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Low ISO will cut costs for insurance

Friday, July 16, 2004

MINER - With a new, lower ISO rating, Miner residents should see lower home insurance rates soon, but Fire Chief Benny Thurston isn't satisfied yet.

A Public Protection Classification survey conducted by ISO in March found enough improvements in Miner to lower the city's classification from 7 to 6. "This helps the insurance rates for the residents of Miner," Thurston said.

ISO is the leading supplier of statistical and underwriting information for the property insurance industry and most insurers use the PPC classifications for underwriting and calculating premiums.

In a letter congratulating the city, ISO officials advised they will notify subscribing insurers of the classification change within the next 30 days with an effective date of Sept. 1.

Also included was a summary of the ISO analysis.

Improvements to dispatching, fire fighting equipment and the city's water system were places Miner picked up extra points this time, according to Thurston. Overall, the department was also found to have improved record keeping for hose testing, pump testing and ladder testing. "It's something that wasn't done before," Thurston said.

Aug. 10, ISO officials will attend the regular Miner Board of Aldermen meeting to go over the results of the survey with the Board as well as to offer suggestions on how the city can further improve its classification.

To lower the city's rating again, it will take both equipment and more personnel, Thurston said.

"To have a better rating we need a ladder truck because of the motels and buildings we have in the city," he said. "We get a point for each person on duty."

Other places the department could pick up additional points are in training and in the fire code inspections of commercial, industrial and institutional buildings.

"In the dispatching area, the emergency backup system should be improved," Thurston said. Also, he said, ISO advised the monitoring of alarms that come back to the dispatch area could be improved.

"The water system is in pretty good shape out there," Thurston said, with no room for improvement other than "making sure we have an even flow throughout the city."

Thurston said he plans to request another inspection in a couple years.

"They haven't done one since 1990 out in Miner," he said. "There's really no set time - if we can show improvements, we can call them back to do another survey testing our department and determine if we can (again) lower our rating."