insurance question than had ever before called for their consideration. The law made it imperative to protect the rights of the employees by the adoption of a system of compensation payments for injuries received in the course of their employment. By the terms of the Act, employers were given the option of insuring by any one of the four following methods :
(1) By insuring with a Stock Liability Insurance Company. (2) By insuring in the New York State Fund. (3) By depositing surety with the Commission that they would fulfill all obligations imposed upon them by law. (4) By insuring in a Mutual Insurance Company.
After very careful consideration, the Brewers decided that in view of the conditions imposed by law upon employers, there was no excuse for the perpetuation of Stock Company Insurance in this particular field, involving as it does heavy toll taking from the moneys paid by employers for the benefit of their injured workmen in the form of commissions to agents and profits to stockholders.
As far as the State Insurance Fund was concerned, the Brewers felt that at the time the coverage afforded by the Fund was not clearly enough defined. As to depositing surety with the Commission to fulfill the obligations, each brewer felt that insurance matters should properly be cared for by trained insurance men, and they further thought that to insure themselves individually in this matter, would be to lose the benefits derived from co-operation. They gave their attention to the merits of a Trade Mutual Insurance Company, believing that when employers in any branch of industry were furnished this form of insurance through a Trade Association, the question of rates is eliminated practically, because the matter of the initial premium is of slight significance when the insured can count upon getting back any excess of premium charges over insurance costs in the form of dividends. The Trade Association has the advantage of giving each group of employers the exclusive benefit of their own experience without being required to share it with other groups of employers in some cases less favorably situated. Similarly, any reduction of insurance costs, through systematic accident prevention, would go entirely to the benefit of the employers adopting safety standards. Experience had taught the brewers that insurance, contrary to general belief, was not a gamble. Over a period of years, with conditions the same, the cost of insurance would not vary greatly.
After deciding what was best for the brewers collectively from the financial standpoint, they then took up the question from their employees' standpoint. Proud of what they had already done for their workmen in the matter of employment and wages, they decided to go still further in an effort to show the workmen that they had their best interests at heart. The brewers wanted their employees to know that they were interested in them to the extent that they were administering the provisions of the Compensation Act for them particularly, and not leaving it to some corporation certainly not interested in the welfare of the employees.
The brewers decided finally that they could best meet the situation and protect their own interests, as well as those of their employees, by the formation of a Trade Mutual Insurance Company. Accordingly, in June, 1914, almost fifty brewers of Greater New York organized the Brewers' Mutual Indemnity Insurance Company, with the following officers and directors:
PETER DOELGER, President.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
WILLIAM P. RINCKOFF
JACOB RUPPERT, JR.
RUDOLPH J. SCHAEFER
LOUIS B. SCHRAM
The list of subscribers includes the largest, as well as the smallest, brewery in the metropolis, breweries modern to the last detail and some not so favorably situated. The distribution from an insurance standpoint is ideal. Brewery work, from the employees' position, is unquestionably among the most satisfactory of all industries, providing, as it does, one of the highest wage in the industrial scale. This condition necessitates a very large payroll, and, as the premium for Workmen's Compensation in that State is based upon each $100 of the payroll, times a given rate, it was easy to accumulate a premium approximating $150,000.
Heretofore, as far as these Brewers were concerned, this sum was positively gone. Now, operating their own company, they feel they have every reason to expect a substantial dividend, provided they have a normal year, and each man does his share in the prevention of accidents. Considering they have no acquisition expenses, no commissions to pay brokers, and greatly reduced overhead charges, they are confident they can do all that any Stock Insurance Company can, and still return to the subscriber what other companies consider profits.
Affording compensation protection to nearly seven thousand employees, it is to be expected that many accidents are reported. Of these seven thousand employees, two thousand are classified as chauffeurs, drivers and helpers, exposed to all the hazards of traffic operations in the largest city in the world. Having been in operation nearly three months, they have had time to list and investigate almost four hundred reports of accidents. Most of these were trivial, necessitating only a few days lay-off for the injured men, but a great many were serious.
Among the serious cases, two were fatal. One man received an injury to his eye, which necessitated its removal—another had an arm amputated. Several had fingers and toes removed, and there were three cases of bad arm and leg fractures. Of the four hundred cases, almost everyone had some medical treatment, which gives us a large comparative proportion of expense for doctors and hospital treatment. The compilation of statistics reveals the interesting fact that at least two-thirds of the accidents reported are directly chargeable to carelessness on the part of employees, and, until such time as the employees realize this truth, the unnecessary economic loss will continue-first, to the employees in the fourteen days they actually lose before drawing compensation, and, further, in the subsequent loss of the difference between 663 per cent. of their wages while receiving compensation, and their full daily wage before injury; and secondly, to the Brewers in the waste caused by the substitution of inexperienced and green men in the place of the injured. Human nature is the same the world over. We are all quick to attribute an accident to others as hard luck, misfortune, etc. Very rarely do we apply the lessons so often horribly taught us to our own habits of life. Safeguards on machinery prevent not more than 25 per cent. of the accidents. The only positive safeguard known is the human mind—alert and careful of danger.
To illustrate briefly, some time ago, a man in Massachusetts worked in a planing mill. He received satisfactory wages and supported a comfortable, happy home. His son attended school, and his wife enjoyed all the comforts of that little home. In a moment of carelessness, the man's hand was caught in the planer, ·and as a result he lost a hand. That little home was immediately transformed. The mother was obliged to go out to work for others; her son was taken from school and put to work, and the father was forced to the street, selling lead pencils.
All this was told one night at a meeting for the purpose of preventing accidents. In the audience sat a man, his wife and boy. They were naturally interested in the story; the father, because he too worked in a planing mill, doing work similar to that done by the injured man. On the way home the mother stopped on the sidewalk and said, “John, you do the same work that that poor man did, don't you?” Receiving a reply that he did, she said, "John, you see to it that you never cause me to go out working like that poor woman in the lecture.” That woman did more safety work from that moment than all the lectures or pictures in the world could possibly do. Every day that man worked, the words of his wife were constantly on his mind. It is certain that he will never be caught in a planer and have his little home ruined.
That is a lesson the New York Brewers would have their seven thousand employees learn by personal application. When they learn it there will be very few accidents.
The Brewers have created this Insurance Company to endure. Not one employee has been subjected to a physical examination; not one has been discharged for any physical disability or infirmity. None will be. The New York Brewers pride themselves on being above such practices when the object is to weed out the weak from the strong. They make no distinction in the hiring of men as to whether they are single or married. Knowing that the strength of the country is in the home, they are glad to give work to married men. Everything that can possibly be done by them for the benefit of their workmen, whether in health or in illness, will be done. All that they ask in return from their workmen is a square deal, and, judging from their experience in the past, they have every reason to believe that their employees will give it.
Twenty-four States have enacted Workmen's Compensation Laws of one kind or other, and their number will doubtless increase until the entire country will have been covered. Brewers in states where the law is of such form as to permit the organization of mutual indemnity systems would do well to study the particular system here described. Further information may be had upon application to the Labor Committee.
Louis B. SCHRAM, Chairman C. W. FEIGENSPAN
C. NORMAN JONES
HUGH F. Fox, Secretary
REPORT OF THE CROP IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE
The activities and influence of the Crop Improvement Committee can scarcely be expressed in a limited report.
The plans of this Committee have received the unqualified endorsement of the government, of all of the agricultural colleges in all of the states and of Farmers' and Business Men's Associations throughout the length and breadth of the United States.
The most interesting and important function of this Committee has been the encouragement and establishment of the County Farm Bureau, in charge of a paid agriculturist, and backed by a strong local association of farmers and business men.
The number of these County Associations has been doubled during the year, and there are now 315 counties operating under this plan. This does not take into consideration the part in the South operating under a similar plan.
The secondary plan of the Committee has been to establish a seed center in each country of the United States, the object of which is :
First. To determine and decide upon the variety of barley and other grain best adapted to soil and climate, and which has the best market value.