By Ronda Scholting
West Metro Fire Rescue has been awarded a Class 1 ISO rating, the highest level recognized nationally by the Insurance Services Office. The rating is a gauge of a fire agency’s ability to serve its residents and business owners, and is awarded based on a number of key factors that relate to the overall effectiveness of fire protection services.
For business or homeowners in West Metro’s district, the Class 1 rating is expected to result in millions of dollars in savings on property insurance.
“Our new ISO rating was driven by West Metro’s commitment to our district – to always be looking for opportunities to improve our service,” said Don Lombardi, Fire Chief, West Metro Fire Rescue. “The new rating is validation for our firefighters and staff that what we’ve been doing is creating a safer community.”
The ISO system ranks for a Class 1 (the best) to Class 10, which is no fire coverage at all. Generally, the higher the rating, the less costly the property insurance. In West Metro’s district, with the new Class 1 ISO rating, a typical homeowner, with a home valued at $300,000, could see annual insurance savings of around $200. The new rating will save business owners approximately 3 to 5 percent on commercial insurance premiums depending on building construction.
The Insurance Services Office evaluates fire-response agencies nationwide (around 46,000), about every 10 years. The ISO bases its independent rating on a number of factors, including staffing, apparatus, training, 911 communications, water supply and response times.
“The ISO review is very detailed,” said Lombardi. “They look at dozens of areas, including items like the number and placement of fire hydrants and how far our fire stations are from the neighborhoods they serve. The ISO rating focuses specifically on fire response and does not rate any of our special teams.”
Only 0.5 percent of approximately 46,000 fire agencies across the country earn a Class 1 rating. And, only 60 of the 239 internationally accredited fire agencies have a Class 1 rating.
Insurance companies will be informed of West Metro’s new rating, beginning May 1. Homeowners and business owners should check with their carrier to see how the new rating will affect their property insurance.