ISO inspection should not impact premiums

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Even though the City of Cassville didn't fare as well as it would have liked during an Insurance Service Office (ISO) inspection of the effectiveness of the city's building codes, area residents and business owners will not likely see changes in insurance premiums.

Bob Bishop, of State Farm Insurance in Cassville, said that State Farm bases residential and commercial insurance premiums on risk assessments.

"We look at losses based on zip code," said Bishop. "Cassville is not a big enough area to look at loss history and determine a rate. We use a bigger area and our own data to determine premiums."

State Farm insurance agents also inspect residences and commercial buildings to determine premiums, said Bishop.

Other local insurance agencies, such as American Family Insurance in Cassville, do use ISO ratings when determining insurance premiums, but those agencies focus on the rating assigned to the fire district serving the area where the home or business is located.

According to Daron Evans, Cassville Fire Protection District administrator, the district's ISO rating will not be impacted by ISO's recent inspection of Cassville's building codes and code enforcement.

"We were surprised when we read that Cassville's ISO rating would be going from a six to an eight," said Evans. "We hadn't heard anything about it, so we called the ISO office. We learned that this has nothing to do with our fire suppression rating.

"Building codes have nothing to do with the fire rating," said Evans. "That can only be impacted by the water system. There is no way our rate will move from a six to an eight."

The Cassville Fire Protection District has earned a rating of six inside the city limits of Cassville. The district also maintains of rating of seven in all areas of the district that are within five miles of a fire station.

Evans said 99 percent of residents served by the Cassville Fire Protection District live within five miles of a fire station.

According to Tom Geibel, ISO community mitigation analyst, ISO offers two different ratings, which are the Public Protection Classification (PPC) or fire rating and the Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) rating.

"The PPC rating is used by many insurance companies to establish rates on risks," said Geibel. "The BCEGS rating creates a credit the companies may apply to that rate."

Joseph Masington, ISO assistant vice president of risk decision services, said that PPC ratings are based on emergency communications, water supply and fire department equipment, staffing and training.

"ISO analyzes this information and assigns an advisory number from one to 10," said Masington. "Class one generally represents exemplary fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the community's fire suppression program does not meet ISO's minimum criteria. Classes are assigned to communities based on the protection area of a fire department.

"ISO administers the BCEGS on behalf of the property and casualty insurance industry, which provides for a consistent countrywide methodology to assess the building codes in effect in a particular community, and how the community enforces its building codes, with special emphasis on mitigation of losses from natural hazards," said Masington. "This program is separate from the PPC program and has no effect on a community's PPC grading."

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