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Some homeowners to see slight decrease in insurance premiums

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Reason is new rating of Shelby County Fire Department

By Lisa King

Nearly a quarter of Shelby County homeowners can expect a slight decrease in their insurance premiums as a result of a new insurance rating for the county’s largest fire district.

On March 1, the Shelby County Suburban Fire District went from a Class 9 rating to an 8B rating. The Insurance Service Organization (ISO) rating scale extends from Class 1 through class 10, with Class 1 being the highest rating a fire department can receive.

Residences in the Shelby County Suburban Fire District coverage area – which covers 180 of the county’s 800 square miles – that are within five miles of a fire station and do not have a fire hydrant within 1,000 feet, will go from a Class 9 to a Class 8B rating. Those homes within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant have a Class 4 rating.

The new rating is due to the establishment of the two most recently constructed fire stations, one on La Grange Road and one on Finchville Road, said Shelby County Fire Chief Bobby Cowherd.

“There are several other factors that affect insurance premiums other than ISO ratings, but I’ve talked to some of the insurance companies, and they say most people [in his district] should have some sort of reduction in their premiums,” he said.

Inspectors from ISO conduct a survey periodically to determine how prepared fire departments are to suppress and prevent fires. Equipment, training, inspections, prevention, manpower, communications and adequate water supply are all considered in calculating the rating.

Farm Bureau Agent Neil Murphy said that the reason for the lower premiums is because those homeowners are less likely to have their home destroyed by fire.

“In most cases you will see a little bit of a decrease [in premiums] because essentially what that rating going from a nine to an eight is saying is that your fire department response is getting better,” he said.

“Bobby and them at the fire department have done a great job putting out the new stations and the monitoring has gotten better here. I know they’re real excited about it at the fire department. It will benefit most people in his area, both on their service, and a little bit on their insurance, too.”

Murphy said there’s no need for people in the Shelby County Fire District to contact their agent because they have already received that information.

“Typically, it’s something they shouldn’t have to notify their insurance company about,” he said. “The companies will be notified, and the ones that rate using those ISO values are going to go ahead and adjust that, either at renewal, or some may do it immediately. But most should see that adjustment at renewal.”

Murphy said he could not speculate on how much the premiums will be affected. “It won’t be a drastic change, and it will vary from company to company.”

Cowherd said he wanted to recognize the efforts of volunteer firefighters, and that of Shelbyville Water and Sewer and West Shelby Water officials for their efforts with hydrant installation as well.