By Gary Abernathy [email protected]
The Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating for the Paint Creek Joint Fire/EMS District has improved from a 5 to a 3 in both Hillsboro and Greenfield, and also improved in other areas covered by the district following the most recent inspection to determine the department’s Public Protection Classification.
Paint Creek announced its new rating in a press release Friday. Lower ISO scores represent better ratings.
For Hillsboro, the rating is significant because the contract between the city and Paint Creek calls for the district to guarantee maintaining an ISO of at least 5, which was the rating when Hillsboro Fire & Rescue was in place. By improving its rating to a 3, inspectors are saying that Paint Creek has improved coverage and service in several areas.
In late 2013, as the city was moving toward the Paint Creek deal, Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Todd Wilkin told city council that with the reserve equipment that would be available with Paint Creek, the ISO rating could improve to a 4. Wilkin said Friday that the improvement to a 3 was great news, and was attributable not just to Paint Creek’s service, but to the city’s efforts to improve water flow over the last two years.
“We have increased water pressure with our water loop projects,” said Wilkin, referring to $1 million in water line improvement over the past two years. “That helps improve the ISO rating.”
Wilkin said the city remains satisfied with Paint Creek’s coverage. “We are tremendously happy with them,” said Wilkin. “We’ve never had a complaint from the public regarding Paint Creek. The improved rating doesn’t surprise me. Hopefully, insurance companies will recognize it and people will see lower insurance rates.”
Branden Jackman, public information office for Paint Creek, agreed, saying, “The ISO Public Protection Classification Program plays an important role in the underwriting process at insurance companies. In fact, most U.S. insurers – including the largest ones – use PPC information as part of their decision-making when deciding what business to write, coverages to offer, or prices to charge for personal or commercial property insurance.”
The previous ISO ratings for this area “encompassed many departments that are currently part of the Paint Creek Fire District,” the release stated. “At the time of evaluation, PCJEFD improved their PPC of 5 in the Village of Greenfield to a 3, improved the PPC in the City of Hillsboro from a PPC of 5 to a 3.”
In Highland County, “the townships of Paint, New Market and Washington improved their PPC from 09/10 to a 3/3Y. Madison Township remained at a 3/3Y. Liberty Township improved from a 05/5X to a new rating of a 3/3Y as well. Jackson Township’s PPC of a 10 remained the same.”
The district also covers townships in Fayette and Ross counties. In Ross County, the township of Buckskin improved its rating from a 05/5X to a 3/3Y, Paint Township was improved from a 09/10 to a 3/3Y and Perry Township in Fayette County, for which the district only provides fire coverage, improved its PPC from a 09/10 to a new rating of 03/3Y, according to the release.
Jackman said, “These are a lot of numbers and can be very confusing to the public. So you ask, what does this mean for residents of the district that have seen a significant drop in the PPC for their respective townships?”
Jackman said, “I reached out to Brett Barton of Newman Insurance Agency to assist me in providing some insurance estimates that would show in real dollars and cents what dropping from a PPC of 09/10 to a 03/3Y would do to insurance premiums. Brett cautioned us, though, that about 90% of the insurance companies use PPC ratings from ISO, but not all of them do. He also cautioned that they are unsure as an industry when the insurance companies that do use PPC ratings will implement these new rankings into their rate making decisions.”
Jackman added, “With that being said, Brett said an estimated premium of a $250,000 home on Pied Piper Parkway with a PPC of 9 would be $1,800 per year. This same home with a PPC of 3 would have an estimated premium of $1,300 per year.”
Jackman said, “Each insurance company independently determines the premiums it charges its policyholders. The way an insurer uses ISO’s information on public fire protection may depend on several things – the company’s fire-loss experience, ratemaking methodology, underwriting guidelines, and it’s marketing strategy.”
The press release stated that ISO Personal Protection Ratings are based on scores that the departments receive based on a standardized evaluation criterion. The following categories are evaluated:
• Needed Fire Flows, which are representative building locations used to determine the theoretical amount of water necessary for fire suppression purposes.
• Emergency Communications, including emergency reporting, tele-communicators, and dispatching systems.
• Fire Department, including equipment, staffing, training, geographic distribution of fire companies, operational considerations, and community risk reduction. “The district scored extremely well in this category and this led to us greatly improving our PPC across the district,” according to the release.
• Water Supply, including inspection and flow testing of hydrants, alternative water supply operations, and careful evaluation of the amount of available water compared to the amount needed to suppress fires up to 3,500 gpm.
“This improvement is a direct result of the hard work, training and dedication of all of the members of the Paint Creek Joint EMS & Fire District,” said Jackman.