Del. Bill Would Ban Car Insurance Hikes for Volunteer Emergency Workers

May 19, 2008

Insurance companies in Delaware would be banned from raising the auto insurance rates of policyholders or dropping their policies because they are volunteer firefighters and ambulance company members a under proposed legislation.

Senate Bill 239 is sponsored by state Sens. Patricia Blevins and Bruce Ennis and state Reps. Biff Lee and Bill Carson. It was authored by Insurance Commissioner Matt Denn and is being supported by the Delaware Volunteer Firemen’s Association.

The bill was drawn up after a case was brought to the Department of Insurance where a Sussex County volunteer firefighter was told by his insurance company that his auto policy was being cancelled because he used his personal vehicle to respond to emergency calls.

“Members of fire and ambulance companies are sacrificing their time and safety for the rest of us when they head for the station to go out on a call,” said Denn. “The least we can do for these emergency response volunteers is keep insurance companies from raising their rates or canceling their policies.”

“It is unacceptable to me that these selfless volunteers could be penalized by their insurance companies. That’s what this bill is designed to prevent,” Sen. Blevins said.

“I’ve had several incidents over the years that have come to my attention that volunteer firemen have learned of a rate increase or termination of their policies and have tried to help,” Sen. Ennis said. “This bill will clearly indicate that is against the law.”

“What this legislation does is prevent insurance companies from intimidating fire service personnel from performing a very valuable service,” said Ron Marvel, president of the Delaware Volunteer Firemen’s Association.

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