The Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program, administered by the Texas Forest Service, helps provide equipment and training to volunteer fire departments across Texas.
The program is funded by an annual assessment on property and casualty insurers authorized to do business in Texas, including stock companies, mutual insurance companies, farm mutual insurance companies, county mutual insurance companies, Lloyd’s plans and reciprocal or inter-insurance exchanges.
As determined by the Commissioner of Insurance, the Comptroller’s office is required to assess the lesser of $30 million or the total amount that the General Appropriations Act appropriates from the volunteer fire department assistance fund account in the general revenue fund for that state fiscal year, other than appropriations for contributions to the Texas Emergency Services Retirement System. The total assessment amount for fiscal year Sept. 1, 2021, through Aug. 31, 2022, is $23,051,548. For fiscal year Sept. 1, 2022, through Aug. 31, 2023, the total assessment amount is $23,051,549.
Each insurer’s assessment is based on its share of all direct premiums written in Texas according to the Exhibit of Premiums and Losses (Statutory Page 14) of the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s (NAIC) Annual Statement. The assessment applies to an insurer writing the following six lines of business:
To calculate each insurer’s share of the total assessment, we divide the insurer’s Texas direct premiums written for these six lines of business by the total of all insurance companies’ Texas direct premiums written for the same lines. We then multiply the resulting percentage by the total assessment amount to arrive at each insurer’s portion.
Insurers do not report this assessment to the Comptroller’s office. The Comptroller’s office mails assessment billings to insurers in late May of each year. Payment is due no later than Aug. 1; the assessment notice includes instructions for computing penalty and interest if the payment is not made by this date. Insurers cannot use the assessment as a credit against premium or maintenance tax. The assessment cannot be included on the retaliatory tax worksheet. An insurer can recover the assessment only as authorized by Insurance Code, Chapter 2007.
If you have questions about the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program, please contact the Texas Forest Service at 979-458-6507.