Greenville improves ISO rating

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Greenville homeowners could see lower insurance premiums after the city’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) ranking improved from Class 5 to Class 3.

ISO monitors fire departments’ abilities to respond to emergencies, as well as infrastructure, water departments, and E-911 service. ISO then rates the overall safety of an area on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the safest and 10 being the most unsafe.

The lower a score, the lower insurance rates typically are for home and business owners in the area.

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“We hope homeowners will see a decrease in their (insurance) rates, or at the very least that the rates would remain level, but that’s up to the insurance companies,” Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said. “There are insurance companies that don’t use the ISO rate, and instead use another rate. I don’t want everyone to think that all of sudden their rates are going to drop, but they could with our new rate.”

Greenville Fire Department Chief Chad Phillips said a city is typically evaluated every 10 years. Greenville’s last evaluation was in 2002 when it received a Class 5 ranking.

“We’ve been a Class 5 for at least the last 23 years,” Phillips said. “To say that I’m a little bit happy would be an understatement. I’m very excited for us to be rated a Class 3. It’s one of those things that took a lot of work for us to achieve. The water department and E-911 both did an excellent job.”

According to Phillips, E-911’s evaluation counted for 10 percent of the city’s overall ranking, while the water department counted for 40 percent and the fire department counted for 50 percent.

Phillips said one of the reasons for the improved ranking was the data collection the city has done over the past 12 years.

“The data that is reviewed for this grading process is a collection between fire, water, and 911 that represents years of work,” Phillips said.  “It is vital that the data be collected, managed, and retrieved efficiently in order to produce results that can be reviewed for the grading process.  So much of this work is done behind the scenes and not front and center in the public’s eye.  I am proud of each department represented in this grading for being able to produce the information needed to effectively lower the rate.  I am very happy that our protection class is now a 3, but I will always strive and work towards being the best, and that is a Class 1.  That means that additional infrastructure is needed within all the departments, which takes time to build.  We did not become a Class 3 overnight, therefore the building process will continue.”

Phillips said Greenville is one of 2,410 cities to achieve a Class 3 ranking.

The new rates will go into effect on November 1, 2014.

“As far as how this will affect insurance rates for individuals and businesses, it is independent of each insurance company,” Phillips said. “The fire department, nor ISO can give an answer to that question.  Residents and business owners should seek advice from their insurance companies to determine how the new protection class will impact their premiums.”