Quitman VFD receives better rating from Insurance Services Ratings

Published on Thursday, 20 February 2014 23:26 - Written by Faith Harper fharper@tylerpaper.com

Quitman residents may see a decrease in their homeowners insurance after the town’s volunteer fire department received a better rating.

Wood County Fire Marshal Randy Selman said Insurance Services Ratings range from one to 10, and the lower the number, the better the department’s rating. The ratings are conducted through a private company. They include an array of qualifying information including how many volunteers the department has, their number of training hours, public education hours, equipment and its water-holding capacity.

Quitman’s rating went from a four to a three inside its city limits, and from a nine to a three outside the city in its jurisdiction area, said Quitman Fire Chief Scott Wheeler.

Wheeler said the big difference came from the addition of a new piece of equipment that can hold more water.

“You have … to prove you can supply water for so long of a duration, and we were able to do that with no problem with the equipment we have now,” he said.

Fire officials said the lowered rating can equate to lower insurance premiums with some carriers, but not all of them use the rating as a factor in its pricing.

How much depends on the carrier and the homeowner’s plan, according to ISO.

“The company cannot speculate on how a classification change will affect local property insurance premiums,” Robert Mathews, vice president of community hazard mitigation, said via email. “Insurers alone are responsible for determining individual premiums. … ISO suggests that individual property owners consult with their insurance representative concerning the potential effect changes in PPC ratings may have on property insurance premiums.”

Wheeler said the department is proud of the new rating, which should take effect in March.

“We are all excited about being to help the community with their homeowners insurance by providing the service we provide,” Wheeler said. “It’s a way that we are doing more to give back to the community.”