Financial Loss of the Titanic

Not Totally Insured

So great was the interest in the tragedy of the Titanic and so profound the griefat the tremendous loss of life that for a time no one thought of the financial loss. It was, however, the biggest loss ever suffered by marine insurance brokers.

The value of the policy covering the vessel against all ordinary risks was $5 million, but the whole of this amount was not insured, because the British and Continental markets were not big enough to swallow it. In reality the actual amount insured was $3.7 million, of which the ownwers themselves held $750,000.


The cargo was a different matter, it was insured by the shippers. The company had nothing to do with the insurance of the cargo, which, according to the company's manifest, was conservatively estimated at about $420,000. Cargo, however, was a secondary matter, so far as the Titanic was concerned. The ship was built for high-priced passengers and what little cargo she carried was also of the kind that demanded quick transportation. The Titanic's freight was for most part what is known as high-class package freight, consisting of such articles as fine laces, ostrich feathers, wines, liquors and fancy food commodities.


Prior to the sailing of the vessel the postal authorities of Southampton cabled the New York authorities that 3435 bags of mail were on board the Titanic. In a load of 3500 bags it was safe to estimate that 200 contained registered mail, according to the Postmaster of New York. The size of the registered mail packages varied greatly, but 1,000 for each mail bag would be a conservative guess. In other words it was believed that 200,00 registered packages and letters went down with the Titanic.

The Postmaster from New York declared "This does not mean, however, that Great Britain will be held financially responsible for all of these losses. There were probably thousands of registered packages from the Continent and in such cases the countries of origin will have to reimburse the sender. Moreover, in the case of money being sent in great quantities, it is usual to insure the registry over and above the limit of responsibility set by the country of origin."

In the case of money orders, the postmaster explained,there would be no loss, except of time, as duplicates promptly would be shipped without further expense.

The postmaster did not know the exact sum which the various European countries set as the limit of their guarantee in registered mail. The underwiters were thought to bear the responsibility of meeting the heavy claims of passengers for luggage, including jewelry. Pearls of one American woman insured in Lodon were valued at $240,000.

No Possiblity of Salvage

The Titanic and her valuable cargo can never be recovered , saaid the White Star Line officials. "Sinking in mid-ocean, at the depth which prevails where the accident occurred," said Captain James Parton, manager of the company, "absolutely precludes any hopes of salvage."

Life Insurance

In the life insurance offices there was much figuring over the lists of those thought to be lost aboard the Titanic. Nothing but rough estimates of the company's losses through the wreck were given out.

Loss to the Carpathia

The loss to the Carpathia, too, was considerable. It is the habit of all good steamship lines to go out of their way and cheerfully submit to financial loss when it comes to succoring the distressed or the imperiled at sea. Therefore, the Cunard Line in extending the courtesies of the sea to the survivors of the Titanic asked for nothing more than the mere acknowledgement of the little act of kindness. the return of the Carpathia cost the cunard Line close to $10,000.

She was delayed on her way to the Meditteranean at least ten days and was obliged to reload coal and provisions again, as the extra 800 odd passengers she was carrying reduced her large allowance for her long journey to the Meditteranean and the Adriatic greatly.