© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
Chris Carrier, national municipal accounts manager for Fire Marque, answers a question at the Jan. 20, 2014 executive committee meeting.
Revenue stream is at no cost to city or homeowners
In an agreement with Fire Marque Inc., the city’s fire department will be able to recover costs associated with fire responses.
It will result in extra revenue for the fire department where applicable and there are no additional costs for the city or homeowners.
At Monday’s meeting, executive unanimously passed a motion to enter into a three-year agreement with licensed Canadian company Fire Marque Inc. to recover costs “to which the City is entitled under existing insurance policies.” It is estimated to add $50,599 of additional revenue to the city per year.
Mayor Deb Higgins and Coun. Brian Swanson were absent from the meeting. Council will finalize executive’s decision at an upcoming meeting.
“We’re invoicing insurance companies what it costs fire departments. So we’re not invoicing the homeowner. We’re not invoicing the individual. Our relationship is with our insurance adjusters,” said Chris Carrier, national municipal accounts manager for Fire Marque.
“This is a program that does not harm your stakeholders in any way. It will not affect your policy premiums. It will not affect your deductible nor will it affect the amount you are entitled to receive.”
The funds are net payable to the City of Moose Jaw. Fire Marque Inc. will collect 30 per cent of the recoverable funds, which is taken into account in the estimated city revenue. Insurance rates will not go up as a result, said Carrier.
Moose Jaw is the second city in Saskatchewan to utilize a previously unused revenue source through Fire Marque. North Battleford also has an agreement with Fire Marque.
“We’ve asked everybody to look for innovative and new ways to do things and I’m just thrilled that we have the opportunity to do something new,” said Coun. Heather Eby. “Maybe we’re not first, but we’ll be second in the province. I look forward to seeing how this is going to roll out.”
City administration will need to prepare a required bylaw to legally make the insurance company pay the invoice. Carrier said the companies that are paying represent more than 50 per cent of the market share in Canada.
He provided a definition of indemnification technology, which is defined as “Fire department incident reporting, data collection, and property insurance policy wording interpretation to maximize billing opportunities on behalf of fire departments by invoicing insurance companies for costs of fire department attendance with respect to insured perils. Used in Canada since at least as early as March 22, 2010 on services.”
Fire Marque will act as the agent for filing claims on behalf of the city and recover insurance proceeds from the insurers where applicable.
“I don’t see any downfall with it. We’re going to recover costs out of insurance policy,” said Coun. Patrick Boyle. “It’s low risk. It’s a little more comforting to see North Battleford in it.”
Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick said it reminded her of companies going after grants for non-profit organizations.
“They don’t know that they’re out there at all and the companies do the leg work for you and they find out what fits your particular organization,” she said. “This is exactly what we had talked about as a council. We have talked about our departments looking for ways that they can increase revenues, looking for opportunities and bringing them forward to us.”
“It almost seems too good to be true that something’s come out of the woodwork and there’s a way for us to recover some costs,” said Coun. Dawn Luhning, adding she’d like to see revenues collected from Fire Marque in its own line in future budgets.
Coun. Don Mitchell said it is a “legitimate claim.”
“I think this is obviously something that we weren’t aware of,” he said, “But I can see the logic in terms of insurance policies.”
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.