Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- December 24, 1867Undesirable Insurance
Yesterday we were visited by Mr. A. Gentzel, who formerly operated a cigar business at 57 West Lake Street; Mr. Gentzel's property at that address was insured for $1000 by the Western Phoenix Insurance Company. The building in which Mr. Gentzel carried on his business was burned to the ground by a fire which occurred six months ago. Since Mr. Gentzel had paid his insurance premiums regularly, he expected that the insurance company would discharge its obligations promptly. When he presented his demand for payment at the office of the company, he was told that he would receive $900 on the 20th of December.
Because he had previously made several vain attempts to collect the money and had been repeatedly told that the president of the company, who allegedly had sole authority to make disbursements, was absent, he thought it advisable to ask us and several of his friends to witness his next effort to obtain the money due him, and he asked us to note the way in which his demand would be rejected; he was certain that this next effort would be no more successful 2than the previous ones had been.
Mr. Gentzel took his attorney with him for the purpose of enforcing his just claim; and so he, his attorney, several prominent German citizens, and we, entered the office of the Western Phoenix Insurance Company. The attorney explained to the office attendant, who introduced himself as the vice-president of the company, the purpose of our visit, and received the "regular" reply--that the president was out of town and that nobody else, not even he, had authority to pay claims.
When several of Mr. Gentzel's German friends pointed out that this same excuse had been frequently advanced, and that the matter was taking a serious aspect, the vice-president withdrew into the inner sanctum of his office and said, "Gentlemen, this is my office, and if you have come here to intimidate me, I shall call a policeman and have him eject you".
Of course, it was futile to make further remonstrations under such circumstances, 3so we left the office.
We have information from reliable sources that this is not the first time that the vice-president of the Western Phoenix Insurance Company has advanced the absence of the president of the company as an excuse for avoiding the payment of legally justified claims, and an article published in the Banking And Insurance Chronicle of December 19 strengthens our conviction that the Western Phoenix Insurance Company is always ready to issue policies, but can be persuaded only by special "inducements" to pay losses.
Our German citizens should consider this angle very carefully when choosing a company in which to insure their property.
I D 1 a, II A 2, II B 2 d 1
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