McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Fire Department received a rating classification improvement during a recent analysis which could result in premium reductions to some commercial and residential insurance policies.
The analysis, performed by Insurance Services Office, Inc., of Chicago, ranks communities on their fire-fighting capabilities and awards a Public Protection Classification somewhere between one and 10, with one being the best. McCook's last analysis was in 2000, when the rating was awarded a six, with the Nov. 8, 2010, analysis resulting in an improved PPC of four.
McCook Fire Chief Marc Harpham attributed the improvements to new equipment and added staff, including a full-time administrative assistant, which also improved the department's record-keeping in training areas.
Harpham said the water system and dispatch centers have both been upgraded since 2000, and that also contributed to the improved rating.
ISO's rating system bases 50 percent of the score on the fire department, 40 percent on the community's water supply and 10 percent on dispatch center capabilities, according to Harpham.
Terry Smith-Engell of HomeTown Agency in McCook said that the improved PPC should result in an approximate three to seven percent reduction in commercial property premiums, "depending on the type of policy form they have." Smith-Engell said that 80-90 percent of commercial policies fall into the lesser, approximate three percent reduction range.
Farmer's Mutual, the second leading insurance carrier in Nebraska, treats PPC ratings of one to six as if they were the same, for residential policies, according to Vice President of MNB Insurance Larry Eisenmenger. Eisenmenger said the PPC improvement wouldn't result in an decrease for most residential policy owners but added that some companies may differ on that.
"With commercial ratings it should make a difference," said Eisenmenger, who explained the amount of difference would vary based on the hazard classification of the commercial policy. A bakery, for example, has a greater hazard classification than an accountant's office and should see a greater reduction.