Residents in The Colony may soon receive discounted insurance premiums thanks to an upgraded safety rating the fire department recently achieved.
Fire Chief Scott Thompson told the City Council on Tuesday that the department has received a rating of 2 from the Insurance Services Office (ISO), a national organization that grades cities' fire protection.
The Colony’s new rating is an improvement from its previous grade of 3. In addition, Thompson said The Tribute was at a 9 because of its distance from a fire station, but now The Tribute has a rating of 2.
Home and business insurance companies often factor in ISO ratings when coming up with an insurance rate.
“Depending on who their insurer is they could see a tremendous improvement on their homeowners (insurance),” Thompson said.
Earlier this year the office inspected three departments in the city – dispatch, water distribution and fire. When grading a fire service ISO looks at various factors, such as its engine and reserve engine companies, ladder and reserve ladder companies, pump capacity, personnel, training and operations.
Thompson said The Colony received 83.81 points out of a possible 106.5 points.
“That’s pretty good considering all of the areas they looked at,” Thompson said.
A department must reach a score of 90 to reach an ISO 1, the highest grade possible.
“We did pretty well,” Thompson said. “There are some areas we can improve in, and my hope is that when Fire Station 5 opens we can request a re-inspection and have the possibility of getting an ISO 1, which is as good as you can get.”
Thompson said an ISO 1 is difficult to obtain, adding that there are only 329 cities in the country that have an ISO 1. He said there are 1,545 have an ISO 2. The most common rating is ISO 5, which 9,333 cities have.
He said homeowners usually benefit the most in a Class 2. He said businesses receive the biggest benefit in Class 1.
Thompson said residents should call their insurance company to request a lower premium for fire protection based on the ISO 2.
Thompson said many insurance companies will have the city’s ISO rating in their database. Otherwise they can call the fire department, which will send them a letter to confirm the rating.
Thompson said he’s hopeful an ISO of 1 is in the city’s future.
“If we want to get to a 1, it will cost some money,” Thompson said. “We’ll have to bring in a consultant who can figure out where the points can be obtained. We’ll have to invest more in training and personnel. So to get a 2 without investing in that is a huge accomplishment.”