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Firefighter insurer marks 25 years in business


March 3, 2016
By Maria Church
Kip Cosgrove from VFIS Canada is celebrating 25 years in business this year.

March 3, 2016 - In 1991, Kip Cosgrove moved to Canada to fill a market niche: to provide a national insurance option for firefighters.

Cosgrove brought the United States-based insurance company VFIS north of the border and at the 1991 International Association of Fire Chiefs conference held in Toronto, VFIS of Canada was launched.

"Because the program was so successful in the United States," Cosgrove said, "they felt that, hey, the Canadian fire service is very similar. Fighting fires is no different in Canada than in the U.S."

Now in its 25th year of business, VFIS of Canada insures more than 2,100 fire departments across the country.

VFIS of Canada pioneered several benefits that are now market standards, Cosgrove said, including cosmetic disfigurement from burns, and heart and circulatory malfunction.

Cosgrove is well known in the industry thanks to his presence at many conferences and trade shows. VFIS sponsors several associations and charities, finances educational guest speakers, and offers free educational programs to its clients.

"Today the volunteer firefighters needs to grab everything they can, and we really are giving them access to a lot of these great tools free of charge," Cosgrove said in an interview.

"If they weren't buying my program, I wouldn't be able to offer back anything, but because our program is taking off, we want to give back to the fire service."