The North Carolina Department of Insurance handles Insurance Service Office (ISO) inspections and then assigns a Fire Protection Classification Rating, basically a “grade,” for the fire protection in a particular jurisdiction. This rating informs the insurance industry in setting property/home insurance rates.
ISO inspections typically occur every 5-10 years. During these inspections, representatives from the Department of Insurance conduct a thorough survey of a fire jurisdiction, considering not only the local fire department’s resources and operations, but also factors such as a community’s available water supply, emergency communications and dispatch, and available mutual aid assistance from other departments.
The rating scale ranges from 1-10, with a classification of 1 indicating the best fire protection available and 10 indicating that a community may struggle with fire protection. Ratings of 1-6 typically do not affect insurance premiums for residential properties. However, homeowners often see a reduction in premiums for rating improvements between 10 and 6.
The department improved its ratings! Prior to this inspection, the Davidson Fire Department was rated a Class 5/9E which means that the department earned a “5” within the town and anywhere within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, and a “9” for anything outside of this range, including most of Davidson’s ETJ (extra-territorial jurisdiction). As a result of this most recent inspection, the fire department has now earned a Class 2 rating within the incorporated city limits and a Class 4 rating for anywhere in the ETJ within five miles of a fire station (which our calculations show includes all current structures). The Class 2 rating places the Davidson Fire Department in the top three percent of all fire departments statewide, a particularly significant achievement for a small department.
“We are proud to share the news of this recent accomplishment with our residents. Our improved classification is the result of many years of hard work by many people, including our firefighters, town staff, the Mecklenburg County Fire Marshal’s Office, and town and county leaders – both past and present,” said Davidson Fire Chief Bo Fitzgerald. “We would like to thank everyone who has helped make this possible, and we look forward to continuously working to improve our service to those who live and work in our community.”
ISO rates are submitted to the North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) which provides services and programs to the insurance industry. Insurance companies then adjust their rates according to a town’s ISO rating. Beginning in September 2020, when the new rates take effect, this could mean a cost savings for those who have homeowner’s insurance. Insurance companies should make any rate changes automatically and should not require any action from policy holders.