CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Joe Manchin today announced West Virginia Volunteer Fire Departments (VFDs) will receive broadform insurance coverage through the Board of Risk and Insurance Management (BRIM) effective Sept. 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011.
“I am grateful BRIM has stepped in to provide insurance coverage, and peace of mind, for our VFDs,” Gov. Manchin said. “In addition, the BRIM coverage will provide the Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Task Force much needed time to further study all aspects of the workers’ compensation challenge affecting volunteer firefighters.”
Prior to BRIM, 281 volunteer fire houses were faced with losing their broadform coverage, currently provided by BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company, as of September 1st. West Virginia is served by 426 full-volunteer fire departments, of which 281 have recently held broadform insurance policies with BrickStreet. Earlier this month, BrickStreet agreed to extend this coverage from July 1, 2010, through Aug. 31, 2010, while the VFD Workers’ Compensation Task Force, chaired by West Virginia Department of Revenue Secretary Virgil T. Helton, studies the issues.
“The 60-day extension from BrickStreet, while generous, did not allow us time to find a permanent solution,” Manchin said. “BRIM’s action is a temporary solution that will allow VFDs to receive continual broadform coverage while providing ample time for the task force to fully study the issues and find a permanent solution.”
“BRIM is pleased to step in and offer broadform coverage to this subdivision of state government, and to our brothers and sisters at volunteer fire departments,” BRIM Director Charles E. Jones said. “We hope those current policy holders will find comfort in knowing they can obtain temporary coverage through BRIM.”
Earlier this month, the governor secured temporary relief from workers’ compensation premium increases from BrickStreet, and then called upon Secretary Helton to form a group of stakeholders to provide a permanent solution.
“Our volunteer firefighters, and the communities they serve, are eager to see the fire departments’ insurance needs addressed. In just three weeks, the task force has made great progress,” said Manchin. “This BRIM coverage allows the task force time to continue its diligent research of the issues at play and provide a well thought-out resolution without the strain of knowing our everyday heroes are operating while uninsured.”
Secretary Helton will call the next task force meeting for 10 a.m. on August 30 at the State Capitol.