Danbury News Articles relating to insurance, Summer 1889

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Danbury News 1889
Articles regarding insurance and insurance companies

Mar 26, 1889
Insurance Matters.

Jul 13, 1889
DOES INSURANCE INSURE? -- Something About the Enterprise and Perseverance of a Danbury Man.

Aug 10, 1889
DANBURY'S BLACK EYE. -- Insurance Men Feel Uneasy Over the Many Fires

Aug 10, 1889
OUR FIRES. -- Viewed From a Commercial Standpoint.

Aug 12, 1889

Aug 17, 1889
NOT DESERTED YET. -- A Letter from the Continental Insurance Company That Has the Correct Ring.



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[Danbury News - Mar 26, 1889]
Insurance matters.
Eleven representatives of the leading fire insurance companies of New England, held a secret meeting at the Turner House, to-day. It is supposed to take some action on the Danbury risks, and the causes that lead to the frequency of fires here. After t[he] meeting the members adjourned for their homes.

[Danbury News -- Jul 13, 1889]
Something About the Enterprise and Perseverance of a Danbury Man.

[Danbury News - Aug 10, 1889]
Insurance Men Feel Uneasy Over the Many Fires.
One of the best informed men in Danbury on fire insurance stated to a NEWS representative this morning that he hoped some watchman with a keen eye and a steady nerve would succeed in winging the firebug, and putting an end to his burning career. He has given Danbury a pretty black eye, said the NEWS informant, and a few fire insurance companies have alrady withdrawn from the city. Other companies will certainly follow suit unless there is a stop to the fires.
A petition is now being circulated among the business men of the city, and signed by almost every firm, asking that the city make some arrangements with the Danbury and Bethel light company to have the electric lights burn till daylight. With one exception every fire that has occurred in Danbury lately, was after the lights were put out. The petition ends by saying that they believe that some protection may be offered in the matter of the incendiary fires by the lights being allowed to burn till daylight. The petition will be presented to the council board Tuesday night.
The conversation led to many theories as to the origin of the fires. There is a growing opinion around the city that many of the fires were not incendiary as currently reported, but due more to carelessness. However, the fire bug will get the credit of all of them. The speaker added that the board of trade should take some interest in the matter.

[Danbury News -- Aug 10,1889]
Viewed From a Commercial Standpoint.
The New York Commercial Bulletin of August 9th contains an editorial on “The July Fire Loss.” Danbury receives quite a slice of attention, of course. We extract its observations on this point, as follows:
One of the unpleasant features of the record of the past month is the frequent occurrence of incendiary fires in Danbury. The tree recent fires in Danbury made a total for the past thirty days of no less than twenty fires in that city. It is suspected in well informed fire insurance circles that the incendiaries are connected with the volunteer fire department, as was the case in Plainfield, N.J., were underwriters and property owners lost over $100,000 through incendiary fires in two years. Some of Danbury’s most influential citizens, including councilmen, want to do away with the volunteer fire department and organize a paid department. It is said that if the fire insurance companies would take the matter up the improvement could be accomplished without delay.
“The New England Insurance Exchange is usually so prompt in protecting the interests of honest insurers and insurance companies that its failure to give the Danbury trouble energetic attention is arousing unfavorable comment among underwriters here. If the Exchange would instruct its Danbury committee to thoroughly investigate the state of affairs there and force reform, it would serve the companies, while guarding the interests of property owners. A thoughtful writer has said that as soon as a thing ceases to grow it begins to decay, and unless the Exchange continues to progress by attending to such affairs as this it will either go to pieces or else gradually become transformed into one of those highly respectable organization to which it is an honor to belong, but to whose meetings no business man cares to go.”
It does not stand to reason that any member of the Danbury fire department is responsible for all the incendiary attempts, unless there is some demented individual in that department. Several of the attempts were made in broad daylight in public places, and no sane man would have done this especially if he was expecting to reap a public benefit from the act. We believe all the fires to be the work of an individual.
Of course, there is an object in the doing that is aside from plunder. This leads us to believe that the fires are the work of a “crank.”

[Danbury News -- Aug 12, 1889]
Six Companies Moving.
Here is a sample of the feeling in insurance circles. The first letter is from an insurance company to their agents in Danbury. It reads:
Our company has a newspaper clipping containing an account of recent attempts to burn your city; first by firing the property of the Danbury & Norwalk railway company, and second, the New England freight depot. I also find in a note in a certain paper the suggestion that detectives from abroad be obtained to see if the incendiaries may not be detected and arrested. To any such intimation we are entirely opposed. We are clearly of the opinion that the citizens of Danbury are called upon to resolve themselves into a committee of the whole to detect, arrest, and punish the incendiaries working in our midst. If they fail to take any measure looking to protection of their own property, then it becomes a serious question whether the fire companies should not come to the front, not to employ detectives, but to withdraw the protection here before afforded to your citizens, seeing that they are so indisposed to take any active measures to protect themselves. I write to suggest that you at once inaugurate a movement looking to the immediate detection and punishment of men who are disposed to burn your town.
Yours truly,
_________, President.”
The second is from another company. It reads:
“New York, August 10, 1889.
“Dear Sir – Nothing the very large number of incendiary fires which have occurred in Danbury within the last six months, and the apparent inability of both citizens and local police to cope with the offenders, we beg to say that we will be forced to ask you not to send us any new business until the incendiaries have been brought to justice and punishment administered, so that we may feel more secure in the prosecution of our business in your town.
“We shall be very glad to be the recipients of any remarks you may wish to make relative to this subject, and remain,
“Yours very truly,
Three companies have already withdrawn, and three threaten to.

[Danbury News -- Aug 17, 1889]
A Letter from the Continental Insurance Company That Has the Correct Ring.
The NEWS received the following letter from the Continental Insurance company of New York yesterday (which is a duplicate of a letter sent to their Danbury agents) that has a true business ring to it and is refreshing to boot:
110 Broadway, New York
New York, August 15, 1889.
Messrs. Rigelor & Stevens, Danbury, Conn.
GINTLEMEN: -- We are informed that quite a number of companies have discontinued doing any business in Danbury, on account of the numerous incendiary fires in the last thirty or sixty days, and that others have notified their agents not to take any new business.
The Continental desires to say to you that having great confidence in your judgment and loyalty to the company, we are perfectly willing to accept new business of a desirable class, if being distinctly understood that business of this kind once placed on our books is to remain there; in other words we are not willing to accept business simply to carry it while the other companies are not of Danbury – in not for all business at least for all new business. You understand our position. We would be glad to have you place with us all the desirable business, new or old, that you can control if you will agree to keep it with us after the present excitement has subsided. We think the time to keep cool is when other people are in a panic, and we feel sure that the citizens of Danbury will before any length of time has elapsed, run down the incendiaries who are now causing so many fires. In time of trouble we do not intend to desert them. Yours truly,
HENRY EVANS, Sec’y Adv’t Dep’t.




“Danbury News Articles relating to insurance, Summer 1889.” WCSU Archives, 9 July 2019. Accessed on the Web: 18 Feb. 2020.


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