Reduction in Insurance Services Office Rating
The department and community was able to reduce our former rating of a Class 4 to a Class 3. The Insurance Services Office (ISO) is an organization that provides information regarding property/casualty risk to insurance providers from around the country. Insurers utilize this information and other factors, including actual loss, to determine risk and ultimately the cost of insurance premiums.
Public Protection Classification
To provide this information ISO developed a rating system called the Public Protection Classification. This is in essence a rating of the fire protection for a community and incorporates the fire department, water supply system and emergency communications systems or 911.
ISO evaluators will schedule visits to communities and conduct a comprehensive investigation of response history, training records, fire apparatus testing, and maintenance and various other facets of the fire department which now includes public education, inspections and community risk reduction activities. The Holland Board of Public Works and Ottawa County Central Dispatch are also evaluated.
As a result of evaluations in 1992 and 2010, the City received a Class 4. In 2015 another evaluation was conducted by ISO. Through the efforts of Lieutenant Brendt Sheridan and others, documentation of the department was completed and submitted to ISO for review and consideration. As a result of their evaluation of the department, OCCDA and HBPW our rating was improved to a Class 3. For reference, ISO has 10 classifications. Class 10 being the worst to Class 1 being the best.
Some reasons for this include the following:
- Credit received for Community Risk Reduction (Inspection and Prevention)
- Formal Automatic Mutual Aid Agreements and Full response to fires by all 3 stations and part paid personnel
- Gaining credit for annual inspection and documentation of fire hydrants
Although there are a number of factors that go into how insurance rates are calculated, it is generally noted that an improvement in Protection Classification translates to reduced premiums. The department is currently investigating what this can mean to the community and we have reached out to insurance providers in the area to get an assessment on how this affects policyholders.
Finally, in the absence of formal accreditation of the department, ISO Classifications can be a relative indicator of the quality of fire protection provided to a community. A review of ISO documents indicated that in 2015 there were only 3,056 communities throughout the United States that had a rating of Class 3.
Residents and businesses are encouraged to contact their insurance providers to determine if this may be an opportunity to seek a reduction in rates and premiums.