City’s fire ISO rat­ing im­proves

The Covington News - - LOCAL - GABRIEL KHOULI

Cov­ing­ton res­i­dents could be see­ing some sav­ings on their home­own­ers in­sur­ance in com­ing years thanks to the city’s fire pro­tec­tion rat­ing im­prov­ing.

The Cov­ing­ton Fire Depart­ment’s ISO (In­sur­ance Ser­vice Of­fice) rat­ing, a mea­sure of a depart­ment’s abil­ity to fight fires, im­proved from a Class 3 rat­ing to a Class 2 rat­ing on ISO’s scale of 1 to 10, with 10 rep­re­sent­ing a com­mu­nity with very lit­tle fire pro­tec­tion and 1 rep­re­sent­ing a com­mu­nity with op­ti­mal fire pro­tec­tion.

The rat­ing is one of the vari­ables that in­sur­ance com­pa­nies use when de­ter­min­ing home­own­ers’ and busi­ness own­ers’ in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums, said All State in­sur­ance agent Jim Dolvin. Fire pro­tec­tion is a stan­dard part of most home and build­ing pro­tec­tion poli­cies, and res­i­dents and businesses lo­cated with the Cov­ing­ton city lim­its are likely to see at least some re­duc­tions, Dolvin said.

The new class will go into ef­fect Aug. 1; res­i­dents should con­tact their in­sur­ance provider to find out if they’re el­i­gi­ble for sav­ings now or the next time their pol­icy re­news, Dolvin said.

Cov­ing­ton Fire Chief John McNeil said this last bonus cat­e­gory was added in the years since ISO did their last eval­u­a­tion in March 2007, and the cat­e­gory’s in­clu­sion helped Cov­ing­ton be­cause they have in­creased their em­pha­sis on fire in­spec­tions, fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion and fire ed­u­ca­tion.

McNeil said he’s en­cour­aged that ISO is look­ing at ef­forts to pre­vent fires, not just fight the ones that oc­cur.

“(The rat­ing) isn’t just re­ac­tive any­more,” he said.

McNeil said the depart­ment has ded­i­cated po­si­tions for a fire safety ed­u­ca­tor and a fire train­ing of­fi­cer, both of which have helped Cov­ing­ton im­prove their score.

In ad­di­tion, he said all fire­fight­ers are now trained to do fire in­spec­tions for commercial build­ings, which are now done an­nu­ally. Fire­fight­ers will in­spect smaller businesses, while the fire mar­shal’s of­fice in­spects the larger businesses and in­dus­tries, McNeil said.

McNeil said ISO used to do re-eval­u­a­tions of rat­ings ev­ery 10 years, but he said they are try­ing to do them once ev­ery three years now.

On ISO’s web­site, they have a graph that shows many to­tal de­part­ments fall in each rat­ing class. The graph doesn’t have a date listed, so it’s un­clear if it’s up to date. How­ever, here is the break­down: • Class 1 – 1 • Class 2 – 26 • Class 3 – 68 • Class 4 – 175 • Class 5 – 264 • Class 6 – 183 • Class 7 – 68 • Class 8 – 19 • Class 8B – 8 • Class 9 – 206 • Class 10 – 2 While the ISO re­duc­tion will re­duce in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums, McNeil said a lower rat­ing is also a tool when com­mu­ni­ties are try­ing to at­tract businesses and in­dus­tries.

“If you go to (an­other city) and their rat­ing is a 4 and you come here and ours is a 2, big in­dus­tries and commercial businesses know it’s go­ing to im­pact how much they pay for in­sur­ance. Those guys are tuned into that,” McNeil said.

New­ton County’s Fire Depart­ment re­ceived a Class 5/9 rat­ing in 2012; the split rat­ing re­flects the rat­ings of people who do (5 rat­ing) and don’t (9 rat­ing) live within 1,000 feet and five road miles of a fire sta­tion.

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