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Brigades fire up over non-insurance
Sunrise Exchange News, 10 July 2007

Victoria’s fire services have joined their insurance industry donors in advertising – quite literally – for greater awareness of non-insurance.

The country and metropolitan fire brigades are reminding homeowners and businesses through a series of print advertisements that they must pay the cost of a callout if they don’t have insurance.

Under state legislation, property owners are liable to pay “reasonable costs” for fire-fighting services if they don’t contribute to the fire services levy (FSL) through insurance. The FSL is automatically added to premiums when policyholders take out cover.

The advertisements also warn policyholders with insurance through direct offshore foreign insurers (DOFIs) they must pay the cost of fire services rendered if their insurer doesn’t pay the FSL.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) charges $400 for every 15 minutes it attends a fire. This cost doubles if more than one truck is used.

MFB Statutory Contributions Manager John Pantorno says the four-week ad campaign was launched last week in several newspapers as a public awareness exercise.

“It’s been a process we have looked at for a while, as it has become quite obvious we need to educate the public further about these issues,” he said. “We feel the timing is right.”