Panama City, FL – Some Bay County residents in the unincorporated areas could soon see lower insurance rates, thanks to a recently issued “report card” from the Insurance Services Office (ISO).
Bay County Fire Rescue’s ISO rating improved from a Class 5 to a Class 3, following an intensive analysis of operations during the ISO’s Public Protection Classification (PPC) survey. The score is on a scale of 1-10, with Class 1 being the best possible rating.
“This is a really big deal,” Bay County Emergency Services Chief Mark Bowen said. “It’s a report card for the fire department that happens every five years, and our folks have done outstanding work to earn this rating. The lower the number, the better the insurance rate.”
Bowen said the PPC survey’s focus is a threefold analysis of Emergency Services’ dispatch and communications capabilities; Bay County Utilities’ ability to provide water for fire suppression; and Fire Rescue employees’ response, training, and equipment maintenance efforts.
“These are the ‘big three,’ and our folks – including Bay County Utilities and their improvements to water infrastructure – have done excellent work in preparing for this test,” Bowen said.
The result of all the hard work may benefit homeowners, specifically those who live within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant and within five driving miles of a fire station.
“Anyone who meets those criteria is currently a five and they’re going to a three. That’s significant,” Bowen said. The amount of savings will depend on the insurance carrier a homeowner uses.
The new rating will take effect May 1.
The ISO’s analysis is a comprehensive assessment of fire suppression capabilities in a given community. Fire departments are graded on a number of criteria ranging from dispatching, personnel and equipment to water supply and distribution. Most fire insurance premiums are based on the ratings provided by the ISO, which is the leading supplier of statistical, underwriting and actuarial information for the property/casualty insurance industry.