A tradition of doing the right thing.

VFIS was first on the scene to create an insurance program specifically designed around the unique needs of fire and emergency services personnel—and we're still responding today by continually evolving to meet their everchanging needs. Because, much like our founder, caring for emergency responders isn't just something we do—it's who we are.

It's more than our history—it's our roots.

Art Glatfelter sitting at a desk
1951—One man with a mission.

Arthur J. Glatfelter, a former marine, moved his kitchen table out of the dining room in his Pennsylvania home to make room for a desk—and he opened his newly-founded insurance agency. The Glatfelter Agency was a seemingly perfect career choice for someone who deeply valued connecting with and helping others—but Art's insurance legacy was just beginning.

Art Glatfelter and associates standing beside an old firetruck
1968—An opportunity to serve responders

As Art's clientele book grew, he retained several local volunteer fire departments. This is when his tireless drive to help led him to realize the severe need to create better protections for our nation's emergency responders who put their lives on the line every day—and he decided to take on the challenge.

He took years to talk with every fire chief he could to gain a deep understanding of their insurance and risk management needs. This research led him to develop an Accident and Sickness policy to provide meaningful benefits to injured fire department members, which was first purchased by the Fayetteville Volunteer Fire Company on October 11, 1968.

Vintage Ad featuring Art and dog
1969—Pioneering the insurance industry

With this new product and the hope to help more emergency service organizations, VFIS was established in 1969—and America's first ever insurance program designed to meet the needs of emergency service organizations was born.

Antique fire helmet and hose
1971—Expanding coverage to P&C

As Art continued to travel and meet even more firefighters, he saw that insurance providers were also missing protections for their unique facilities and equipment. That's when VFIS coverage expanded to help cover buildings, apparatus and “portable equipment”—another truly innovative product which covers equipment at the station, emergency scene or anywhere in between.

Art Glatfelter and associates
1973—Establishing the Regional Director system

It was clear that VFIS products could help responders across the country—but Art didn't like the idea of traditional satellite offices that were run by people who he didn't know. It always came back to relationships for him. So, he spent a few years traveling, meeting people and looking for potential partners who were truly concerned about emergency services personnel. A few handshakes later (with some truly outstanding people) and the Regional Director system was created to help responders with their insurance needs throughout the country.

Emergency Vehicle Driver Training Course Fire Chief Bob Little
1976—Saving lives through education + training

Bob Little, a local Fire Chief, retired and joined VFIS as the first Director of Safety + Education. He introduced the safety and risk management programs, including the first ever Emergency Vehicle Driver Training (EVDT) program—which soon became the gold-standard in the industry. These initiatives allowed VFIS to truly aid in saving countless lives and helped to establish VFIS as more than an insurance provider.

Emergency Vehicle Driver Training Course
1980Addressing evolving concerns

Chief Bob Little spent a lot of time attending state and national fire conferences and that's where he learned that many fire departments didn't have enough volunteers and it was creating a huge strain on many departments. So, VFIS got to work again and developed a Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) to provide dedicated volunteer members with benefits based on their length of service.

Although it's difficult to measure the depth of impact this product has had, recruitment and retention remains a major challenge today—and we're proud that LOSAP continues to aid fire departments and the volunteer fire department model today.

A crowd applauds Art Glatfelter
1982—Becoming leaders in advocacy

VFIS continued to be immersed in the emergency services industry and dedicated to finding more ways to give back, including providing funds for scholarship and sponsorship opportunities like the Fire Prevention Awards for Firemen's Association of the State of Pennsylvania.

We also remained heavily involved with groups that advocate for emergency responders' best interest including the National Fire Service, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Eastern Division and International Fire Chiefs Foundation—which Art became the president of in 1982.

Since then, VFIS has continued to expand relationships with many industry organizations and pursue opportunities to give back, including the Arthur J. Glatfelter Scholarship which was introduced in 1991 and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation's Arthur J. Glatfelter Distinguished Service Award which was introduced in 2015 after Mr. Glatfelter's passing in 2013.

"VFIS has been a major component of revolutionizing the way we protect our volunteers and all firefighters throughout the U.S. Kudos to the founding father and to those who keep us updated through technology, training, protocols, policy—VFIS has always been there. The management team has been especially dedicated to volunteer firefighters."
Kevin Quinn, National Volunteer Fire Council
"CFSI was established 23 years ago, and we didn't know where the organization would go, what our role was or how we would grow. But those seeds were planted for our organization. Art Glatfelter was there. He helped us plant those seeds—and he watched us grow. He was a part of that growing effort, and for that, CFSI is indebted to Art. Not only to Art, but to Glatfelter Insurance Group and VFIS."
Bill Webb, Congressional Fire Services Institute
Art Glatfelter and VFIS Canada
1992—VFIS goes international

VFIS expands into Canada with an office in Toronto—making our Accident & Sickness coverage an international product.

Meet VFIS of Canada
Art Glatfelter and company standing outside of the original Glatfelter Insurance HQ
1996—Project Independence

VFIS breaks ties with Cigna to become an insurance company and risk bearer.

Emergency responders loading patient in to an ambulance
2002—Overcoming Tragedy

The tragedy of September 11, 2001 changed not just the emergency services industry, but the entire country, forever. During this tough time, VFIS continued its tradition of searching for ways to provide coverage to the responders impacted, rather than deny it.

With additional spotlight on the needs of first responders—VFIS expanded our offerings once again, this time with a special focus on all responders, including EMS personnel and 911 call centers, who all played such a critical role in helping America rebuild and recover.

Two firefighters using ResponderHelp on a laptop in the station
2008—Education + training in the digital age

VFIS launched our online learning management system, VFIS University, to help responders address their risks and expand their skillsets—online, anytime, anywhere. VFISu remains a hub for specialized online training for fire and EMS personnel and classes are continually added and updated.

Check out VFIS University
Art Glatfelter standing beside a firetruck
2014—A focus on value

VFIS has always remained focused on providing the best coverage options available and having value-added services that make a difference. In 2014, we made major strides to enhance our overall program including policy changes through enhancement filings, new A&S benefits and expanding our education and training programs.

Firefighters removing their gear
2018—Changing legislation with a focus on wellness

Cancer is a top concern for all fire service leaders… And rightfully so. Knowing this, our team members set out in 2018 to assist insurance and fire industry professionals in Georgia and New York with state-specific legislation that requires fire departments to have Cancer Coverage for their members and then created products to meet each state's unique laws and goals. Since then, we've done the same in multiple states and hope to continue to join other similar grassroots efforts across the country.

AIG/Glatfelter Employees discussing the best strategy to support clients
2018—The backing of a global partner

Glatfelter Insurance Group, VFIS' parent organization, is acquired by AIG—which positions Glatfelter for continued, improved growth.

AIG/Glatfelter Employees discussing the best strategy to support clients
2019—Launch of ResponderHelp.com

As a part of VFIS' 50th anniversary celebration, we launch ResponderHelp.com as a gift to the emergency services community. The site brings together thousands of specialized resources for emergency responders including free SOGs, articles, technical bulletins and training materials from a broad variety of industry specialists including the United States Fire Administration, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, International Association of Fire Chiefs' Volunteer + Combination Officers Section, the National Volunteer Fire Council and many more.

Visit ResponderHelp
A firefighter hanging his head down into his hands
2022—A continued focus on wellness

VFIS offers Member Family Assistance Program (MFAP) to A&S policy holders to help support the health and wellness of first responder employees, volunteers and their workplace, including services that help enable responders to resolve personal and work-related issues to maintain productivity, health and wellness.

Bryan Duquin standing in a door with flames behind him
today—The legacy continues

What started as one man's vision to do the right thing for our hometown heroes has turned into a true mission for countless VFIS associates. That's why the people at VFIS—and their passion and dedication to emergency services—have been, and always will be, the key to carrying the legacy forward..

Meet today's team