Prosper’s ISO fire insurance rating dropped from a 5 to a 2/2X following an ISO inspection on Sept. 26 to reevaluate the town’s score.
An ISO is a number from 1-10 given to each city that represents apparent risk in that community. Mike Pietsch, an ISO consultant endorsed by Texas Fire Chiefs Association, said most insurance companies rely on a town’s ISO to determine homeowner insurance rates.
“Every company uses (ISO ratings) but not every company admits to using it,” Pietsch said.
An ISO score of 2 should save Prosper homeowners 12-14 percent on their homeowner insurance premiums, assuming property values and deductibles remain constant, Pietsch said.
The official change will take place on June 1, giving insurance companies, appraisers and actuaries enough time to enter Prosper’s new ISO score into their pricing structures, according to a town press release.
The reevaluation took three areas into account: 50 percent of the score focused on the Prosper Fire Department, which included staffing, training and the locations of the fire stations. Forty percent focused on the town’s water supply, and 10 percent measured the efficiency of emergency communications including 911 dispatch, according to the release.
Prosper Fire Chief Ronnie Tucker said the ISO rating improvement was a byproduct of the fire department’s real mission: To improve response times to residents in west Prosper.
“The main thing we do it is because our response times were really bad, so we do it to improve the services to the citizens out in west Prosper,” Tucker said.
Tucker attributes the town’s three-point jump to the operation of the town’s second fire station. Prosper was close to receiving an ISO score of 1, but didn’t because the town does not have a ladder truck yet, Tucker said.
“It’s on the horizon,” Tucker said. “I don’t think it’ll happen this next year … A ladder truck is a lot of money, but in the future down the line, a ladder truck will definitely come to Prosper.”
Properties located within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or water supply suction point and within five miles of a fire station will be designated as Class 2. Properties located farther than 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or water supply suction point and within five miles of a fire station will be designated as Class 2X. A slight difference in rates exists between the affected properties in the split, according to the release.
“(The improvement is) rewarding,” Tucker said. “It makes you feel good. We worked hard for this. An ISO grade is a report card for how we’re doing, and I do feel like we got an ‘A.’ It’s truly a team effort.”