Life Insurance Losses

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Life Insurance Losse

First of all, what do you know about all Life Insurance Losses?

Well, the business of insurance in the United States is classified into three broad sections: life insurance, health insurance, and property and liability insurance.

Altogether it provides about 1,490,000 jobs and has responsibility for assets of more than $289 billion.

But its greatest significance in the American economy is as an absorber of personal and business risks.

The property and liability segment of the insurance business is responsible for assets which at the end of 1971 totaled about $66 billion.

It provides hundreds of forms of financial protection against virtually every known peril.

The business of property and liability insurance employs an estimated 640,000 persons.

About half of these are employees of insurance companies, and about half are agents and brokers, and others are engaged in agency or brokerage operations.

There are nearly 6,000 insurance companies domiciled in the U. S. Some of these companies sell all lines of insurance; many specialize in one or more fields.

More than 2,700 companies sell some form of property and liability insurance, and related lines, including inland marine coverages and surety and fidelity bonds.

A vast majority of the business is written by about 900 companies that operate in all or most states.

The property and liability insurance business play a major role in keeping the American economy moving.

Insurance coverages backstop the extensive commercial and consumer credit system of our nation.

Further, surety bonds are required on almost all commercial construction and public works, to protect against loss in the event the contractor fails to satisfy his obligations.

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In large part because of insurance coverages, the American businessman, the American homeowner, the American housewife—in short, the American people—have more financial protection and a greater sense of security than any people anywhere have ever enjoyed in the history of the world.



Natural and man-made perils—such as fire, windstorms, accidents on and off the highways, crime, and riots—take a steadily increasing toll on life and property, with a staggering economic loss to the nation. Most of these losses directly impact insurance claims—and an indirect impact on insurance rates.


Life Insurance Losses

Every day, almost7,000 fires happen in the United States. Every 46 seconds, on average, fire breaks out in a home.
Every 43 minutes, fire claims a life.

In 1971, fire losses in the United States totaled $2,245,835,000, not counting losses from aircraft, motor vehicles, forests, and other non-building fires. Fourteen fires causing damage of $3 million or more each occurred during the year.

Fires in homes account for almost 70 percent of the nation’s building fires and about 32 percent of the dollar fire losses.

Faulty cables and electrical appliances edged out heating and cooking-related purposes as the principal cause of building fires in 1971.

Between them, they were blamed for nearly 35 percent of all building fires of known causes.


Accidents, the fourth leading cause of death, claimed the lives of approximately 115,000 persons in the United States in 1971. Only heart conditions, strokes, and cancer take more lives.

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Injuries from accidents of all kinds numbered an estimated 11.2 million in 1971.


Life Insurance Losses

Traffic fatalities in the United States declined slightly in 1971, to 54,700 from the 1970 toll of 54,800.

However, slight increases in the number of accidents (22.1 million to 22.65 million) and injuries (4.98 million to 4.99 million).

Together with the rising costs of auto repairs and medical care helped push the estimated dollar cost of highway accidents to an all-time high of almost $16.9 billion.

About 91 percent of all traffic accidents in 1971 were reported to involve improper driving.

Speeding was listed as a factor in about 33.5 percent of all fatal accidents, and about 50 percent of the fatal accidents involved drinking drivers.

Although only 21.6 percent of the nation’s motoring population is under age 25, drivers age 24 and younger were involved in 35 percent of all reported accidents and 33.8 percent of fatal accidents in the United States in 1971.


Accidents in the home accounted for 27,500 deaths in 1971, slightly more than in the previous year. Accidents at work took about 14,200 lives, but the number of fatalities per 100,000 workers reached an all-time low of 18.

The number of work injuries increased by about 100,000 to an estimated 2.3 million.

Accidents involving commercial or private aircraft killed an estimated 1,525 persons in 1971, 125 more than in 1970.


The nation’s overall crime index rose by about 6 percent in 1971. Crimes against property showed a 7 percent increase, with robbery up 11 percent, burglary up 9 percent, larceny up 7 percent, and auto theft up 2 percent.

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Thirty-one times during 1971, wind or hail storms struck areas of the United States causing property damage above $1 million.

Tropical storm Doria, which struck the Atlantic coastal states in August caused insured losses estimated at $13.5 million, while a series of tornadoes, wind, and hail storms did an estimated $13 million in insured damage in nine central and southern states in May.

From an insurance standpoint, the year’s most costly catastrophe was the earthquake and resulting fires that struck Los Angeles County in February and caused insured damage of approximately $31.6 million.