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Advocate editorial board opinion: New fire department rating could save homeowners money

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Sept. 17, 2011 at 4:17 a.m.
Updated Sept. 18, 2011 at 4:18 a.m.


Good news about the Victoria Fire Department's improved effective fire protection rating: The Insurance Services Office will change the department's 4 rating to a 2 (best rating is a 1) on Jan 1.

We congratulate our fire department on this news because it means we have a safer community in terms of fires. The Victoria Fire Department's fire stations are strategically positioned throughout the city and response time to fires is quicker.

Other criteria include the efficiency of equipment and its age.

The new rating goes into effect Jan. 1, but homeowners can figure on lower insurance premiums in the future because of the better rating.

State Farm spokesman Kevin Davis, in Austin, said his company does not use the ISO for its information about communities and fire protection ability.

"We use subzones, a substantial amount of data. It takes all causes of lost claims into account," Davis said.

He added that ISO is specific to fire coverage. According to iso.com, "ISO collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. In each of those communities, ISO analyzes the relevant data using our Fire Suppression Rating Schedule. We then assign a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents exemplary public protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program doesn't meet ISO's minimum criteria."

However, Davis said if Victoria has improved fire protection, all insurance companies will realize this in time.

"If you got better fire service, and it is in your subzone, you'll get a better rating over time," he said.

Victoria State Farm agent Bruce Wood echoed Davis' positive outlook.

"This is awesome. It's great for the community as a whole that we have an active fire department pursuing improvement," Wood said.

While fire protection is great in the city, outside the city limits is a different story. There, ISO ratings of 9 and 10 exist. We encourage our elected leaders to work on improving that rating for our rural residents.

But, in the meantime, we think our fire department has done a great job in improving fire protection in our community.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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