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The consideration paid by the insured to the insurer for making an insurance. It is so called because it is paid primo, or before the contract shall take effect.
In practice, however, the premium is not always paid when the policy is underwritten; for insurances are frequently effected by brokers, and open accounts are kept between them and the underwriters, in which they make themselves debtors for all premiums;, and sometimes notes or bills are given for the amount of the premium.
The French writers, when they speak of the consideration given for maritime loans, employ a variety of words in order to distinguish it according to the nature of the case. Thus, they call it interest when it is stipulated to be paid by the month or at other stated periods. It is a premium, when a gross sum is to be paid at the end of a voyage, and here the risk is the principal object which they have in view. When the sum is a percentage on the money lent, they denominate it exchange, considering it in the light of money lent in one place to be returned in another, with a difference in amount between the sum borrowed and that which is paid, arising from the difference of time and place. When they intend to combine these various shades into one general denomination, they make use of the term maritime profit to convey their meaning.