Insurance survey beginning soon

Published 10:44 am Friday, July 27, 2012

Charlie McCann

Decatur County citizens may get a break on their insurance rates in the future, depending on the results of an upcoming Insurance Service Office (ISO) survey.

County Fire Chief Charlie McCann discussed the survey at the Tuesday meeting of the Decatur County Board of Commissioners. The ISO survey uses a variety of factors, including square miles covered by a fire department, and homeowners’ proximity to fire hydrants, in determining a “rating” for a municipality.

This rating is then used to help set homeowners’ insurance rates. The survey is expected to begin in late August or early September, McCann said.

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McCann said that the county currently has a rating of 6/9, while the industrial park has a rating of 4/9. Lower numbers are better, he said.

McCann explained that the two entities will be combined in this year’s survey — there will only be one rating for the county as a whole, rather than one for the industrial park and one for the rest of the county. He said it is possible that the resulting rating could be lower than the county’s current “6,” leading to a potential savings on insurance rates, but could not say for sure.

McCann explained that three primary factors make up the survey — the quality, number and locations of the fire stations is 50 percent; water capability (such as hydrants) is 40 percent; and communications structure is 10 percent. Once the survey is completed, it will take approximately six months to get the results back, he said.

The county’s last survey was taken in 2004; ISO recommends having a new survey done at least every 10 years. The county jurisdiction that will be surveyed includes the unincorporated areas of Decatur County, as well as the City of Attapulgus, and the City of Brinson. It does not include the City of Bainbridge or the City of Climax.

After McCann’s explanation, County Administrator Gary Breedlove thanked the county’s volunteer fire departments for their hard work. Commissioner Oliver Sellers agreed with Breedlove’s comments.

“The county gets several millions of dollars worth of benefit from our volunteer firefighters,” he said.