PICKENS — Pickens Fire Chief Chris Elrod was pleased to announce to Pickens City Council that the PFD has dropped their ISO rating from a 4 to a 3.
ISO, or Insurance Services Offered, is an independent consulting firm that basically measures and provides statistical information on risk.
Everything is evaluated: from what kind of equipment the fire department uses to how many hours of training the fire fighters have undergone to even distance between fire hydrants. All that information is then compiled and analyzed to come up with what is called a Public Protection Classification (PPC) number.
The lower the number, the better.
Insurance companies rely on ISO ratings to help determine premiums because a PPC is a reliable indicator of a community’s ability to maintain stable fire protection. Ergo, a community with a lower ISO can expect cheaper insurance rates for their homes and businesses.
“Effective September the first we were an ISO Class 3,” said Elrod. “The biggest place where it will help is business and commercial.”
He said the ISO went from a 7 to a 4 in 2006, which he said probably resulted in “a pretty substantial drop (in insurance rates) for people.
“In 2015 we went from a 4 to a 3 so, (a homeowner) may see a $10 to $15 drop on their premium policy,” he added. “But you get into your larger businesses and it’s more proportional to the policy.
“Swinging it the other way, you get up to above a (PPC) 7 and then it starts going astronomically higher,” he added. “If you go up to a 10, that’s the same as having no fire protection whatsoever.”
Pickens Rural is just one of several areas affected by the county’s decision to cut ties with local city fire departments in favor of relying on the rural fire districts.
“If they’re in the Pickens rural district right now, the best that they’re going to have is a “Y” — which is a higher class than what we would have been able to provide them,” said Elrod.
The Pickens County Council has been in discussions about the possibility of building additional fire stations and redrawing fire district lines to alleviate some of the pressures rural home and property owners felt when their insurance rates were abruptly raised.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.