High mark could help lower insurance premiums for some
City officials were recently notified that the City had increased its Public Protection Classification, issued by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), to an enviable 2/2Y — putting Bartlesville among the top 1 percent in the state, Fire Chief John Banks told the City Council on Monday.
To put the rating into perspective, the City’s overall score of 83.02 puts it on equal footing with only 1,300 communities in the U.S. that received the rating, and just 19 in Oklahoma, including Tulsa.
“Class 1 represents an exemplary fire suppression program, and Class 10 indicates that the fire suppression program does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria,” Banks said, noting that Bartlesville previously held a rating of 3, effective since 2014.
“The 2s are rare,” he said. “That puts us in the top 1 percent.”
Banks said insurance companies use the Public Protection Classification for marketing, underwriting and to help establish fair premiums for homeowners and commercial fire insurance.
“In general, the price of fire insurance in a community with a good PPC grade is substantially lower than in a community with a poor PPC grade, assuming all factors are equal,” Banks said.
The rating applies primarily to three types of insurance: business, homeowners and rural.
“I asked the representative from ISO how it would impact us. She said the difference between a class 3 and a class 2 for our residential people isn’t a lot. But the rural areas, going from what was an X rating to a Y designation could be huge for them. And it should be huge for some in our business community as well,” Banks said.
ISO’s Public Protection Classification evaluates communities according to a uniform set of criteria, incorporating nationally recognized standards developed by the National Fire Protection Association and the American Water Works Association. The areas examined to determine the rating include needed fire flows, emergency communications and the area’s fire department capabilities and water supply.
Banks said the first number in the score (2) applies to properties within five road miles of a fire station and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or alternate water supply.
“This would include the areas inside the city limits and some rural areas as well,” he said.
The second number (2Y) applies to properties beyond 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant but within five road miles of a fire station, rural areas outside the city limits but within the BFD fire district.
“This is great news for our community,” said acting city manager Mike Bailey.
The new PPC designation will go into effect March 2018.
Bailey said officials are awaiting notification of a second City ISO rating, for building services, in the near future.