Was the Titanic really unsinkable? The insurers obviously thought so,
since, although the sum insured was around a million pounds (about a
hundred times that in today's money) the premium was a measly £7,500 -
about £720,000 at today's values. When it sank on 14th April, 1912,
Lloyds of London was not a happy place.
1912 was not the best year to be in the
The previous December the P&O ship Delhi, en route to Bombay had been
lost in the Mediterranean; the King's sister, the Princess Royal, had
very nearly lost her life after being swept overboard from a rescue boat
after she had bravely refused to leave the Delhi until all other women
and children had been taken off. Her daughter the Princess Alexandra was
also swept overboard and had to be helped to swim to the shore by a
passenger. The Delhi was, of course, insured at Lloyds.
The previous March the luxuriously appointed passenger steamer Oceana,
also on route to Bombay, had gone down, this time in the Strait of Dover
after a collision with a sailing ship, the Pisagua. The owners, P&O
again, tried the sue Pisagua's owners but the court decided that Oceana
was at fault, based on the accepted principle that steam should give way
to sail. Lloyds was left to pick up the bills.
Under the familiar insurance principle of spreading the risks of few
amongst many, Titanic, as well as her sister ship Olympic, had been
covered by numerous Lloyds syndicates. Just as well. A new huge,
luxurious ship was a total loss, and more than 1500 people died. The
insurance claim was colossal.
All claims were settled by Lloyds in full within 30 days - at the time,
one of the largest insurance losses in world history.
Copyright Mycos Web