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Town to enable fire department to tap into insurance policies

Posted December 16, 2013

New Tecumseth councillors will be requested tonight to approve a three year trial period, whereby a third party firm would act on behalf of the fire department to recoup costs through insurance policies in exchange for a 30 per cent commission of the take.

The proposal by Fire Marque, represented by former Collingwood mayor Chris Carrier, was presented to council last March, and has now been brought forward as part of the push to approve the 2014.

"The majority of property insurance policies provide coverage to the insured for Fire Department costs incurred when called upon. The amount of the coverage can range from $500 to $25,000 depending on the policy. Fire Marque acts on behalf of the municipality to recover the costs for fire services provided through an agency agreement. Costs would only be recovered if the individual had insurance coverage. In order to recover the costs the Fire Department fees and change by-law outlining a fee for the service would need to be amended and brought forward for approval," according to the reporty by New Tecumseth Fire Chief Dan Heydon to council.

"After responding to a fire, the Fire Department completes a Standard Incident Report (SIR) which is the current practice as required by the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office. Fire Marque receives a copy of each SIR and then prepares the necessary documentation to submit to the insurance company. Fire Marque would collect the recovery and remit the revenue, minus Fire Marque's fee to the Town. There is no additional work required for Town staff as Fire Marque deals directly with the insurance companies and not the policyholders. The types of costs that can be recovered from the insurance companies include fire extinguishing materials, dry extinguisher powder units, refilling self contained breathing apparatus and the apparatus time."

It's estimated the Town could generate about $20,000 in revenue through the program in 2014. There are 27 Ontario municipalities, including Essa and Bradford West Gwillimbury that utilize the service.

"According to Fire Marque, since insurance companies incorporate the firefighting premiums into their policies, the recoveries will not increase the homeowner's insurance rates as it is already part of the existing premium."

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