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Filing a claim for services rendered with insurance companies ??

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  • Filing a claim for services rendered with insurance companies ??

    I was recently at a FD in Kentucky and the chief mentioned that their department bills automobile insurance companies when they repond to MVA's, auto fires, extrications, lockouts, etc.

    Our volunteer FD in Southern AL does bill insurance companies for rehab/clean up after a house fire but not for any auto related responses.

    What is the norm - do FD's charge insurance companies for services rendered? What type of services do you bill for? Any applicable laws relating to this in AL? Any other info greatly appreciated.

    Thanx for the info


    [ 01-26-2002: Message edited by: EOD TECH ]

  • #2
    We do not bill for MVAs as we are tax supported.

    We do bill for clean up and standby on commercial vehicles. Cleanup is limited to fuel and oil. Regional haz-mat team or a private contractor handles anything else.

    You need to have a standard rate for manpower, equipment, and supplies used. The manpower and equipment rates must be defensible as reasonable and necessary. You might check with other departments, haz-mat teams, etc. on their rates. Supplies should be billed at replacement cost.

    Do not bill for anything more than necessary to handle the incident. If four people can do the job with one piece of apparatus, do not bill for the other personnel and apparatus on scene.

    Most commercial carriers have a rather large deductible rate on their insurance and will want an itemized bill. The insurance companies are the same. Be prepared to defend you costs.

    Our experience has been good in collection rate by following the above guidelines.

    Good Luck


    • #3
      I hope NY doesn't get wind of this!! We're paying through the nose (and everywhere else) as it is! How about billing the idiots (esp. those who are doped up or drunk) who cause the accidents??
      "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
      -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)


      • #4
        In Massachusetts, responses to hazardous materials incidents are billable. So are EMS responses if the FD runs the ambulance service.
        ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
        Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY


        • #5
          Take a good long look at your homeowners insurance. You'll find out, most every State's insurance companies have a scheduled payout for every Fire Department response to your home.
          I would be suprised if 5% of all Departments ever bill the insurance companies for a response to a policy holders home.

          I know there are some insurance savy posters out there, am I wrong about this? I don't think there is any affect on the policy holders rates.


          • #6
            If you are tax supported, is that property tax? Do you tax vehicles or roadways? Should the homeowner pay for some out of state person's vehicle accident?

            Charging for anything less than what the cost of the call to the department was is not very smart. Financially or politically....

            If you are a paid on call department and 15 fire fighters show up. Do you charge 15x times hourly rate or as mentioned, 4x hourly rate and then you are -11x the hourly rate in the hole?????

            This has been a heated discussion in our department.


            • #7
              We are property tax supported. An organized fire district can levy up to one hundred twenty dollars per one hundred thousand dollars of assessed valuation.

              We based our billing on past experience. Can you justify three pieces of apparatus, and twelve people to clean up a few gallons of fuel? We do use our contract rate with state forestry for billing. One hundred dollars per hour for the engine, eleven dollars per hour for each firefighter. We are all volunteer.

              Most homeowners policys will pay a set amount for the fire response. Our problems have fallen into two areas. Some insurance companies have a clause in the policy that they will not pay the fire department if they are tax supported. The second is the insurance company despite our request, sends the check to the insured as part of the settlement. We just do not feel it is worth the two hundred fifty to five hundred dollars to press the insured for the money. The insurance claims people tend to ignore you when you request they honor your request knowing the chances of going to court are slim for that small amount of money.


              • #8
                We are a taxing district and town fd and do not bill for MVA's, but my question is? Our tax payers support us through taxes on their property, then why do we give away our service's to those who are from outside our tax boundaries? Wa state is reeling from several tax repealing measures and money that filtered from the state to our town are now gone. The District never saw any state money except for contracts and payment for fighting their fires. I'm afraid pay for services is just around the corner. What do you think??

                This is my opinion and does not reflect my departments views.
                Be Safe Out there.


                • #9
                  We bill 500to5000 per call and bring in a few hundred k a year, if you don't need the money don't bill.


                  • #10
                    We are not on a tax base and we bill extrications and all technical rescue responses. We bill insurance companies through Certified Ambulance Group who handles all the paperwork for a fee. We don't chase down individuals. We bill only for the wear and tear on the equipment - not for our time. It has worked well for us so far and we haven't had any complaints.
                    Susan Lounsbury
                    Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
                    Griffith Volunteer FD


                    • #11
                      "In my humble opinion..."

                      All FD's SHOULD be billing for services rendered at ALL incidents, in spite of being taxpayer supported or not.

                      If we agree that EMS billing for patient care costs to health insurers is an acceptable practice (read the small letters on your contact, all third-party underwriters have some reimbursement for "ambulance services", both emergency and non-emergency, with no consideration for prior payment of taxes to the responding agency), and that billing for HazMat recovery costs is also acceptable ("bill the spiller"), then REASONABLE charges for fire services rendered to business or homeowner insurance policies would be a logical extension of that.

                      Taxpayer support of any agency should be looked upon as a "maintenace agreement" between the taxpayer and the taxpayee (i.e. EMS, FD, Rescue, etc.)--you pay taxes to some governmental body to build and maintain roads, for example. Billing for services rendered should be viewed as a "user fee" when whatever emergency service is called out--if you travel on certain highways or thruways, you pay a toll to "use" that roadway.

                      Again, I emphasize that these charges must be in accordance with an established fee scale and reflect actual costs incurred by the responding agency--just because your whole department was paged out for an alarm doesn't mean that you can bill for every piece of equipment/firefighter/EMT, just the ones that actually rolled on the call, and then at a justifiable rate that accurrately reflects expenses incurred by the response (fuel used, mileage, personnel costs, etc.).

                      To get a professional opinion on this subject, I'd encourage interested parties to sit down with whatever legal advisors that their agencies employ (law director, solicitor, etc.) as well as their agency insurance rep.

                      The take home lesson is, if you don't ASK for the $$$, aint nobody going to GIVE it to you .
                      No good deed goes unpunished


                      • #12
                        Most Departments in this Province have initiated a system of billing out of town MVA's. They don't bill those from within the municipality as they already pay taxes. Also, any MVA that occurs on a Provincial Road is billed to the Ministry of Transportation for reimbursement.


                        • #13
                          Hey Ladycapn, What province would that be. There is a point to be made here. If a carrier is crossing your district and spills why should the dept. and indirectly the taxpayer cover the cost.
                          Summerville Vol Fire Dept
                          Pride In Service !


                          • #14
                            Weir_33, that would be Ontario. Most of the Departments I know of have a fee policy for MVA responses to "non residents". And that is exactly why, you live here and pay taxes, then you are covered. If not, then your insurance company is charged the response fee.


                            • #15
                              Were a tax based department.I've never heard of a vol department charging for accidents,Lockouts and stuff like that. I've heard of full time departs payed by the run. my personal feelings on this are i don't agree with it. Although we had a barn fire (which was in our district) last summer and the guy donated 500 bucks to the department. If they donate it that's fine but if you send them a bill . Plus this will make everyone's Car Insurance go up cause it's another bill for them.(so sure the department might be getting more money but we as the volunteers are paying out more for insurance for cars and trucks we drive to the station). Plus if you guys (which I'm sure) ever worked with Insurance companies(atleast my health insurance is this way) They'll think of every which way to get out of paying it.(even after you pay the premium and co-pay).They remind me of me when I was a kid and I had homework when it was sunny outside.I knew I had homework to do but I wanted to go outside and play.


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