ISO rating project positive for community

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The issue: Valley Grande works to lower property insurance rates.

Our position: This is another example of elected officials taking care of their constituents.

If you live in Valley Grande, chances are your property insurance rates may drop a bit. That’s because your city officials have taken the time to prepare to undergo its second Insurance Service Organization evaluation.

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Basically, insurance companies need reliable, up-to-date infromation about a city’s fire-protection services. the ISO program called Public Protection Classification does that.

ISO collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts by analyzing the data using its Fire Supression Rating Schedule. Then, ISO assigns a number from 1 to 10. One is the best, and 10 doesn’t meet ISO’s basic criteria.

This kind of program allows muncipalities to have an objective standard to meet.

Fires devastate.

Anyone who knows the history of the 1900s, knows that fires in major U.S. cities destroyed billions of dollars in property.

Insurance companies reconized they needed advance information on fire risks in individual communities.

In 1866, the National Board of Fire Underwriters began with the mission of promoting fire prevention and pubic fire protection.

Then, a Sunday morning fire in Baltimore wiped out 1,526 buildings &8212; more than 70 blocks and 140 acres &8212; resulting in the board forming the Municipal Inspection and Grading System. Under that,

engineers evaluated the fire potential of cities. Those cities improved their public fire-protection services.

Nothing much has changed.

ISO’s service is a direct descent of the Municipal Inspection and Grading System. Insurers have data to help them develop premiums that reflect the risk in a location.

Property owners in Valley Grande are hopeful that the recent paperwork submitted to ISO and an evaluation of the fire stations in Valley Grande and Summerfield will result in lower premiums.

Firefighters have worked diligently to get their trucks and equipment in shape for inspection. Valley Grande has been through one of these. Summerfield has not.

This is another way city officials help businesses and homeowners in their jurisdictions.

It is a voluntary process. It is a responsible and honorable way of taking care of residents and business owners in a community.