Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale recently presented the 346th check issued as part of the Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Assistance Program (RFTAAP) to the Board of Supervisors of Jefferson Davis County.
Since 1988, Dale and the Mississippi Department of Insurance (MDOI) have focused on improving fire protection statewide by expanding the number of rural fire departments and enhancing their capabilities. There are now 210 rated fire districts in Mississippi. The number of fire departments has increased from 350 in 1988 to 765 today, while the number of firefighters statewide has increased from 5,000 in 1988 to 15,000 in 2002.
Since 1995, RFTAAP has distributed nearly $17 million in state funds towards the purchase of 341 new fire trucks by cities and counties whose fire departments primarily serve rural and suburban areas. One in three Mississippians now receive protection from a fire department that has purchased one or more trucks through RFTAAP. Working with local governments, MDOI has provided fire ground training and administrative know-how along with seed monies to improve the quality of fire protection services statewide.
The net result of these efforts: 1.3 million Mississippians have improved their insurance class since 1995.
“The state’s $17 million public investment easily generates more than that amount in savings to homeowners on their insurance premiums each year,” Dale said.
In an era of rising insurance costs, savings to the homeowner generated by improvements in firefighting infrastructure are significant. An improvement in district rating from a Class 10 to a Class 9 can lead to as much as a 24 percent reduction in homeowners insurance premium, while an upgrade to a Class 8 can add an additional 20 percent savings.
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