National Underwriter on April 18, 1912: Titanic Report

On April 15, 1912 the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage to New York.

National Underwriter was there to write about the insurance implications.

We were then known as The Western Underwriter, which ran the headline: “HEAVY INSURANCE LOSS” on April 18, 1912, with the sub-headline: “Sinking of Titanic Blow to Lloyds and American and English Life and Accident Companies.”

The reporter at the time knew of just 1,300 “souls” who died. The final count was 1,514.

The story reads: “Definite figures as to the insurance loss will probably not be obtainable for some time, but it is estimated now at figures varying from $50,000,000 to $100,000,000.”

Insured property losses will stop at between $10 million and $15 million, The Western Underwriter reported. The rest would come from life and accident policies held by many of the wealthy people on board the ship.

“This loss will no doubt be well distributed and it is not thought [it] will cripple any institution.”

Broker Willis Faber & Co came into the Lloyd’s underwriting room several months prior to the voyage to insure the Titanic, according to Lloyd’s.

Coverage for the hull was 1 million pounds—about 95 million pounds (about $152.5 million) in today’s money, according to Lloyd’s, who adds that multiple syndicates split the cover and Willis negotiated a premium for the vessel of just 7,500 pounds.

Click to the pages to see the 100-year-old report from The Western Underwriter.

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