Sandy Springs firefighters will receive special insurance for certain cancers, as mandated by a new law, under a policy approved by the City Council Dec. 19.

The new state law went into effect Jan. 1 and requires cities to provide insurance coverage to treat cancers that appear more frequently in firefighters, possibly due to exposure to carcinogens in their work.

Sandy Springs got the insurance through the Georgia Municipal Association’s Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency, which has a firefighters insurance program. The package of two combined policies has an annual premium of $21,056, according to Sandy Springs Fire Rescue Chief Keith Sanders. Firefighters do not pay any portion of the premium and automatically receive the coverage.

According to a city staff memo, the insurance was acquired via GIRMA – where city and county governments team to buy insurance – because the regular market is too expensive and volatile for the city’s budget and needs. The staff also recommended GIRMA, according to the memo, because it “offers a few extras, such as survivor benefits, which staff believes adds value to the coverage for the city’s firefighters at very little additional cost to the city.”

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.