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Greenville citizens to see lower insurance rates


By Scott Harvey

Greenville – Property owners in Greenville could see a reduction in their property insurance rates next year after the City's new Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating goes into effect.

The Greenville Fire Department recently received notification from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) and the Texas Department of Insurance that the City's PPC rating will move from a Class 5 to a Class 3 effective December 1.

In 2006, the City approved hiring an engineer to do a comprehensive survey of the level of fire protection in Greenville. The study produced recommendations that the City used to make improvements and request a rating review by ISO.

ISO collects information on a community's public fire protection and analyzes the data using its Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). ISO then assigns a PPC rating from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents the best public protection and Class 10 indicates the minimum recognized protection. By classifying a community's ability to extinguish or control a structural fire, ISO assists communities by evaluating their public fire protection infrastructure. By securing lower fire insurance premiums for communities with better public protection, the PPC program provides incentives and rewards for communities that choose to improve their firefighting services.

Deputy Fire Chief Doug Caison worked diligently to help lower the City's rating. Fifty percent of the ISO grading point is based on the infrastructure of the fire department with another ten percent based on how efficiently calls for emergency service are received and dispatched. Vast improvements were made in how equipment was inventoried and training records maintained. Chief Caison also devised a secondary method of dispatching calls that added points. The purchase of a new fire engine with a compressed air foam system also added to Greenville's overall score.

Forty percent of the grading point total is based on the City's water supply, distribution system and proximity of fire hydrants to existing structures. A new water tower, additional water lines, new pumps, more fire hydrants and increased water pressure are improvements that have been made in recent years that helped to improve the PPC rating.

The improved rating indicates that the City of Greenville and the Greenville Fire Department are improving the capability to respond to fires. The lower rating also means that commercial and residential property owners may be eligible for lower property insurance premiums. ISO issues updated ratings to the insurance industry quarterly. Since the new Class 3 rating goes into effect in December, Greenville property owners should see insurance premium reductions when policies renew in 2009, and they could be substantial.

According to the Texas Department of Insurance website www.tdi.state.tx.us a change in a community's PPC rating from Class 5 to Class 3 is estimated to result in a decrease in insurance premium of over 6%. A home insured for $100,000 could see a premium decrease of $75 to $100 annually. A commercial building insured for $1,000,000 could see a premium decrease of approximately $2,000 annually. These savings are equivalent to an ad valorem tax rate reduction of 10 cents for residential and 22 cents for commercial properties.