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Furthermore, the difference of $768,379.14 in premiums paid in 1942 and 1944 is not so significant when it is considered that the increase in 1942 was principally due to the increase in marine insurance rates while the increase in 1944 over 1943 was due to a greater volume of insurance written.
The volume of insurance premiums and losses paid for the calendar years 1943 and 1944 is shown below:
The business of life insurance continues to grow in the Island. The amount of new insurance written in 1944 was $15,957,226, as compared with $13,500,000 in 1943.
Fire insurance coverage was the highest since the years 1920 and 1921. Property values were insured in the amount of $281,247,916 with premium collections totalling $1,412,496.83. The premium income was the highest on record. Losses paid amounted to 17 per cent of the premiums received during the year.
Hurricane insurance had a record-breaking year attributable to the popular belief that a hurricane was over-due on the Island. The value of property insured was $53,983,020, and premium receipts increased by $182,009.62. Losses paid amounted to seven cent of premiums received.
A drastic reduction in the earthquake insurance rate caused a jump in the amount of insurance written from $28,123,240 in 1943 to $71,386,690 in 1944, with the premium income practically unchanged. Losses amounted to .003 per cent of the premiums paid.
Automobile fire, property damage and collision insurance increased 34 per cent over 1943 in premiums paid. Losses amounted to 19 per cent of the premium income.
Marine insurance written in 1944 surpassed all previous records. Property valued at $341,886,698 was insured with premium payments
totalling $1,713,202.33—an increase of 37 per cent over premiums paid in 1943. Losses were higher than in 1943 but were still less than seven per cent of the premiums paid.
The Puerto Rico Hospital Service Association, which started operating on January 1, 1944, had an unfortunate year financially. Membership premiums were fixed too low in proportion to the cost of hospital and medical services. Premium income amounted to $84,893.97 while hospital and medical service claims totalled $88,406.83 and operating expenses amounted to $25,654.01. Efforts are under way to put the Association on a self-supporting basis.
During the fiscal year 1944-45, 67 companies were authorized to transact insurance business in Puerto Rico. Forty five were organized under the laws of the United States, 13 under the laws of Great Britain and eight under the laws of Canada.
On June 30, 1945, deposits in trust for the protection of policy holders in Puerto Rico amounted to $1,974,000.
ISABELA IRRIGATION SERVICE
Three hydroelectric plants are now being operated by the Isabela Irrigation Service.
Production of energy in 1944-45 amounted to 8,498,440 kwh., an increase of 2,704,410 kwh. over that of the previous year. Total power generated and purchased totalled 11,604,755 kwh. Energy delivered came to 9,756,378 kwh., of which 3,034,200 kwh. were sold for $298,972.05.
A total of 60,105 acre-feet of water was diverted from the Guajataca Reservoir in order to meet the requirements for the production of electric energy. The run-off into the reservoir was 69,555 acrefeet, 9,450 acre-feet more than the draft.
Out of the total volume of water drawn from the reservoir, 4,845 acre-feet were delivered for irrigation purposes; 1,425 acre-feet were sold under direct orders; and 3,299 acre-feet went to municipal waterworks and for domestic and industrial use.
Funds contributed by the War Emergency Program helped to finance the lining of an additional 2,263 lineal feet of the main canal, reconstruction of the road to Plant No. 3 and the lining of the Moca Canal.
Soil investigations were continued in connection with the proposed extension of the irrigation and hydroelectric facilities in the municipalities of Hatillo, Camuy and Quebradillas.
In the course of the year, the Land Authority acquired 14,558.4 cuerdas * of land, of which the largest single parcel purchased was 5,704.7 cuerdas belonging to the Compañía Azucarera del Toa. As of June 30, 1945, the total amount of land bought by the Authority during the first three years of operation was 43,346.2 cuerdas, valued at $6,183,214.61. This represented an average value of $142.60 per cuerda.
Of the land distributed by the Authority during 1944-45, 1,658.1 cuerdas costing $199,740.52 were assigned as homestead plots to agregados (landless farm workers) under Title V of the Land Law, and 12,653 cuerdas, valued at $1,919,388.53, were made into proportional profit farms. Up to June 30, 1945, a total of 14,930.3 cuerdas had been distributed to agregado resettlers, about 27,222 cuerdas had been set aside for proportional profit farms and 1,194 had been used for the establishment of 89 individual farms.
The second year of operation of the six proportional profit farms already established on the Cambalache Project was even more successful than the first. In December 1944, the original parcel was augmented by the purchase of 500 acres. The net income for the crop year 1945, which ended on July 30, was $90,308.75 as compared with $69,232 in 1944. Of this profit, $11,643.77 will be distributed to the lessees, $69,388.84 to the laborers and the remainder reserved for contingencies.
Four new proportional profit farms were organized on the Toa Project. The net profit realized by these farms from the 1945 crop was $71,109.46, of which $10,666.45 will be distributed to lessees and $46,221.16 to laborers.
About 3,000 cuerdas of the Cambalache Project have been set aside for reforestation under the War Emergency Program. A total of 863 cuerdas was replanted to forest and fruit trees during the past year.
Continuing the agregado resettlement program, 37 new rural communities comprising 3,790 parcels were established during the year. At the end of the year, parcels of from one fourth to three cuerdas had been assigned to 13,103 agregados living in 101 communities. A total of 1,106 plots was set aside for the construction of schools, churches and other public services. In these communities, gubsistence crops to the value of $477,619 were being cultivated at the close of the year and more than $240,000 worth of farm animals were owned by the agregados.
* One cuerda = 0.97 of an acre.
MINIMUM WAGE BOARD
The Board issued wage orders establishing minimum wages, maximum hours of work and general working conditions in the following fields of activity: (1) theaters and motion picture establishments; (2) retail trade; (3) manufacture of bakery, confectionary and related products; and (4) dairy farms, milk pasteurization plants and milk distribution.
The Mandatory Decree for theaters and movie houses established two zones on the Island. In Zone I (San Juan and Río Piedras), a minimum hourly wage rate of 35 cents is prescribed, with a daily minimum wage of $1.40 for four hours or less and $1.05 for three hours or less. The hourly minimum for employees of Zone II is 25 cents, with a corresponding daily rate of $1 and $.75 respectively.
The Decree covering retail trade established wage differentials for three zones. For each zone, three occupational categories are recognized: messengers, store clerks in establishments selling chiefly commodities priced at 25 cents or less, and all other employees. Employees in each of the groups are classed as either permanent or temporary. A 40-hour week and an eight-hour day with double the minimum rate for overtime were established. The Decree also provides for a 15-day annual vacation and sick leave with full pay. - The wage rates established are shown in the following table:
The Decree relating to bakeries, confectionaries and related products set wage differentials according to zones and types of producers. Zone I includes San Juan and Río Piedras and Zone II embraces the rest of the Island. Type “A” producers are those who process daily 500 pounds of flour or less, regardless of the zone in which their establishment is located. Hours of work are limited to eight per day and 48 per week, with double the minimum wage for overtime. The wage rates established are as follows:
Regulations adopted for the dairy industry provide for an eighthour day and 48-hour week, with double the minimum rate for hours worked in excess of the eight hour maximum, and time and a half for hours worked in excess of the weekly maximum. Permanent employees are entitled to a 15-day annual leave with full pay. For workers employed on dairy farms, an hourly minimum of 20 cents was fixed for Zone I (the Metropolitan Area) and 18 cents for Zone II (the rest of the Island). Hourly rates for workers engaged in milk pasteurization and distribution, with the exception of messengers and janitors, are 30 cents in Zone I and 25 cents in Zone II. Among dairy farm-workers, milk furnished to employees maybe considered as part payment of their salaries at a price of 10 cents per quart 'in Zone I and eight cents in Zone II.
Mandatory decrees of 1944–45 affected over 20,000 laborers and the estimated increase in their annual payroll amounted to $2,460,000.
Section 5 of the Minimum Wage Act, which became effective on January 15, 1945, requires that all employers subject to the Board's wage orders must keep on file detailed information with regard to their employees for a minimum period of three years.
Investigations of laundries, transportation services and the construction industry were completed during the year by the Division of Research and Statistics, and Minimum Wage Committees were appointed to study working conditions in these industries.
A total of 144 general inspections were made by the Board's seven wage and hour inspectors during the year. Claims amounting