Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Provident Savings Life Assurance Society Cancels

In the pursuit of cancels that might qualify as "printed" on the 1898 documentaries, the cancels of Provident Savings Life have come to light.  There has been some presentation and discussion of these cancels, particularly in this post.

The 80 cent stamp below displays a cancel that appears printed and applied by a device other than a hand.  This cancel is found on more than one 1898 value (I know of two examples on commerce dollar values) and in both black and red.  However, Provident also used something that looks more like a handstamp device in the same style as this printed cancel.  An example can be found below...




Handstamp cancel (?), larger than that on the 80c stamp above but of the same style and with the same positioning dot at the bottom.

Provident Savings Life, as an issuer of often high premium life insurance policies in New York, used quantities of high value 1898 revenue stamps.  Apparently the firm was in a leadership position in the US insurance industry, with its early adoption of term-insurance and with Sheppard Homans, the first president of the Actuarial Society of America, as its president.

Bob H., I'm crossing into your professional area here.  Any comments?


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The New York Times, January 1, 1886, and its story on Provident's term-insurance policies:

THE PROVIDENT SAVINGS LIFE ASSURANCE SOCIETY.

  Life insurance has been generally purchased by level, or uniform premiums, extending over the whole duration of life, or for a stated number of years, which necessitates payments for mere accumulation, in order to create necessary reserves.  In other words, such policies involve payments for investment as well as for indemnity.  Recently the Provident Savings Life Assurance Society, of which Mr. Sheppard Homans is President and Actuary, has issued insurances where the investment element is eliminated, and the premiums required are for indemnity only.  This society has met with phenomenal success, having written over $25,000,000 in the last three years on the lives of prominent merchants and professional men, at a cost of less than one-third the usual level premium rates.  The Provident Savings Company offers renewable term insurance upon payments of $3 per anum on each $1000 insurance for expense, and mortuary premiums, equitably adjusted for each age, to meet the current death claims as experienced.


Sheppard Homans


Mr. Sheppard Homans was an actuary, mathematician, author, astronomer and innovator. His accomplishments during the 19th century had far-reaching results and deserve a prominent place in the annals of life insurance.


He is best known for developing the American Experience Table, the first life insurance mortality table based on insured lives in America. Constructed in 1868 on the statistical data of the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, it became almost universally used for eighty years to determine premiums and reserves.

Mr. Homans’ skill was also instrumental in the development of the widely accepted Contribution Method for calculating surplus and dividend distribution. He pioneered the use of surrender values to avoid the harshness of policy lapsation.

His business leadership continued long after retirement as an actuary. He became the first president of the Actuarial Society of America and president of the Provident Savings Life Assurance Society for 20 years.

The results of Mr. Homans’ active and agile mind can truly be said to have transcended companies, institutions and time.

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