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Hardin Gets Better Insurance Rating

June 19, 2002

The City of Hardin has received a letter from Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), stating the Hardin Fire Department’s fire suppression services have improved. The letter stated that the city has been reclassified from a rating of an 8, to a rating of a 6. This reclassification, in some cases, will lower homeowners’ insurance premiums.

ISO’s survey of the Hardin Fire Department indicated that the fire suppression services are “improving in the face of the demands of a changing environment.”

What is ISO?

ISO (Insurance Services Office) is a company that rates Fire Departments nationwide on their ability and resources to fight fires. The rating is on a 1 to 10 scale, 1 being the best possible rating, 10 being the worst (also known as unprotected). ISO then publishes these ratings for the insurance industry to use. The insurance industry uses these ratings to determine homeowner's insurance rates.

ISO surveys are based upon reviewing 3 criteria:

Fire alarm and communication system. This review accounts for 10 percent of the total classification and centers on a community’s facilities and support for handling and dispatching fire alarms.

Fire Department. This review accounts for 50 percent of the total classification and focuses on items such as engine companies, distribution of fire stations, equipment carried on apparatuses, pumping capacity, reserve apparatus, department staffing and training.

Water Supply System. This review accounts for 40 percent of the total classification, highlighting the water supply a community uses for fire suppression, including hydrant size, type and installation, as well as the inspection frequency and condition of fire hydrants.

The new rating of 6 places Hardin in the top 25% of Missouri fire departments, and in the top 40% of fire departments nationwide. Richmond and Lawson are the only departments in Ray County rated higher and they both have a classification of 5.

According to a local insurance agent, this new classification opens up more opportunities for city property owners. “There are some insurance companies who will not write insurance policies for locations classified below a 6.” stated the agent, “For Hardin to qualify as a 6 is quite an accomplishment.”

As an example of how a reclassification can save home and property owners, a typical homeowner policy was reviewed. A homeowner with a house worth $60,000 may save $40 a year. A homeowner with a house worth $150,000 may save $84.00 a year. The amount of possible savings will vary with each insurance company. Business owners can also use the new rating to request that their insurance premiums be reviewed and possibly lowered.

“It is important to inform city residents that the decision they made in 1999 to vote in a Fire Protection District is seeing a return,” stated Malcolm Cunningham, Hardin Fire Chief. “We are now realizing the results of the trust that the voters placed upon us and the work done within the department. In a lot of cases the savings on a homeowners’ insurance policy will more than cover the amount now paid in taxes to support the fire district. Putting our fire department in the top 25% level in Missouri is quite an achievement and shows the dedication of our volunteer firefighters to the community. This new rating is the results of a collaborative effort with the Mayor and City government, the Fire Protection District Board of Directors and the Fire Department. I would like to especially recognize some individuals who were instrumental in making this possible. They are Tom Burton who did a lot of the preparation work, Tom Green who does our fire department record keeping, and Eddie Bolen who worked with us on the city water department issues.”

An ISO representative surveyed the city on February 23rd of 2002. The surveyor reviewed the fire department’s training paperwork and did an inventory of the fire trucks and equipment. Hydrant tests were also performed to measure the city’s water supply system. The surveyor submitted the findings to the ISO office in Chicago who collated the results and informed the city.

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