ISO Forms Strategic Alliance with USDA/Rural Development Community Programs

JERSEY CITY, N.J., July 23, 2007 —  Insurance Services Office, Inc., is pleased to announce that it is working with United States Department of Agriculture/Rural Development in a joint endeavor to provide communities with information regarding the Community Loan and Grant Programs that are available through USDA/Rural Development and the Rural Housing Service.

The Community Loan and Grant Programs provide funds that may be used to improve municipal public safety systems. Grant funds are awarded to economically feasible projects in financially needy communities with populations of fewer than 20,000 people.

ISO has established a working relationship with USDA/Rural Development to deliver information on the Community Loan and Grant Programs to the 45,500 fire-protection districts within the United States. As part of the ISO Public Protection Classification (PPC™) program, ISO evaluates each community’s fire-protection system according to a uniform set of criteria, incorporating nationally recognized standards developed by the American Water Works Association and the National Fire Protection Association. This information may be utilized by insurance carriers when determining insurance premiums for a property within that community.

“We are including information about USDA’s grant fund program in all of our direct communications with community fire officials,” said Patrick McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of ISO. “We’re very pleased to be working with USDA on this effort. Many communities may qualify for these funds and use them to improve the fire-protection and rescue services they offer their citizens. Improved facilities or equipment — including expanding the water services available for firefighting in a community — may improve their PPC rating, as well,” he added.

“USDA Rural Development is committed to supporting efforts that provide rural communities with increased economic opportunities and an improved quality of life,” said Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Thomas C. Dorr. “Capturing the statistical benefits of improved community infrastructure and its potential impact on reducing insurance cost can be a tremendous benefit to rural communities.”

USDA/Rural Development loan funds may be used to construct, enlarge, or improve public safety facilities, such as fire stations and buildings to house fire and/or rescue equipment. Funds may also be used to purchase fire trucks, ambulances, or emergency communications equipment; to buy or build fire and rescue multiservice centers; and to pay necessary costs connected with those facilities.

USDA/Rural Development also administers water and wastewater loan and grant programs to improve quality of life and promote economic development in rural America. This assistance is available through Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Programs. Open to municipalities, counties, special-purpose districts, and Native American tribes, funds are available to cities and towns with a population of fewer than 10,000 to restore deteriorating water supplies or to improve, enlarge, or modify a facility or an inadequate waste facility.

Information and applications can be obtained from any USDA/Rural Development Office. Applications should be made to the USDA/Rural Development State Office. The Community and Business Programs staff of the USDA/Rural Development Office will be glad to discuss services available from the agency and explain how to prepare a written application. For information on all programs administered by USDA/Rural Development, visit the national office website at www.RURDEV.USDA.gov.

About USDA/Rural Development
USDA/Rural Development is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in all of rural America. Financial programs support such essential public facilities and services as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities, and electric and telephone service. It promotes economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks and community-managed lending pools. USDA/Rural Development offers technical assistance and information to help agricultural and other cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their member services. Technical assistance to help communities undertake empowerment programs is also provided.

USDA/Rural Development has an $86 billion portfolio of loans and administers nearly $16 billion in program loans, loan guarantees, and grants. Rural Development achieves its mission by helping rural individuals, communities, and businesses obtain the financial and technical assistance needed to address their diverse and unique needs. Rural Development works to make sure that rural citizens can participate fully in the global economy.

About ISO
ISO is a leading provider of products and services that help measure, manage, and reduce risk. ISO provides data, analytics, and decision-support solutions to professionals in many fields, including insurance, finance, real estate, health services, government, and human resources. Professionals use ISO’s databases and services to classify and evaluate a variety of risks and detect potential fraud. In the United States and around the world, ISO’s services help customers protect people, property, and financial assets.

Release: Immediate

Contacts:
Giuseppe Barone / Erica Helton
MWW Group (for ISO)
201-507-9500
gbarone@mww.com / ehelton@mww.com