The Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters 1917 - 1967

Written by: William Craib, CBMU President 1961


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In writing this brief history of The Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters I found it was unadvisable to adhere strictly to chronological order. To do so would have reduced the History to a mere summary of the minutes thus making it difficult for the reader to keep track of a particular topic. In a few instances therefore I have collated all the material pertaining to one subject so as to render a complete and continuous narrative.

It would not have been possible to write this story without the minutes so carefully preserved by The Montreal Board of Trade to whom my thanks are due. I am also in-debted to Mrs. Bader and Mr. C. Capper for their recollec-tions of the early years.

January 1967                               W. CRAIB

Montreal Marine Underwriters' Association

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"On the night of January 23rd. 1901, the Board of Trade Building in Montreal together with a number of other build-ings in the vicinity was destroyed by fire. Owing to the lack of room in the vault in the Secretary's Office, the Minute Book, Letter Book and letters of the Montreal Marine Underwriters' Association were not kept therein, and were consequently destroyed."

The above quotation is the introduction to the new minute book which was started after the fire and which goes on to record a very active year under the leadership of Mr. Edward L. Bond. As this association was the forerunner of the Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters it is interesting to avail ourselves of the short glimpse which is vouchsafed to us of its history.

In 1901 navigation aids in the St. Lawrence were so out of date that over the previous 11 years there had been an average of 21/2 total losses per annum. As a result Montreal had lost the Johnson Line, part of the Dominion Line and part of the Thomson Line. Insurance rates were described as high and exorbitant. The rate on hulls of ocean steamers running to Montreal for 6 months and to Atlantic ports in U.S.A. for the remaining 6 months was from 8% to 10% and in some exceptional cases even 11% whereas the rate for vessels running to. U.S. Ports exclusively was from 31/2% to 4%. Piloting also was subject to severe criticism.

The government of the day was concerned over the sit-uation and the Premier, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, with some of his ministers, reoeived in his office a deputation represent-ing Shipping Interests, the Board of Trade, the Corn Exchange, La Chambre de Commerce and the Montreal Marine Underwriters' Association.

Mr. F.E. Meredith K.C. indicated on a map of the Gulf and River what lights, signals and buoys etc. were needed all the way from Belle Isle to Montreal founded on the advice of 30 Captains. He also indicated where channels needed to be deepened or widened. Mr. Bond ably defended the position of Insurers and while not promising an immediate reduction in rates if the requested aids were granted he pointed out that rates like water would find their own level in the free marine insurance market.

Sir Louis Davies replied cordially on behalf of the Government. He admitted that the old pilot system had been bad, but under the system which had now been established bad pilots would be punished. He concluded by saying it was not only the desire, but the determination of the Government to give every possible aid in the direction asked, no matter at what cost.

Later in the year Mr. Bickerdike and Mr. Bond with repre-sentatives of the Shipping Interests had a meeting with Sir Wilfrid Laurier in the Windsor Hotel Montreal at which the Premier agreed to a Government subsidy of $5000.00 per annum to maintain a salvage vessel in a constant state of readiness at Davie's Shipyard, Quebec.

The credit for arranging these meetings is due to Mr. Robert Bickerdike of the Western Assurance Company who besides being a member of the Association was also a Member of Parliament and the governmental co-operation at these meetings compares very favourably with the lack of interest shown by various governments in later years.

The story of the Montreal Marine Underwriters' Associa-tion as we know it started with a fire and it also ends with a tragic fire. On the night of Dec. 4th. 1901 Mr. E.L. Bond was burned to death in a fire which consumed his summer residence at Phillipsburg. A new slate of officers was elected but after that the minute book consists of over 250 blank pages so it would appear that with the death of Mr. Bond who had been President for six years, the Association ceased to function.

As a matter of interest Mr. Bond's firm in 1901 was reconstituted as Bond, Dale & Co. and later became Dale & Co. Ltd.

The Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters 

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The first definite step towards the formation of The Board was taken on 12th. December 1916 when a letter was sent to the Secretary of the Montreal Board of Trade It read:—

Dear Sir,

We the undersigned members of the Montreal Board of Trade, are desirous of associating ourselves under the name of "The Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters" as a Branch Association of the Board as provided for under By-Law No. 40, and we beg to enclose Draft Constitution and By-Laws for the approval of the Council.


R. Bickerdike, Wm. Cairns, Robt. J. Dale, W.L. Dart, Jas L. McCulloch, C.G. Ross, W.F. Torrance, O.W. Dettmers.

Approval was readily granted by the Board of Trade and the first General Meeting was held on Monday 12th. March 1917 with Mr. Dale as temporary chairman. This date may therefore be considered as the official birthday of the Board — March 12th, 1917.

At this meeting the Constitution and by laws were un-animously approved.

The only other business was the election of the following officers:—

President                         W.B. Meikle
Vice President                 R.J. Dale
Treasurer                        R.L. Charlton
Executive Committee      J.L. McCulloch — Chairman
                                        R. Bickerdike
                                        W. Cairns

It is interesting to note that those present at the meeting consisted of the signatories to the letter with the exception of the elderly Mr. Torrance and that the first President and the first Treasurer were neither signatories nor present at the meeting. Further these officers were re-elected annually until 1923.

Before proceeding further let us take a look at the men who were active in the early days of the Board.

MR. ROBERT BICKERDIKE was the Province of Quebec Manager for the Western Assurance Company. He was also a member of Parliament where he campaigned vigorously for the abolition of capital punishment. Bickerdike pier in Montreal commemorates his marine activities in that city. As we have already seen he was instrumental in arranging the fruitful meetings with Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1901.

MR. WILLIAM CAIRNS was principal of Wm. Cairns Ltd., underwriting brokers in Montreal. He died before the second annual meeting of the board and was replaced by his son Mr. Morris Cairns.

MR. ROBERT J. DALE came to Canada in 1901 from Sed¬gwick Collins & Co., London and founded the well known firm of Dale & Co. underwriting brokers.

MR. W.L. DART was Vice President of Dale & Co. in charge of the brokerage department.

MR. JAS L. MACCULLOCH came toCanada from the "Thames & Mersey", Liverpool to join the Board of Dale & Co. Later he and a young man named Dick Capper left Dale & Co, to set up Jas. L. McCulloch & Co. which in still later years became Capper & Jaque.

MR. C.G. ROSS was also with Dale & Co. and later became President of the firm.

MR. W.F. TORRANCE was a personal friend of Mr. Dale and handled Imparts in Dale & CO.

MR. O.W. DETTMERS was manager of Willis Faber & Co. of Canada Ltd.

This summary covers the original signatories and at this point it might be as well to deal with the other two prominent members of the cast — Mr. W.B. Meikle, the first President, and Mr. R.L. Charlton the first Secretary Treasurer and Chief Surveyor.

MR. W.B. MEIKLE became President of the "Western" in 1917. He was not a marine insurance man but was a tireless organizer and one can only surmise he was elected to be first President of the C.B.M.U. in recognition of his work and inspiration which led to the formation of the Board. It is probable he was prompted by his friend Mr. Douglas Cox in New York who was active in the National Board of Marine Underwriters in that city.

MR. R.L. CHARLTON was an independent surveyor who also had a loose tie with the "Western". He maintained his own office and his own Secretary Miss Bellotti. He was an ardent YMCA worker and shortly after the formation of the Board he went to France with the YMCA to render service to the Canadian troops serving in the Great War as it was then known. Mr. Charlton played such an important part in the early years that a separate section is devoted to him later on.

The Constitution & By-Laws

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It is not considered necessary to study the Constitution at length, it has 13 articles and 16 by-laws, but here is the original definition of qualification for membership:—

"Members of this Board shall be members of the Montreal Board of Trade and shall be one or more duly qualified officers of, or representatives authorized to underwrite for, any Marine Underwriting organization transacting business in Canada"

ARTICLE I sets forth the aims and objects as follows:—

"Its special aim will be to secure beneficial interchange of views upon, and consideration of matters pertaining to, the general conduct of marine insurance, such as:"

Then follow 10 items some of which were soon considered unnecessary and abandoned.

The others may be paraphrased as follows:—

(A) To promote or oppose legislative measures affecting the interests of Underwriters.
(B) To investigate and prevent frauds.
(C) The principles and rules of average adjustments and provisions for arbitration of differences.
(D) Approval and recommendation of standard forms of policies or insurance agreements.
(E) Rules for classification of vessels.
(F) Rules for loading vessels with grain, live-stock or other articles deemed suitable for special regulation.

ARTICLES IV & V deal with Finance and lay down in a general way the system still in use namely annual subscrip¬tions and assessments.

As a matter of interest at this point the first assessment was actually made in 1920 as follows:

Dale & Co.                             $1,200.
Western                                     600.
Wm. Cairns Ltd.                          400.
Robt. Hampson & Sons                400.
Union of Canton                          400.


Other sources of income appear to have been fees paid for inspection of cargo being loaded.

STANDING COMMITTEES The article dealing with standing committees is quite ambitious considering that there were less than a dozen members. The following committees were to be elected annually:—

(1) The Executive Committee, to consist of three.
(2) Classification
(3) Adjustment
(4) Salvage
(5) Legislation
(6) Forms.

It will be seen therefore that the Board was launched in a spirit of enthusiasm and ambition but there was a noticeable lack of activity until Mr. Charlton returned after the War.

Mr. R. L. Charlton

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The name of Mr. R.L. Charlton first appears in the mi-nutes of the Montreal Marine Underwriters Association back in 1901 and as one reads through the minutes of the C.B.M.U. it is obvious that he was intended from the beginning to be the key figure. All the funds were devoted to his activities. He was paid a salary of $2500. later increased to $3250. and his secretary was paid $770. which was soon increased to $996. In addition the Board paid his office rent, travelling expenses and upkeep of his car.

Mr. Charlton's activities were not confined to the Port of Montreal and we read of his visits to Quebec, Halifax, St. John, Portland and Vancouver.. In 1922 it was suggested by the President that in the Winter months when the St. Lawrence was closed Mr. Charlton might be sent to investigate the unsatisfactory conditions in the West Indies. It was thought the National Board of Marine Underwriters of New York might be persuaded to share the expense but when they declined the honour the project fell through.

However in 1925 Mr. Charlton made a European trip which was financed by the Board and one of the transportation companies, probably the Canadian Pacific. He inspected and reported on the following ports, Havre, Bordeaux, Bassens, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg, London, Cardiff, Swansea, Avonmouth, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester & Liverpool. Mr. Charlton noted many things of which he disapproved and summed up rather smugly by recommending "That to bring about the necessary changes and to put conditions on a satisfactory basis, a movement be put on foot to obtain the active co-operation of the Dock Authorities and the Shipping and Merchants Federations, the Long-shoremen's Unions and the Insurance Companies in the same way as we do in Montreal."

Recommendations were sent to all the ports inspected but their replies are not available. It is perhaps just as w ell for it is difficult to imagine the ancient ports of Ham¬burg, Antwerp, Rotterdam, London etc., which were flourish¬ing ports long before Jacques Cartier would take too kindly to criticism from the port he founded in the New World.

According to the records however the reports were well received.

Copies of Mr. Charlton's report were circulated to all members and a special report was made for the Canadian Pacific Railway regarding all matters pertaining to their particular business. In addition a general report was sent to the Board of Marine Underwriters in New York and also to Lloyd's. Shortly afterwards Canada Steamships Ltd. and Furness Withy & Co. requested a conference with Mr. Charlton on his European trip.

The West Indies project was apparently revived for in 1929 we read that The Chief Surveyor submitted his report on the West Indies' Ports and after its adoption copies were sent to the Liverpool Underwriters, the Institute of London Underwriters and the Board of Underwriters of New York. The London Institute replied that they had sent on the report to the Controller of Lloyd's Agents with a view to the information therein being brought to the notice of Lloyd's Agents at the various West Indian Ports. In addition the New York Board wrote to their correspondents in all of these ports asking them to place the Surveyor's recommendations before the proper authorities. Letters were later received from Lloyd's and the New York Board to say that they had been successful in having several of the recommendations carried out.

On the home front the Surveyor's efforts were largely directed against pilferage and smoking on the docks and in the holds of ships. To this end he had sought and obtained some co-operation from the Longshoremen's Union which agreed to expel any member caught stealing.
In 1932 Hayes, Stuart & Co. were appointed Chief Surveyors at an Annual Fee of $2500. on the understanding they would employ Mr. Charlton at a salary of $2000. per annum. The latter was given a bonus of $500. and the wish was expressed that he be retained as long as he was able to continue to serve the Board. Hayes, Stuart & Co. were also given the car which had been used by Mr. Charlton but they soon discovered this was more of a liability than an asset. In his Presidential Report in 1946 Mr. Powis noted the passing of Mr. Charlton who would be remembered for his long period of service to the Board.

Hayes, Stuart & Co. Ltd. 

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The firm of Hayes, Stuart & Co. Ltd. which succeeded Mr. Charlton has now been closely associated with the Board for 35 years and it is interesting to learn something of its origin and development.

During a voyage in 1920 the Chief Officer of the Furness Withy vessel "Sachem", plying between Boston and Liver-pool via Halifax and St. John's, Newfoundland, reported to his Captain that one of the passengers, a little fellow, was poking about the deck cargo and making notes. To find out what was going on the Captain invited the inquisitive pas-senger to his cabin for a drink and from this, not too promis-ing, beginning a friendship developed between the two men - Captain Geo. L. Hayes and Mr. C.G. Ross of Dale & Co. Ltd. - which resulted in Captain Hayes leaving the sea the following year to join Dale & Co. Ltd. as marine surveyor.

In 1927 a surveying company under the name of Geo. L. Hayes & Co. Ltd. was formed. This company was a fully owned subsidiary of Dale & Co. Ltd. and Captain Hayes was soon joined by two other members of Dale's organization in the persons of Mr. E.A.H. Crocker and Captain C.J. Stuart.

Both of these gentlemen were men of practical seagoing experience. Mr. Crocker had served with the Union Castle line, Canadian Coastwise vessels and as Assistant Cargo Superintendent with McLean Kennedy Ltd. before joining Dale & Co. Ltd. in 1926 and Captain Stuart came to Dale's office via the P & 0 Line and the Royal, Canadian Navy.

The firm name was changed to Hayes, Stuart & Co. Ltd. in 1929 but the Company remained a subsidiary of Dale & Co. Ltd. until 1934 when Captain Hayes, Captain Stuart and Mr. Crocker acquired the entire capital stock. Mr. Geo. L. Hayes Jr. entered the firm in 1940 but shortly thereafter joined the Canadian Navy returning to the Company after hostilities ceased.

Since their appointment in 1932 Hayes, Stuart & Company's report has been one of the highlights at the Annual Meeting, One report, in particular, on navigation in Hudson Bay, the Labrador Coast and Arctic Regions elicited much favourable appreciation from London underwriters. In addition Mr. Crocker from time to time produced most interest-ing films two of which were shown at a Conference of the International Union of Marine Insurance.

In 1953, acting on legal advice, it was considered desir-able to clarify the .relationship between Hayes, Stuart & Co. Ltd. and the Board. The firm ceased to be known As Chief Surveyors and was appointed as Consultants to the Board without authority to issue survey reports, certificates or undertakings in the name of, or on behalf of, the Board or in any way to engage the liability or responsibility of the Board or of its members.

In their capacity as Consultants Hayes, Stuart & Co. Ltd. are responsible for the issue of bulletins dealing with Casualties, Ice conditions, Seaway announcements, Examination of Adjustments and other pertinent matters. In addi-tion they also serve the marine insurance market by issuing bulletins on behalf of The Canadian Cargo Advisory Com-mittee and the Canadian War Risk Committee.

Captain Stuart returned to the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II and died in 1945. Captain Hayes retired in 1953 but continued to be of assistance to the firm until his death in 1960. The third member of the triumvirate, Mr. Eric Crocker, officially retired in 1966 but he is still a frequent visitor to the office in Ottawa Street.

In recognition of his long and valuable service as Sur-veyor and Consultant the Board has recently appointed Mr. Crocker an Honorary Member.


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One of the printed Articles dealt with the investigation and prevention of frauds and an interesting case arose in 1927 when the Board received a letter from a resident of Quebec City regarding an alleged fraud. The writer advised that a claim of $75,000. was paid on false evidence and he could produce two affidavits sworn to that effect.

Mr. Chariton was sent to interview the writer but the latter appears to have been reluctant to confide full details to him whereupon the Executive Committee referred the matter to a Montreal lawyer. Unfortunately the minutes do not divulge any information on the findings and it is simply recorded that after having obtained legal advice it was decided not to proceed with the case "because the informa¬tion received cannot be legitimately used to benefit Underwriters". All very mysterious and leaving one with the feeling that there was definitely something in it and some scandal hushed.


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In 1927 the Board of Railway Commissioners advised the Montreal Board of Trade they had the following matter under consideration:—

"Summoning the Marine insurance Underwriters and ship-owners to ascertain what have been the actual rates charged on hulls and cargoes from the North Atlantic Cana¬dian and American ports respectively for the last five years, and further that these parties will be expected to appoint representatives in possession of such information that will give the Board the fullest information on the subject referred to". It was decided to ask the Transportation Manager of the Board of Trade to ascertain discreetly just what informa¬tion was required and also to have him point out that the C.B.M.U. did not discuss rates in any form. This official of the Board of Trade then suggested to the Board of Rail¬way Commissioners that all possible evidence regarding marine insurance rates on the St. Lawrence could be found in the report of Sir. H. McKinder which had been submitted to the Government within the last three years.

Nothing further was heard of this matter until about six months later when the "Herald", a Montreal midday paper, quoted Mr. Vien of the Board of Railway Commissioners as calling on the Government "to consider the advisability of assuming all insurance risks in Canadian waters and perhaps as a corollary the necessity of inaugurating a scheme embracing shipping on all waters."

Mr. Dale was requested by the Executive Committee to obtain an exact report and to give a requested interview to the "Star" in order to set aright some of the false impres¬sions created. He did so but the "Star" would not publish the interview because no one would sponsor it.

At the Annual General Meeting in April 1928 Mr. Schauffler pointed out that the Minister of Marine and Fisheries had intimated in Parliament that the Government might take on marine insurance risks over the St. Lawrence route if the rates were not reduced. It was not expected that anything would be done during the current session of Parliament but the Executive Committee was instructed to prepare for a possible appearance before the Government.

In actual fact there is no further minute on the subject and it is just possible that someone in the Government thought to look at the claims figures as well as the premiums, or perhaps on reflection it was realised that the correct answer to all insurance rating problems is to attack the cause of the high rates and not the people who are obliged to impose them.


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During the years 1937 and 1938 there was a great deal of discussion in the Board regarding taxation of marine pre-miums by the Province of Quebec. Conflicting views as to the meaning- of the Corporation Tax Act were given by two legal firms and the American Institute sent Mr. Chalmers Charles, a New York lawyer, in an advisory capacity.

It was agreed not to take the position that marine pre¬miums were not taxable by the Province of Quebec, but to advocate that only underwriting profits should be taxed.

The Quebec Government however decided to put the issue out of the realms of doubt-and in the closing hours of the Quebec. Legislative in April 1939 they passed an amend-ed Corporation Tax Act which imposed a premium tax of 2% with a minimum of $300.00.

The President, Mr. Ormston, and Mr. G.E. Hatton of the "Western", Toronto, who appears to have been the Board's tax expert, had many interviews with the Comptroller of Provincial Revenue but the only concession obtained was a reduction of the minimum to $250.00. Indeed the approach rather backfired for it emerged that a number of Marine Companies had not paid taxes for years and they were then charged for five years at $250.00. per annum.

Mr. Ormston reported in January 1944 that all matters in dispute with the Quebec Tax Authorities had been cleared up and as the Corporation Tax Act was now handled by the Federal Authorities there was no tax payable on marine premiums.

Quebec re-entered the premium tax field in 1949 but an agreement was negotiated and by an Order-in-Council the premium tax was amended to a 5% profits tax.

The Legislative Committee kept in close touch with the All Canada Insurance Federation during 1957 and 1958 when it was not clear what action would be taken by the Provinces as a result of the Federal Government withdrawing from the premium tax field. The final outcome was summarized as follows:


No Premium Tax

No Corporation Tax payable by British and Foreign Marine Insurers.


5% Profits Tax in lieu of 2% Premium Tax. In addition, 9% Corporation Tax payable by all Marine Insurers transacting business in Quebec but with the 5% Profits Tax above allowed as an expense item.

In 1959 Mr. Piper of the All Canada Federation had a meeting with the Provincial Authorities in Quebec City and as a result Quebec decided not to impose the 9% tax.

These Taxation negotiations were going on at the same time as the proposed amendment to the Water Carriage of Goods Act and the Legislative Committee was kept very active for a few years.

The International Union of Marine Insurance 

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In the early years the Executive Committee gave brief consideration to joining an association referred to in the minutes as the German International Union of Marine Insur-ance but nothing further was heard of this matter until the Semi-Annual Meeting in 1951 when on the motion of Mr. A.F. Bilkey, seconded by Mr. C. Capper it was agreed "to investigate the possibility of obtaining membership in the International Union of Marine Insurance and, if such membership does not exceed the sum of $250.00 the Executive Committee be authorized to make application for such membership':

The pleasant and profitable practice of inviting the President of the American Institute of Marine Underwriters to attend our Annual Meeting was instituted in 1952 when Mr. Frank Zeller attended the first Annual. Meeting to be held at the Seigniory Club. In his address Mr. Zeller urged that when we became members of the I.U.M.I. we should take an active part by sending a delegate or delegates to the Annual Conference.

Confirmation of acceptance of the Board's application was received prior to the Semi-Annual Meeting and 'possibly because of Mr. Zeller's appeal combined with the fact that membership was found to cost only $43.00 a sub-committee was formed to investigate the cost of sending a delegate to Europe.

It should be noted that before membership could be obtained it had to be stated that our Board would be representative of the whole of the Cafiadian Market and to this end it was necessary to obtain the agreement of The Association of Marine Underwriters of British Columbia. This agreement was readily and kindly given by the B.C. Association.

The report of the sub-committee was received at the Annual Meeting in 1953 and their recommendation to send a delegate accompanied by his wife was accepted.

The first delegate was the President, Mr. J.A. Parker who sailed from New York to Italy on the new Italian liner the "Andrea Doria" (later to become a total loss in a col¬lision with the "Stockholm" in 1956). He could perhaps be excused for taking a rather circuitous route to San Sebastian in Spain considering that he was on his honeymoon.

On his return the President gave an enthusiastic report and the pattern was set for a delegate to be sent every year.

A list of those members who have represented the Board at the Annual Conference of the I.U.M.I. is given at the end of the booklet but special mention should be made of certain conferences at which our delegates played a prominent part.

Our Board was honoured to receive an invitation to pro-vide a speaker at the 1956 conference in Monte Carlo and our delegate Mr. Arthur F. Bilkey delivered a paper on the subject of "The St. Lawrence and the effect of the Seaway". This of course was a topic of world-wide interest and specu¬lation at that time and Mr. Bilkey and the Board received many compliments on the presentation.

At Copenhagen in 1957 our delegate Mr. J.T. Behan gave a paper which dealt with the hazards of navigation in the St. Lawrence. One of his points was that there should be two channels — one up and one down — which suggestion was generally pooh-poohed by the Canadian shipping interests and the authorities at that time. Of . recent years however the toll of disasters with loss of life as well as ships has Mused frequent reference to be made to Mr. Behan's speech. Commenting at our Annual Meeting in 1958 our guest from the American Institute Mr. Miles F. York said "Your Mr. Behan's paper was very well received at the meeting held in Copenhagen last year. I am sure his presence there did much to gain further recognition for your Association and for your market".

Mr. A. Powls Jr. was elected to represent this Board at the Annual Conference to be held in London in September 1959 and as Mr. K.J. Creber was to be in London at that time on business for his company arrangements were made to appoint him as an additional delegate, free of expense to the Board.

On this occasion our delegate was invited by the Execut¬ive Committee of the I.U.M.I. to bring with him and introduce the showing of Mr. Crocker's films entitled:—

1 — The Battle against Ice in the Old Canal System and St. Lawrence River, November and December 1958 and January 1959, and

2 — A Voyage through the New St. Lawrence Seaway.

Unfortunately Mr. Powis died suddenly shortly before he he was due to leave for London and Mr. Creber was hurriedly pressed into service as our official delegate.

It was in recognition of his valuable service to the Board as President in 1937 and 1946/1949, and latterly as a kindly Elder Statesman that the Executive Committee invited Mr. Powis to represent the Board at the Conference and his untimely death filled all members with dismay at the loss of such a popular, well loved and respected friend.

At the London Conference our delegate Mr. Creber made an excellent impression with his commentary on Mr. Cracker's two most interesting and topical films. In consequence the Executive Committee of the Union decided to form a Seaway Study Group under the Chairmanship of Mr. Creber with representatives from the U.K., U.S.A., Germany and Norway. The directive given to this Study Group was to "collect and review additional information on the St. Lawrence Seaway and its particular problems" and during the next two years it produced very full and illuminating statistical reports.

In 1960 the Annual Conference of the I.U.M.I. was held in Washington and the Board felt that the nearness of the site presented an ideal opportunity to send three accredited representatives namely the President Mr. K.J. Creber, Vice-President Mr. W. Craib and the Chairman of the Executive Committee Mr. S.E. Porter. About a dozen other members also attended with their wives.

It was also considered that we should offer to assist the American Institute in the entertainment of the guests. This offer was readily accepted and an excellent cocktail party was held at the Mayflower Hotel. Some 350 guests were received by the President and Vice-President with their good ladies while the many other members and their wives, identified by little silver maple leaves, circulated among the guests. It was generally conceded that the Cana-dian Board had fully maintained the high standard of organization and hospitality set by the American Institute.

In these days of manned space flights, walks in space and plans for moon landings it is difficult to realise that only a few years ago satellites, were in their infancy and a great thrill was experienced by the guests when the American Satellite, a ten storey plastic balloon named "ECHO I", passed overhead during the final banquet on the patio of the Shoreham Hotel.

From the very beginning it was realised by our represent-atives to the Annual Conference that it would be advant¬ageous to have two delegates in order to have some continu¬ity. As it was, our delegate was always something of a "new boy" and he could not possibly be present at all meetings.

The Washington Conference provided some continuity when Mr. Creber, our delegate to the previous conference in London, also represented us in Washington and Mr. Craib having been initiated at Washington attended the next confer¬ence in Lisbon. In addition Washington provided many other members with an insight into the work of the I.U.M.I. and in principle the Board was in favour of sending two delegates.

Finance was the only stumbling block but eventually this difficulty was overcome and in 1965 the President — Mr. F.G. Favager and the Vice-President — Mr. D.D. Robertson represented the Board at Lucerne. Then in 1966 Mr. Robert¬son,.now President, and the new Vice-President — Mr. R.C.R. Douse attended the conference at Barcelona thus establishing the routine to be followed in future.

Association of Marine Underwriters of British Columbia 

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The above Association is first mentioned in the Board minutes in 1935 at which time the President was asked to send a letter of appreciation and thanks for articles received from time tO time concerning marine matters on the Pacific Coast.

Two years later some concern was felt in the C.B.M.U. regarding ships carrying lumber from British Columbia and the co-operation of the B.C. Underwriters was sought. Mr. Schauffler, Mr. Sykes from B.C. and Captain Connell from Appleton and Cox, New York, had a meeting in Ottawa with the Officer in Charge of marine matters for the Department of Transport. The view was expressed that regulations for stowage of deck cargo were not being observed or enforced. Asa result Ottawa sent two investigators to British Columbia and changes were made in the appointment of Port Wardens and Deck Load Surveyors. This solution was considered satisfactory at the time but in 1939 Mr. Ormston in his Presidential Address mentioned that in the course of a few months there had been six cases of ships listing and losing their deck loads.

When the C.B.M.U. joined the International Union of Marine Insurance it became necessary to obtain, the agreement of the B.C. Association that the Board would repre¬sent the whole of Canada. Later it was felt that there should be some written agreement to this effect and in May 1958 the Association of Marine Underwriters of British Columbia passed a resolution empowering the C.B.M.U. to represent the Association in all matters of common concern including .dealings with:—

"(1) Departments and Agencies of the Government of Canada.
 (2) National, other than Canadian, and international bodies and associations dealing with or engaged in the consideration of matters of concern to those engaged in marine insurance. Provided that the power thus given does not extend to representation of the Association in matters of purely local or provincial concern."

Mr. Bilkey who negotiated this agreement expressed the hope that this would be the first step toward the ultimate union of the B.C. Association with the Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters.

In the recent years it has been the custom to invite the President of the Association to the Annual Meeting of the Board and the members are invariably treated to an excellent address on West-Coast conditions and problems. On one occasion Mr. de Casson, conscious of the fact that the meeting was being held in La Belle Province, gave his address in French. Other welcome guests have been Messrs Ralston, Hoelting, Barber and Williams.


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In 1952 the Board was approached by the Insurance Institute of Montreal with a view to arranging marine educational courses for insurance students in the Montreal area. As a beginning lectures were given by Messrs. Creber, Dumaresq, Craib, Bastien, Tucker and Hardy in the rooms of the Montreal Institute all of which were well attended.

It was the intention of the Insurance Institute of Canada to include Marine Insurance in their Dominion-wide courses and Board members in Montreal and Toronto were recruited to write correspondence courses for the Institute. Before all of these courses were completed Mr. S.E. Porter suggested it would be advantageous if the well tried and excellent courses of the Chartered Insurance Institute, London could be made available to Canadian students. He undertook to carry on negotiations and through his e fforts our students now use the C.I.I. Courses with suitable additional pages pertaining to Canadian laws and practice.

Each year the Board sponsors a prize of $50.00 for the top graduate in the Marine Insurance Examinations but, regrettably, the examiners too often have to report that no student attained a standard worthy of the award.

The Gold Clause Agreement and The Water Carriage of Goods Act 1936

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Mr. Richard Powell gave an address at the 1954 Annual Meeting on the British Maritime Law Association Agreement of August 1, 1950 commonly known as the "Gold Clause Agreement"

The Hague Rules limited the Shipowner's liability for loss of or damage to cargo to £ 100 Sterling per package or the equivalent of that sum in other currency, but provided, by the so called "gold clause", that all monetary units mentioned in the Rules were to be taken to be gold value.

Some of the countries Rules in their domestic clause" but some others, express the limit in terms icular country which incorporated the Hague legislation adopted the "gold including Canada, preferred to of lawful currency of the particular country.

In Canada the Water Carriage of Goods Act 1936 provided a limit of $500.00 on "outward cargoes". but owing to the great depreciation of currency in some foreign countries the amount recoverable on "inward cargoes" was often ridiculously low. Mr. Powell quoted the extreme case of imports from Italy; a Canadian importer was entitled to 5,000 Lire per package which at that time was the equivalent of $7.85, but on the other hand an Italian importer from Canada was entitled to /000.00 per package the equivalent of 318, 181 Lire.

It was appreciated that the proper solution would be an amendment to the Hague Rules to overcome the adverse effect of currency devaluations but as this would be, without doubt, a long process and the problem was acute the remedy appeared to lie in an amendment to The Water Carriage of Goods Act 1936 to make the Act applicable to imports as well as exports.

Subsequently Mr. Powell was invited to read a paper on the subject to the Maritime and Air Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association and as a result a sub-committee was formed to study his recommendation that the Act be amended.

He also attended a meeting of the Maritime Law Associa-tion when it was agreed that the Hon. C.J. Burchall, who was on the point of leaving to represent Canada at a meeting of the Comite Maritime International at Brighton, would add to his Agenda a recommendation that the statutory limit as contained in the Hague Rules should be suitably amended to overcome the adverse effect of currency devaluation.

At the Semi-Annual Meeting in 1956 it was reported that the Minister of Transport, in reply to a resolution forwarded to him by the Canadian Bar Association, had stated that in view of opposition from the Shipping Federation and The Dominion Marine he did not feel justified in seeking any amendment of the Act until such time as there was a revision of the Hague Rules. At this meeting it was decided to retain Mr. F.O. Gerity to draft and present a brief to the Federal Government on behalf of the Board recommending a suitable amendment to The Water Carriage of Goods Act so that it might apply to inward cargoes.

The brief eventually went forward in July 1957 from The Canadian Bar Association, drafted by a committee consisting of Mr. F.O. Gerity, Mr. C. Russell McKenzie Q.C. and Mr. William Tetley, and supported by The Canadian Maritime Law Association and The Canadian Board of Marine Under¬writers. Copies were sent to the Deputy Ministers of Transport and Justice and to the leaders of the Opposition. It was anticipated progress would be slow but by 1960 the Board felt justified in sending telegrams to the Ministers concerned expressing "disappointment that no positive action appears to have been taken".

A year later the Legislative Committee advised members that they had brought to the attention of the Ministers the draft of a new Article X to the Hague Rules which was approved in September 1959 at the Rijeka Conference of the Comite Maritime International. It now appeared that the aims and objects put forward in the brief might be achieved some time in the future by the rather circuitous route of a Comite Maritime Meeting in YugOslavia, a Diplomatic Confer¬erence in Brussels and finally incorporation into Canadian legislation of the proposed Article X to the Hague Rules.

In 1961 this was considered a bleak prospect but we now realize it was in fact an over optimistic viewpoint for nothing has yet been done by the Federal Government to rectify this obvious inequity.

It should be noted that the amendment would merely have afforded Canadian Importers the same rights in regard to inward cargoes as have been enjoyed all along by U.S.A. Importers under the provisions of the Harter Act.

The St. Lawrence Seaway

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Probably the greatest single event in the economic devel-opment of Canada in recent years was the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway eliminating the bottle-neck between Montreal and Kingston.

Naturally the members of the Board were intensely interested in the project and from 1954 onward they were kept informed by Hayes Stuart and Co. Ltd. of the progress being made.

In June 1957 the Semi-Annual Meeting was held in the Seaway Hotel, Toronto and was preceded by a visit to the Ontario Hydro Commission's working model of the Seaway and Power Project at Etobicoke. Here, laid out on the floor of a huge shed building, was an accurate relief scale model with flowing water. By means of lighted candles floating down the stream the engineers were able to study the effects of the various diversions and the power dam and so make or amend their plans accordingly. The members found this a fascinating model and at the afternoon meeting unan¬imously decided to arrange for a visit to the actual site a year later when the construction would be well advanced.

This tour of the Seaway took place in June 1958 when, accompanied by a competent guide supplied by the Seaway Authority and travelling by chartered bus, the group visited all the locks under construction between St. Lambert and Cornwall.

After a buffet luncheon at the Cornwallis Hotel a visit was paid to the Ontario Power Project and then on to the Iroquois lock which had been completed. The bus then proceeded to the Thousand Islands Club, Wellesley Island, Alexandria Bay, N.Y. where the Semi-Annual Meeting was held on the following day.

Just as the visit to the Seaway model sparked a desire to inspect the actual site so the bus tour evoked a desire to hold the 1959 Semi-Annual Meeting on board a vessel on a voyage through the Seaway, Enquiries were made but it was not possible to make such an arrangement for a group so small in numbers.

Prior to producing the Official "Seaway Regulations" and "Masters Handbook" various bodies were contacted by the Seaway Authority to obtain their views and advice. Two representatives from the Legal Department had a preliminary meeting in Dale's office with Mr. S.M. Ross and the Montreal members of the Executive Committee and later these members were invited to a joint meeting with representatives of The Shipping Federation of Canada, The Dominion Marine As¬ociation and the Canadian Shipowner's Association under the chairmanship of M. Luc Couture of the Seaway Authority. The final drafts were approved at this meeting and our re-presentatives were pleased to note that certain advice tendered by them at the preliminary meeting had been accepted.

It is a pleasure to record that all dealings between the Board and the Seaway Authority have been carried out in an atmosphere of courtesy and cordiality.

Fireboats - Quebec, Saint John, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto 

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At a Board meeting in August 1924 Mr. Charlton reported on a fire which destroyed Shed No. 1 at Quebec. The fire brigade was on the scene two minutes after the alarm was given but the suction pipes of the fire engines were not long enough to reach the water in the river and consequently they had to lay 1800' of hose from one hydrant and 700' from another.

In the following month General Tremblay, one of the Harbour Commissioners, advised Mr. Charlton they had asked the Government for $500,000. and when this was received the first expenditure would likely be the purchase of a fireboat as recommended by Mr. Charlton.

Apparently the fireboat was not obtained for when, in 1931, the Port of West Saint John was destroyed by fire the Board thought it opportune to point out to the Quebec Harbour Commissioners the vulnerability of Quebec Harbour and to impress upon them the need for a fireboat. Shortly after this the Government supplied a fireboat the "Citadelle" which operated in Quebec during the navigation season and in Saint John during the winter months.

During the War the "Citadelle" was transfered to Hali¬fax and on its return to Quebec it operated for a few years before being scrapped.


Mr. Charlton made an inspection of the port of Vancouver in 1926. He found the fire protection and pilferage conditions satisfactory but recommended the purchase of a fire patrol boat. His recommendation was accepted but after operating for a few years the patrol boat was sold to the C.N.R. in 1930. In reply to an enquiry from the Board the Vancouver Board of Trade advised in August 1930, that a joint committee of various interests was working on a plan for the pur¬chase of boats to provide the necessary protection but within a month a very extensive fire occurred in the Canadian National Dock.

This disaster served to emphasize the need and in the following year the Harbour Board of Vancouver provided a vessel equipped with two Merryweather steam driven pumps and two gasoline driven pumps.
At the present time the port of Vancouver is adequately served by a fireboat and two fire fighting tugs.


For forty years the item "Montreal Fireboat" has been a hardy perennial on the Agenda of the Board. It would take too long to go into the details of efforts made by the Board and others to persuade the National Harbours Board of their responsibility to supply fireboats in Montreal Harbour, but here in brief is the sorry tale.


Mr. Charlton was advised by the Secretary of the Montreal Harbour Board that, following receipt of a report from Ex Fire Chief Tremblay on the fire protection of the harbour, the Commissioners had recommended the purchase of a fireboat.


The Chief Surveyor reported that the tug "St. Peter" had been equipped to throw four streams of water and was on a 24 hour service confined to the harbour area. In addi¬tion the tug "Sir Hugh Allan" had been equipped to throw two streams.


The City of Portland purchased a fireboat described as one of the finest on the North American Continent. Details of the vessel were sent by the Board to the Harbour Com¬missioners of Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec, St. John, Halifax and to the Deputy Minister of Marine, Ottawa.


In an effort to arouse public interest the Board supplied the "Daily Star" with a considerable amount of information collated from other cities regarding their fire fighting vessels.


Sin-Mac Lines tried unsuccessfully to interest the Montreal Harbour Commissioners in a proposition to supply fire tugs.


The Board was invited to contribute to a brief being prepared by the Montreal Board of Trade on the facilities, charges etc, of the Port of Montreal. Mr. Schauffler prepared an excellent report refuting any suggestion that current insurance rates were due to some kind of conspiracy on the part of Underwriters and concluded by pointing out that "so long as the Port of Montreal is without the protection of an efficient fireboat or boats it cannot compare favourably with many other ocean ports including others in Canada."


Both the Shipping Federation and the Board sent dele-gations to the National Harbours Board in Ottawa but they came back to report "the N.H.B. did not show any enthusiasm or co-operation."


A committee consisting of Messrs. J.T. Behan, J.A. Parker, O.L. Harrison and E.A.H. Crocker visited Ottawa but on this occasion the representatives of the N.H.B. were definitely hostile. They accused the committee of bye-passing the local Port Manager, which was untrue, and expressed strong disapproval of the Board's audacity in approach¬ing the Maritime Commission. The committee returned some¬what chastened and disappointed by the attitude of the N.H.B.


A fire in Quebec harbour destroyed Shed No. 28 and 4000 tons of newsprint principally due to lack of a fire tug. Probably influenced by this event the new Minister of Transport appeared to be interested in a fire tug for Montreal but in the following year Mr. Powell advised Board members that the N.H.B. attitude had remained un¬changed.


Mr. Jean Brisset Q.C. approached the Chairman of the N.H.B., with a proposition from McAllister Towing Ltd., to supply fireboats but the latter made it clear that he did not feel it was the responsibility of the N.H.B. The Board followed this up with a letter urging further consideration but in reply they merely received for information a copy of the Chairman's letter to Mr. Brisset.


A committee known as the Greater Montreal Harbour Fire Protection Technical Committee was set up under the auspices of the N. H. B. This committee has recommended the early acquisition of a new fast fireboat and the modification of the Diesel Tug "James Battle" to become a useful second unit. -

The experience in the case of Quebec/Saint John and Vancouver has demonstrated that some kind of disaster is required to spur the authorities into action. In the case of Montreal there have been four major ship fires in the last few years, the "Hispaniola" "Fort William" "Lionel" and "Cedarbranch" but appar.ently these were not considered to be sufficiently disastrous. It is to be hoped that some future historian will not be recording that two excellent fireboats have now been provided for Montreal following the holocaust in Montreal Harbour when the liner and tanker collided with heavy loss of life, or following the disastrous fire which caused such serious damage to Expo 67.


In sharp and pleasant contrast is the report on the situa-tion at Toronto. It was early recognised in that city that with the opening of the Seaway and consequent increase in traffic a fireboat would be required and by 1964 the "William Lyon MacKenzie" had been built. This vessel has since seen service in fighting the fire on "Orient Trader" in Toronto Harbour in July, 1965.

Revision of, and Amendments to, the Constitution and By-Laws

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After the War it was found that a great deal of uncertainty existed as to which individuals were representing the various companies in the various cities as Board members. A committee consisting of Messrs. A. Fowls, D.A. Hanson and the Secretary Mr. Cooper produced a revised Constitu¬tion and By-Laws which defined Ordinary Members, Associate Members and Honorary Members and limited voting to the Ordinary Members. This Constitution retained the proviso that members of the C.B.M.U. had to be members of the Montreal Board of Trade and later as Toronto developed as a centre of Marine Insurance it was considered unreasonable to expect underwriters in that city to be members of the Board of Trade in Montreal.

When the position was explained to the Manager of the Board of Trade it transpired there was no problem involved as it was quite usual for organizations fathered by the Board of Trade to sever their connections on reaching maturity. The manager, Mr. Gould, offered the continuance of secretarial service at a fee to be arranged, which offer was accepted by the C.B.M.U. and has proved to be a happy relationship. A revised constitution giving effect to this change was passed in 1954. At the same time a major amendment was effected in the method of assessment whereby premiums produced in British Columbia were excluded from the basis of assessment. The purpose behind this was to eliminate objections of a few members, and potential members, to being assessed on proportionately heavy income from British Columbia not in any way serviced by the Board.

A further amendment to the Constitution was made in 1960 again with the object of clarifying the demarcation between Ordinary Members and Associate Members. One further alteration was the stipulation that Ordinary Members must be resident in Canada.

Mr. J.A. Potts had long maintained that many of our problems in defining membership would be solved if membership was changed from an individual to a corporate basis. He was also in favour of broadening the basis to admit a wider circle of people connected with the business of marine insurance. During his term of office he appointed Messrs. Porter and Craib to consider how the regulations could be changed to give effect to these aims. It soon became evident that this would take some time and the whole executive committee became involved. The final draft was largely the work of Messrs. Goddard and Douse and it was passed at the Semi-Annual Meeting in 1964.

Definition of Marine Insurance 

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The Superintendent of Insurance, in 1961, had under consideration a revision of the Classes of Insurance and the Definitions thereof. Marine Insurance was not involved specifically but the Board considered this might be a suit¬able time to bring up-to-date the definition of Marine Insurance . They had in mind the inclusion of overseas shipments by air, which were invariably handled by the Marine Department, but. which for government returns were classified by the most inappropriate name of Inland Transportation. About this time also nuclear submarines were making their first amazing voyages and it was commonly thought that in the future they would be developed as cargo carriers. It was therefore considered the definition should extend to include shipments under the sea.

The President, Mr. Craib, and Mr. Goddard put these views forward at a meeting with the Superintendent of Insur¬ance in Ottawa but the DepartMent of Insurance was reluctant to make any change in the definition as this would broaden the exemption under The Insurance Act.

In Lighter Vein and Snippets from the Minutes 

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Gift from the American Institute of Marine Underwriters

A pleasant little ceremony took place at the 43rd. An-nual Meeting of the Board in the Seigniory Club when Mr. Emil Kratovil, First Vice-President of the American Inst-itute presented the Board with a block and gavel.

Mr. Kratovil said he hoped the Board would look upon these "Trappings of Office" as more than an ordinary gift in that the wood employed in the manufacturing of the block and gavel was taken from a log of virgin Canadian oak that lay on the bottom of Quebec Harbour for at least 150 years before it was brought to the surface. The case surrounding the block and gavel was fabricated from a piece of Amer¬ican walnut and hence the whole affair, he felt, epitomized the close relationship that our countries and our markets have always enjoyed.

In accepting the gift the President — Mr. Creber asked Mr. Kratovil to convey our thanks to the members of the American Institute for the tangible evidence of the friendship between the two organizations.

Gift from the Institute of London Underwriters

Word was received from the Institute in the Spring of 1960 that following the Washington Conference of the LU.M.I. their delegation intended to visit Canada with a view to inspecting the Seaway and they would like to bring a gift for the Board. They asked if the Board had any sug¬gestions and after much thought the Executive Committee suggested a Presidential Badge of Office. Immediately came back the reply "Send us the design". There was no time to lose and the Toronto members of the Committee hastily consulted with Henry Birks & Sons who produced a crest incorporating the features requested, with a fine disregard for the susceptibilities of the Lyon King at Arms. On reflection some members felt we had perhaps crammed too much into. the design but the superlative craftmanship of Messrs. Spinks of London succeeded in producing a very handsome badge. The subjects featured in the design are the maple leaf, beaver, lighthouse, anchor and rocks.

Mr. H.M. MacDiarmid, Chairman of the Institute of London Underwriters made the presentation at a luncheon in Toronto and he was perhaps guilty of a little quiet leg-pulling when he enquired with a perfectly straight face "But why did you want a mouse on it?" — so much for our Canadian emblem the beaver.

The badge was first worn by Mr. K.J. Creber presiding at the 44th. Annual Meeting and prompted a suggestion by Mr. Goddard that the retiring President should be given some memento of the occasion. Thus arose the custom of presenting the retiring President with gold cuff links engraved with the crest. In addition the crest has been adopted for use on the Board notepaper and publications.

To complete the story of this presentation this is perhaps the place to mention that the Toronto members entertained the London and Liverpool Delegations by taking them on a tour of Niagara and the locks of the Welland Canal after which the Montreal members organized a visit to the seaway locks in the vicinity of Montreal.

The Ladies

In these days the Annual Meeting' takes place in a very pleasant Social atmosphere and it might be of interest to our newer members to learn how the custom of inviting the ladies arose.

The first time the Annual Meeting was held in the Seign-iory Club it was found that our meeting coincided with a ladies curling bonspiel. It was only natural therefore that in the evening, after the business meeting and after the curling, these two groups, isolated in a log chateau surrounded by snow and 300 below zero, should fraternize.

Peculiarly enough this coincidence occurred once or twice and a few members, those with qualms of conscience and those whose consciences would not permit them to relax, began to urge that members be permitted to bring their wives. Apart from this some of the wives were aware that ladies attended the annual meetings of the Fire & Casualty Under¬writers and they failed to appreciate the fine distinction which makes Marine Underwriters an entirely different species. Then on one occasion our invited guest from the American Institute enquired if he could bring his wife and as Mr. J.A. Potts put it "I was in the embarrassing position of explaining to him our Board's peculiar attitude towards women".

Possibly however the last straw which broke the resist-ance movement was when the ladies discovered the Sewell Cup was not a bonspiel confined to grandmothers as they had been led to believe. The grandmother story had been wearing thin but nevertheless one prominent member received unexpected corroboration when his daughter came rushing home from school to tell Mummy "A girl in my class says her Grandmother was dancing with Daddy at the Seigniory Club"

The first occasion on which the ladies were present was in 1960 when they were graciously welcomed by our bachelor President Mr. Sidney Ross. With the exception of a few diehards the innovation was considered a great success and an Annual Meeting now without the ladies would be unthinkable.

The Brain Drain

We are constantly reading in the newspapers of the drift to the U.S.A. and our business has not escaped. In recent years we have lost three of our most dynamic personalities —Ken Creber to New York, Jack Behan to Chicago and John Potts to San Francisco. Prior to that Arthur Brunck was called to New York and Dick Powell was recalled to Liverpool. Each of these gentlemen was promoted by his own office and no doubt the employers saw in them the same qualities as we did when we elected each of them to the office of President.

Bill Eiger and Gerry Pepperell were only with us for a few years when they were called to their New York Office and John Buglass and Clare Lagerquist left of their own accord for pastures new in New York.

The Shortest Meeting

At this late date one can find a humorous side to this laconic minute of an Executive Meeting in October 1928.

"A report was read from Capt. Stuart with regard to the S/S "Cairntorr". During the discussion as to the best methods of attempting salvage a wire was received from Capt. Stuart advising that the "Cairntorr" had disappeared. The meeting was thereafter adjourned."


In reading through the minutes one is struck by the number of members masquerading under assumed names. One of the founding members Mr. O.W. Dettmers was known to all and sundry as Buzz Dettmers but this was a simple case of a nickname. There are however quite a few cases of people who have adopted or acquired a new Christian name. For example how did E.A.D. Holmes become Peter, why is C. Cappper — Dick, by what transforming process did C.F. Dumaresq and S.E. Porter each become Mike and how did the late H.R. Tucker become our well loved Tim? There is no answer and one must suppose it is just another of those mysteries associated with the business of Marine Insurance.


The three names which crop up oftener than any others are Creak, Cushing and Hodgson, Auditors since the inception of the Board.


The first new member was Mr. Ha-mid Hampson in 1920 then followed in 1923 Messrs. C.E. Bickerdike, "Western", H.S. Moore "Union of Canton", E.W. Schauffler replacing Mr. Meikle when he retired, H.R. Churchill of G.U. Price Ltd., and F.J. Knox of Montreal Securities Corporation Ltd.


In 1926 the Board was sorry to lose the "Union of Canton" who objected to the amount of their assessment. They were welcomed back to the fold in 1940 and went on to provide the Board with a very able President in the person of Mr. A. Sunter.


Mr. Alf Pawls representing Chubb & Son joined in 1929 and in the following year the minutes noted with regret the passing of Mr. Per-cy Chubb who died suddenly on a train going to Matapedia. A few years later Mr. Goddard of Chubb & Son, New York, father of Mr. Con Goddard, attended an an executive meeting on the invitation of the President Mr. C.G. Ross.


Dave Patterson, then with Osborn & Lange, joined in 1929 and Mr. G.H. Hanson representing the "Phoenix" joined in 1930. The Board was growing but there were hold-outs and in 1931 we read, "The Royal Insurance Comp¬any — as this Company has not seen fit to become members of this Association it was moved and seconded that their representative here be advised that the sending of our cir¬culars to him will be discontinued."

Happily the War Years brought many of the marine under¬writers in closer touch with the Board and in 1950 Mr. J. Matson rectified the omission of previous years. Since then the "Royal" representatives Mr. E.A.D. Holmes and Mr. Bob Jones have served with distinction.


Additions to the membership in 1937 were the Home Insurance Company and W.H. McGee & Company.

Mr. D.A. Hanson of Lewis, Apedaile & Hanson was welcomed in 1943 and a few years later he assisted in drafting a new Constitution.


The fact that Canada was rapidly expanding as an in¬dustrial country was not overlooked by underwriters in the U.K. and in the post-war years there was something of an invasion. Among the invading forces were Messrs. Parker, Newport, Hardy, Powell, Craib, Bell, Eiger, Lind, Holmes and later Favager, Porter, Pepperell and Douse.


Since inception the Board has been pleased to appoint six Lifetime Honorary Members as follows:-

1955 Mr. C.G. Ross & Mr. E.W. Schauffler 1956 Mr. Richard Powell
1960 Mr. Alex Sunter
1961 Mr. Arthur Bilkey
1966 Mr. Eric Crocker


The first Semi-Annual meeting was .held in Toronto in 1950 when Mr. Jack Behan of the "I.N.A." Toronto was President. A photograph was taken to mark the occasion and this practice was carried on for quite a number of years. Eventually the meetings became too large for an intimate photograph.


Mr. C.G. Ross, the last of the original members, died in 1957 at the age of 86. He remained active to the last and had come to be regarded as the father of the organization. The following minute was recorded at the Semi-Annual Meet¬ing in Toronto on June 12, 1957.
"The members of the Canadian Board of Marine Under-writers were saddened to learn of the passing of their con-fere, and former President, Charles Gilbert Ross, who died 26th May, 1957.

During his long career his outstanding character and ability reflected the highest honour upon this Board.

In recognition of his untiring services, this Board pays respectful tribute to his memory and directs a letter to be sent to Mrs..Ross expressing deepest sympathy."

It has been impossible to record the work of committees and sub-committees but mention must be made of the Loss Committee, first of all under Mr. Walter Wilkie and latterly under Mr. Henry Murray. This committee has been most attentive to its duties and has produced many first-class reports and statistics.


Mr. Eric Dale of the "Phoenix" gave a scholarly paper at the 1966 Semi-Annual Meeting in which he advocated the introduction of the computer into the underwriting side of our business.


In conclusion tribute is due to the splendid secretarial service provided by the Montreal Board of Trade. These names may awaken memories —H.C. Beatty, E. Lorne Tracey, Mrs. H. Deuel, Robert Cooper, Miss C. Kingsland, Miss Pilmer, R.C. Fraser, Mrs. Muriel Hunter, Miss Carolyn Box and our present secretary Miss Lorraine Campbell is of course known to all members.


Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

On reading through the minutes one is struck by the fact that the problems of the 1920's were pretty much the same problems as plague us to-day.

PILFERAGE IN THE HARBOUR OF MONTREAL, which has been causing underwriters so much concern in recent years, was so rife in the twenties that a group called the Merchants Association of Montreal was formed with the following aims:—

(1) Check the current of theft by securing the co-opera-tion of other organizations and working in conjuction with the city detective forces.
(2) Campaign to curtail the operations of receivers of stolen goods.
(3) Compilation of data showing approximately the aggre¬gate extent of losses through dishonest channels each year in Montreal with a view to compelling the attention of all those engaged in operating the machin¬ery of Justice.
(4) Institution of a bureau to keep a record of employees.

NAVIGATION OF THE ST. LAWRENCE is another parallel with to-day.

In November 19 26 the "Montreal Star" quoted in full the text of an article in the Liverpool Journal of Commerce. The headline in the English paper was "WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE ST. LAWRENCE ROUTE?". It is a fairly long article but the opening paragraph sets the tone. It reads as follows:—

"In 'shipping circles the river St. Lawrence has gained an unenviable reputation from the frequency with which strandings occur. Equally marked is the feeling amongst navigators as to the findings of courts of inquiry which follow these casualties. Certainly there is no part of the Empire in which so many certificates are dealt with, or their owners censured; nor one in which those punishments are so commonly remitted or cancelled on appeal to the Board of Trade".

At the present time because of the incidence of stranding and collisions, the Government is co-operating with the shipping interests, the Seamens International Union and the C.B.M.u. in an effort to improve the safety factor in the St. Lawrence.

GREAT LAKES WATER LEVELS. It is interesting to note, in view of anxiety in recent years, that in 19 26 Mr. Dale represented the Board on a Montreal Board of Trade committee to look into the problems connected with the conservation and preservation of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Waterways, the Chicago Drainage Canal and the projects connected therewith and effected thereby.

PILOTAGE IN THE ST. LAWRENCE which came under fire in 1901 was just as unsatisfactory in 1939. That year the President Mr. Ormston, travelled to Ottawa and insisted on an enquiry being held in connection with a flagrant case to which Hayes Stuart & Co. had drawn his attention. He had a sympathetic hearing and in four cases of stranding, the "ASCANIA" "BARFONN" "TROILUS" and "KIRISIMA MARU" the pilots were suspended.

And then,

of course,

we always have

The Montreal Fireboat

Delegates to The International Union of Marine Insurane 

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J.A. Parker


San Sebastian


A.E. Brunck




A. Sunter


Monte Carlo


A.F. Bilkey


Monte Carlo


J.T. Behan

Past President



S.M. Ross




K.J. Creber

Vice President



K.J. Creber




W. Craib




S.E. Porter

Chairman, Executive Committee



W. Craib




S.E. Porter




J.A. Potts




F.G. Favager




F.G. Favager




D.D. Roberton




D.D. Roberton




R.C.R. Douse




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W.B. Meikie


R.J. Dale


E.W. Schauffler


C.G. Ross


A. Powis, Jr.


C.M. Ormston


A. Powis, Jr.


J.T. Behan


J.A. Parker


A.E. Brunck


A.Sunter, Jr.


A.F. Bilkey


S.M. Ross


K.J. Creber


W. Craib


S.E Porter


J.A. Potts


F.G. Favager


D.D. Robertson



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© 2024 The Candian Board of Marine Underwriters

© 2024 The Candian Board of Marine Underwriters