A brief two-year period since attaining a three-level rise in ISO (Insurance Services Office) classification from Class 5 to Class 2, the Town of Prosper has been notified of a reclassification to ISO Class 1/1X, the highest and most advantageous of the ratings for fire protection.
The announcement was received by Town Manager Harlan Jefferson and includes the results of an extensive review of the Town’s overall capabilities of responding to and fighting fires. Implementation of the new classification must await the approval of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, a legally-required formality.
“The classification to the highest level is a testament to the hard work of the Fire Department,” said Jefferson. “But it also reflects the training and efficiency of our Dispatch personnel and the steadfast work of the Water Division in Public Works. It’s a coordinated effort that stands to benefit everyone.”
While the change has been approved at the ISO level, the effective date of the change will come later in the year, allowing insurance companies, appraisers and actuaries time to enter the new classification into their pricing structures.
“This is extremely good news, and it shows that we are doing all the right things in Prosper,” said Fire Chief Stuart Blasingame. “While the change from Class 2 to Class 1 may mean a slight break on insurance rates for homeowners, the new rating makes a larger difference for commercial establishments.”
Under the ISO program, called the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule, communities can score between 1 and 10, with Class 1 being the most exemplary and Class 10 being the least. To come up with the new rating, the ISO evaluated the Town in three areas:
- Fifty percent of the score took into account Prosper’s Fire Department, including staffing, training, geographic distribution of firehouses and adequacy of the fire equipment;
- Forty percent of the score looked at the community’s water supply, including the placement and condition of fire hydrants and the amount of water that’s available to put out fires; and
- Ten percent of the score measured the efficiency of emergency communications, such as the 911 system and the number of emergency dispatchers.
A split of Class 1/1X means that those properties located within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or water supply suction point and within five miles of a fire station will be designated as Class 1; while properties located farther than 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or water supply suction point and within five miles of a fire station will be designated as Class 1X. A slight difference in rates exists between the affected properties in the split.
Even with the significant improvement in the classification, homeowners should continue to seek the best deal on their homeowner coverage, as there are differences in how insurance companies approach the ISO classification. Some insurance companies offer immediate rebates once the change in classification is made official, others will wait to adjust premiums at the next renewal period.
Across the country, only about one-quarter of one percent (0.25%) of almost 50,000 communities have received a Class 1 rating.