RALEIGH, N.C.— A new provision in the state budget will strip the North Carolina Insurance Commissioner of his role as State Fire Marshal.
Commissioner Mike Causey says he was unhappy learning about the decision that was made without informing him, local fire marshals, and fire departments.
“This legislation is really going to turn the worlds of the fire departments upside down and it’s a bad idea.” Causey said.
Under the new provision, Causey would have to appoint someone else to a three year term as fire marshal and the decision would have to be approved by the general assembly. Causey says this would create a hold up in fire safety ratings and affect homeowner insurance rates.
“There is a direct correlation between what people pay on their homeowners insurance and their fire safety rating on their local fire department.” Causey said.
Causey says fire departments are rated by water supply, availability of fire hydrants, equipment, and response time to name a few.
“Fire departments are rated on a scale of 10 to 1, 1 being the best of the best. If you’re out in the country and your fire department’s rated a class 9 or 10, you are paying the highest per thousand for insurance for your homeowners.” Causey said.
During his two yeas with the N.C. Department of Insurance and the office of State Fire Marshal During, Causey focused on working with fire departments to improve their ability to help their communities.
“It has worked so well that’s why so many fire chiefs and fire departments are asking me what are they doing, what’s the legislature thinking. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Causey said.
According the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal, in 2017 North Carolina had six class one fire departments all across the state. Today, North Carolina has 30 class one fire departments across the state.