NEW YORK, April 8, 1998 — An Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) initiative announced today will enable municipalities to ensure their fire-suppression capabilities are properly reflected in property insurance rates.
ISO's Community Outreach Program is a new component of its Public Protection Classification (PPC) service. PPCs are a key rating variable for most personal and commercial property insurance policies written in the United States. Insurers depend on ISO's PPC data base for accurate and timely information on a municipality's fire-suppression capabilities to independently determine homeowners and commercial property insurance rates.
Under the new ISO program, ISO is reaching out to communities and fire districts to identify changes in fire-protection features that will enhance the accuracy and reliability of its PPC data base. ISO's goal is to contact every community over the next 30 months for information on any significant changes, and, when required, schedule field surveys.
ISO's PPC data base contains detailed information on the fire-suppression capability of approximately 43,000 fire districts and municipalities countrywide. Key PPC information elements such as district boundaries, fire-station locations, and automatic aid agreements frequently change and require continual verification and updating.
"The importance of accurate and timely PPC information, and its impact on both municipalities and insurers, cannot be overstated," said Dennis Gage, ISO's manager of Risk Decision Services. "ISO's Community Outreach Program is a major step toward ensuring that the information we use to classify municipalities is up to date, but we cannot do it alone. Municipalities can help their citizens by letting us know of changes in their fire protection resources."
To help ensure use of the correct classification by insurers once ISO establishes it, ISO's PPC data base is integrated with the address-specific property reports of its Geographic Underwriting System (GUS). GUS provides the most timely and accurate address-specific information on risk variables, including PPCs, for personal lines and commercial property.
Under the Community Outreach Program, municipalities will receive a public protection information update form and a detailed street map showing the boundaries of the fire protection area and fire station locations. The form and map, once returned to ISO, will be compared with information in the PPC data base. If significant differences are found in fire-protection features, a field survey will be scheduled after consulting appropriate community officials.
For more information on ISO's Community Outreach Program, municipal and fire department officials may call toll-free 1-800-444-4554.