1. #1
    firemedic01
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post What is this rumor I hear ISO will be dissolved in the next few years!!!

    Last week I was talking with a business partner and he had talked to his insurance agent(State Farm) and was told they are going away from ISO!! They will be going to an alternate way of rating an area. He continued on about the other insurance companies would be doing the same. LHS if you are out there and see this please explain. I know there are many departments doing a total makeover to get a better ISO rating. Are they wasting there time and money??? Will ISO not be an issue in the near future?

  2. #2
    FSRIZZIO
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I read something awhile back referring to a new way of calculating insurance ratings based on actual historical losses for a particular area vs. simply using the ISO rating schedule. Plenty of argument either way. There are two ways of looking at an ISO rating. Either you prepare and equip for the sole purpose of a lower rating; or you prepare, equip, train and implement programs that will increase your departments level of service to your customers. With the by-product of such activity being a lower ISO rating. Plenty of argument goes into the why's and why not's of ISO equipment lists, as I'm sure this post will generate... the only thing constant is change.
    Good Luck, Frank

  3. #3
    ADSN/WFLD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    State Farm and the rest of the insurance industry is in the business of making money. If State Farm's new way of calculating insurance rates works for SF then you'll see other companies go to a similar method. As for ISO disappearing, you have to remember that ISO doesn't only rate fire departments. If it's in their best interest then ISO will change with the times.

    It's about time that we start to focus on our service and not to meeting a set of outdated equipment lists and ratings.

  4. #4
    EastKyFF
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    LHS has talked a lot about this in other threads. But the deal is pretty simple--State Farm is dropping ISO and calculating losses within subzones of ZIP codes as a means of establishing premiums.

    I am concerned about three factors.

    One, what if subzones cross departmental boundaries? If department A stinks and department B rocks but a subzone straddles their border, will department B's hard work be negated by their slack neighbors? And what if hydrant factors vary within a subzone?

    Two, if something happens overnight to make a drastic improvement in our firefighting capability, we will continue to have high premiums until we have a long period of time to show that it did help. (Examples: new hydrants, bigger water lines, improved roads/bridges, etc.)

    And finally, how statistically accurate will their figures be? The subzones will have to be geographically small to incorporate dept. boundaries and road distances, so in a rural area like mine, how many fires will they have to base their data on? Two? One? What if that one fire was a total loss caused by, say, use of accelerant that wasn't proven in court?

    There are lots of tough issues with this. Should be interesting.


  5. #5
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    //I heard a rumour.

    There isn't a single state legislature that is contemplating that or has a single bill to do what you suggest. It will take 47 state legislatures to decide to go to something else, don't hold your breath.

  6. #6
    engine198
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by LHS*:
    //I heard a rumour.

    There isn't a single state legislature that is contemplating that or has a single bill to do what you suggest. It will take 47 state legislatures to decide to go to something else, don't hold your breath.
    I hate to inform you but ISO is not a government organization. It is private and its rating system needs to be imporved. ISO is a private company used by insurace companies to estimate how well you are able to be protected. Certain departments get a one for the wrong reasons. That is money. Some places have much more money than others making them more able to buy more eguipment or staff more hours. But the ISO rating is no indication of the quality of the department. ISO mesures POTENTIAL POWER not actual. Who cares if you can through thousands of gallons of water in minutes if you have no plan on leaving the apparatus. Listening to the radio is not a skill needed it is lazy.


    ISO needs some revision. It doesnt grade what really matters. Quality.


  7. #7
    mongofire_99
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    EastKyFF

    I have visited with State Farm insurance folks on this issue and asked similar questions of them. Here's what they told me in a nutshell.

    One, what if subzones cross departmental boundaries? If department A stinks and department B rocks but a subzone straddles their border, will department B's hard work be negated by their slack neighbors?

    Yes

    And what if hydrant factors vary within a subzone?

    Oh well

    Two, if something happens overnight to make a drastic improvement in our firefighting capability, we will continue to have high premiums until we have a long period of time to show that it did help. (Examples: new hydrants, bigger water lines, improved roads/bridges, etc.)

    Yes

    And finally, how statistically accurate will their figures be? The subzones will have to be geographically small to incorporate dept. boundaries and road distances

    From the way it was explained to me, the subzone won't be that small. Rural counties that have a small city and one or two zip codes will probably be one zone. That means losses in Bob's Trailer and Drug Lab Estates - where we burn every one that gets raided and replace it with a new one will affect the high falutin' neighborhoods 20 miles away that might have one working (but not a total loss fire) in a year.

    Also, as pointed out, it will take an act of the state legislature to allow this and I doubt that it would happen here so soon after switching to ISO.

    engine198

    I hate to inform you but ISO is not a government organization.

    It may not be, but its use in determining what you pay in insurance rates is madated by state law.

    It is private and its rating system needs to be imporved.

    What would you do to improve it?

    Certain departments get a one for the wrong reasons. That is money.

    Which departments got theirs for the wrong reasons? I bet you wouldn't name names would you?

    Some places have much more money than others making them more able to buy more eguipment or staff more hours.

    Which is only 50% of the grade, so acing all this would get them a 5 at best, if they can move the water they needed to be less than a 9. And what about places that have little or no money but great ratings. How do you account for the Delores Colorados of the world out there? What are they, all volunteer class 4 throughout there response distrct that doesn't have hydrants with about $10,000 a year in budget?

    But the ISO rating is no indication of the quality of the department. ISO mesures POTENTIAL POWER not actual. Who cares if you can through thousands of gallons of water in minutes if you have no plan on leaving the apparatus. Listening to the radio is not a skill needed it is lazy.

    What in the world does all that mean?

    ISO needs some revision. It doesnt grade what really matters. Quality.

    What would you change? How would you grade the quality? What would you base it on, the things the FD has no control over? ISO takes into account sprinklers and in Texas, building Code enforcement.

    Who's fault is it if a building burns down?

    The fire departments?

    Why should an entire city be rated lower because of a single occupants errors or carelessness?

    What other measurable standard is there to fairly rate fire departments based on quality?

    How would you define quality?

    How do you objectively rate one areas fire loss against another when construction factors and code enforcemnat alone provide significant differences to what the potentiall loss will be?

    In many counties across Texas, the citizens have the potential loose $500,000 worth of housing in a single fire - a trailer park in the county that has a conflagaration or a single home in the ritzy section. Under state law, certain counties cannot enforce or adopt a fire code. Who's fault is it if it goes.

    [This message has been edited by mongofire_99 (edited 04-29-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by mongofire_99 (edited 04-29-2001).]

  8. #8
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    //I hate to inform you but ISO is not a government organization.

    DUH! However it is regulated by each state via the legislative process, so in fact the government sanction ISO to be the for profit monopoly to set the insurance rates, write the policies, and grade all the communities, right? You have no other alternative to ISO. If you don’t let them grade you, you get a Class 10.

    //Certain departments get a one for the wrong reasons.

    Oh really, care to name a few? What reasons would those be? Is it possible to get a good ISO rating and not be a great department??? Give some examples.

    // Some places have much more money than others making them more able to buy more equipment

    Let's compare budgets, your budget for a Class 4 and mine for a Class 1. Dolores CO has spent $15,000 to lower their ISO in town from a Class 7 to a Class 3. That same money also allowed them to lower the ISO rating in the rural 100 square file area from a Class 10 to a Class 3 in one step. The FD budget that also does EMS is $70,000 a year. So they have too much money? Philadelphia PA has a Class 3. Are you sure it is staffing and dollars?

    Beatty NV has a $21,000 a year budget. They are in the middle of the desert. They have a Class 4 everywhere in their 80 mile district without hydrants. They went from a 9/10 in one year to the Class 4. LA County and New York City have the same grade with paid firefighters and water system. LA County has a Class 9 in their non-hydranted areas. Budget huh?

    In reward for a good ISO grade, Dallas OR volunteer Class 2 was given an entire new fleet by their city council. Dolores budgets was quadrupled after they got their good grade by a thankful community, Rattlesnake had 93% of the people vote to lower their grade by 5 to 6 classes all at once with only two fire hydrants in a 70 mile district. The public know they’d save hundreds in exchange fore giving the FD $40 a year. That is how they bought all their stuff. And the list goes on and on.

    //or staff more hours.

    So every paid department should have a better grade than all combination or volunteer departments? All the above have 30 firefighters all volunteer or less. Now what did you mean about staffing?

    //But the ISO rating is no indication of the quality of the department.

    The Fire Chief's Handbook says: , “...until something else comes along which allows a fire department to evaluate how good a job it is doing compared to like fire departments ...the ISO™ classification is the only means available...” Why does every chamber of commerce list it, why does the ICMA yearbook publish tem, why does every insurance company use it to set rates?????

    //ISO mesures POTENTIAL POWER not actual.

    So there isn’t any science to this grading? No stats to backup lousy ISO grades result in high loses? The worst state ISO wise in the US has 40 people die per million in fires versus the best state ISO wise has only 2.5 deaths. Civilian injury wise, your state has 15 times more injuries per fire than another state with better across the board ISO ratings.

    So let's compare potential. Class 9 has 4 guys and a brush truck and no water system. Class 6 has a water system, more fire trucks and lots of guys. Is there any doubt who will win? LA County shows up at a warehouse fire 1 mile from a water source with a 500 or 750 water tank 3 to 4 guys from the closest station every time. Each additional engine brings 3 to 4 guys and 500 to 750 gallons of water, eventually a ladder will arrive, ad maybe, hardly ever a tanker. Rattlesnake CO shows up at the same fire with CAFS and 10,400 gallons of water, full ladder service, thermal imagers, 19 firefighters, and another 20,000 gallons on the way. They can lay from the water point a mile away on the way in. Who has a better chance of whining?

    If you follow a model fire code you get a Class 5 in town. Out of town a Class 9. If you are following the code you will have less fire loss (as much as 50 to 60% less, fewer civilian deaths(up to 20 times less) and fewer injuries(up to 30 times lower) plus you will be able to handle your fires. Class 1 FD's have some of the lowest FF LODD rates, like going 15 years in a city of 10 million without a loss of life.

    If you follow NFPA you get a Class 3 at worse in town and a Class 6 out of town at worse. You will have better response times, no areas without water, the right staffing, the right communication systems, proper tested apparatus, great training, preplans, maintained apparatus, certified firefighters, trained officers and drivers, training facilities, etc.

    //if you have no plan on leaving the apparatus.

    Can you give an example of that anywhere in the US? Let’s talk about plans? Do you have a written SOP for all types of fires you combat? The Class 1’s do!

    ////Listening to the radio is not a skill needed it is lazy.

    Neither one is credited but ISO nor will you find a Class 1 to 3 FD who listens to the radio or never plans to leave the apparatus. Lazy huh, with an ISO Class 4/9 you are calling a Class 1/3 department lazy? You have not given one concrete reason why you have a 4/9. Probably just because you are lazy. But as long as you are talking about radios, did you get a Class 1 in communications? How do you track your firefighters? How do you locate a downed firefighter? How do you know when he goes down? I know my FD has answers to all of these issues. Lazy huh?

    ///ISO needs some revision. It doesn’t grade what really matters. Quality.

    You mean like beer in the fridge, light bars, T-shirts and patches? What do you suggest? When over 70% of the fire service can't score 50% on the current ISO. Could it be the fire service needs to step up to the plate and do the job right or are you suggesting lowering the standard where anything goes? After all ISO just measure compliance to NFPA standards. NFPA standards are minimums. Now if 70% can’t even meet 50% of the minimums what does that say about the fire departments?

    Does staffing really matter? Proper 911 systems? Well equipped tested apparatus? Good station placement with the proper equipment? Trained firefighters? Water supply systems that match the community fire flows and is set up for immediate use and tested properly? Compliance with model codes? If this stuff “really matters” then you are an ISO supported because that is what they grade. If you don’t support these things you are anti fire department and living a dream.

    //what really matters. Quality.

    Ok, no more performance standard in dispatch. What would be the quality approach?

    No more proper phone book listings in the phone book, what would be the quality approach.

    No longer follow NFPA for apparatus, what would be the quality approach?

    No longer be required to follow AWWA or NFPA for water supply or distribution. What would be the quality approach?

    No longer follow the model building codes. What would be the quality approach?

    You've already proved you don't know anything about ISO ratings in the other forums, so I'm sure you know in 1980 every state but Washington left the TQM ISO system. Under TQM, ISO would grade you like today but first they'd eliminate the best of everything, after all something could be out of service SO, they'd nuke your largest water tank, biggest pumps, cut the electricity to town, witness your pumper tests, dock you for weather and geography,
    then measure compliance to like cities. It was a subjective schedule. The fire service didn't like it, ISO approached every state legislature and got the new standards compliant objective standard grading schedule put in place.

    As usual the biggest detractors of ISO are those who can't measure up.

  9. #9
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    EastKyFF

    As of January 15th, 2001 the plan has been introduced in Illinois, Texas,
    Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont, and
    Wisconsin.

    So it does not apply to you. If you don’t like what State Farm offers switch carriers. Out here they will give you whatever it takes to keep your business. Including giving you the rate you had before. The fire service is encouraging folks to leave state farm or get on the same program.

    One, what if subzones cross departmental boundaries? If department A stinks and department B rocks but a subzone straddles their border, will department B's hard work be negated by their slack neighbors?
    Yes

    BUT ONY IF YOUR STATE HAS ALLOWED ISO TO DO THIS, READ BELOW AND SEE FLORIDA AND STATE FARMS APPROACH

    STATE FARM SIGNS 3-YEAR CONTRACT TO USE ISO'S GEOGRAPHIC UNDERWRITING SYSTEM FOR ALL PROPERTY POLICIES
    NEW YORK, June 20 — State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., the largest insurer of homes in the United States, has signed a three-year contract with Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) to use ISO's state-of-the-art Geographic Underwriting System (GUS) to assist with pricing residential and commercial property policies across the country.
    Specifically, State Farm will use a customized version of ISO's new geographic information systems (GIS) technology to accurately determine the Public Protection Classification that applies to individual properties that State Farm insures. State Farm will use GUS as it reviews 21 million policy records, as well as for all future property-policy renewals and new business.
    ISO determines Public Protection Classifications, based on its assessment of the fire-suppression capabilities of about 30,000 communities, a property's distance from a fire station, and the availability of water at the site. The classifications, which apply in all states, are a major rating factor that State Farm and other insurers use in determining premiums for individual properties.
    "The accuracy that GUS provides simply could not be achieved before," said Don Sullivan, State Farm Fire and Casualty's executive vice president and chief administrative officer. "We'll be the first countrywide insurer to fully integrate the technology into our policy-processing systems, which is the best known way to ensure accuracy for our current and future policyholders."
    State Farm's three-year contract covers ISO's provision of consulting services, software and technical support, as well as data.
    ISO is working with State Farm to customize a solution to the problem of marrying an address with its correct Public Protection Classification. State Farm will check classifications for all business through an electronic data interface with ISO. State Farm will assign classifications to new business in real time, using a proprietary Intranet that permits GUS to be fully integrated into State Farm's underwriting and policy-issuance processes.

    FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE SELECTS ISO GEOCODING SYSTEM TO PROPERLY IDENTIFY MUNICIPALITY AND FIRE DISTRICT CODES FOR PREMIUM TAX
    NEW YORK, February 8 — Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) announced today that the Florida Department of Insurance will use ISO's Geographic Underwriting System (GUS®) software to verify that insurers are determining the correct premium tax jurisdiction.
    Florida statutes specifically require insurers to have an accurate means of identifying fire district and municipal boundary information for the proper determination of local premium taxes.
    Since premium tax rates are broken down into two types throughout many of the state's municipalities and fire districts — casualty insurance premiums are taxed to support the police pension fund and property insurance premiums are taxed to support the firefighters' pension fund — and are determined by location within a taxing jurisdiction, the Florida Department of Insurance determined that a geographic coding system was needed to verify premium tax assignments. ,I>Sorting by ZIP Codes is inadequate since some ZIP Codes encompass more than one municipality or could apply to multiple fire districts. [/i] ,
    "After reviewing and testing various software products for the purpose of properly identifying fire district and municipality codes, the department selected Insurance Services Office's GUS for use during the year 2000," said Cheryl Patrenos, Field Insurance Regional Administrator with the Florida Department of Insurance.
    The Department of Insurance will review address records from selected insurance companies required to report under Chapters 175 and 185, Florida Statutes, and run them through GUS. The sophisticated geocoding technology used by ISO's GUS product will pinpoint the policyholder's correct municipality or fire district to verify proper tax assignment. In those cases where the insurer has not determined the proper premium tax jurisdiction, the company may be subject to market conduct sanctions by the Department of Insurance.
    "GUS will help the Florida Department of Insurance automate a labor-intensive, time-consuming process," said Patrick McLaughlin, ISO's senior vice president for risk decision services.
    Florida's premium tax law applies to most commercial and personal auto and homeowners insurance policies written in certain municipalities and fire districts.
    Like regulators, insurers also can use ISO's premium tax service, based on GUS technology, to quickly and accurately define the correct tax jurisdictions and all necessary tax data for risks written in either Florida or Kentucky.
    GUS provides ISO customers with access to reliable, current, and address-specific information on a variety of rating and underwriting variables including, Public Protection Classification codes for each fire district in the country (based on ISO's evaluation of the district's fire-suppression capabilities), distance to ocean and other major bodies of water, windstorm exposure, California brush-fire hazard locations, home-to-work drive distances, crime, and personal and commercial auto rating territories.



  10. #10
    mongofire_99
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    LHS*

    Thanks for correcting my budget number for Delores.

    And you should know its not fair to confuse the unlearned with the facts

    Do you know who developed the GUS for insurance purposes?

  11. #11
    britter
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Sorry folks, its not a rumor.

    As a resident of Texas and a customer of state farm I support the idea and I am already reaping the benefits of it.

    I live in a rural area and the local volunteer dept. could care less about ISO. They just want to fight fires and mount more lights on their trucks. I live in an area where the ISO rating is a 6.

    I applaud State farm, their approach to establishing rates takes in all local factors that go towards establishing rates. Our area is not in a flood plain and fortunantly we have not sustained any major losses in our zip code boundry in some time. Should I pay higher rates because my local fire protection managers don't know or care about ISO.

    I offer this, in the past ISO only measured a departments "potential" ability to negotiate fires. (which means they had the right training,equipment,water supplies and communications) As we all know our job is to minimize and reduce ALL forms of property loss. A good department with Fire Prevention, rapid response, and other hazard mitigation tools will soon see the benefits just as they did under the outdated ISO system.

    You do not need to look far in Texas. Plano Texas for instance has a class 1 rating under ISO. Yes they have pretty stickers and lots of equipment to reflect this. But, as anyone in the Dallas area knows, when Plano burns a multi-million dollar house down it goes all the way down. Should these people pay less rates to insure these properties? NO WAY! Even though the fire department has proved "potential" savings I cannot imagine that insurance companies are saving any money at all by applying the ISO scale in this area.

    ISO is badly outdated and needs to be updated. I beleive that a system similar to State Farms approach would be beneficial to everyone. Obviously, if you live in a disaster prone area, Tornados, floods, high fire loss, etc. then you should pay more.

  12. #12
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    //I am already reaping the benefits of it.

    Are you sure??

    According to the state: Someone with State Farm Class 4 pays $497 Class 9 pays 820
    If you used a ISO company you’d only pay $341 for a Class 4 and $540 for a Class 9.

    As you can clearly see not running with ISO is purely for profit, they are not in business to help you.

    //As we all know our job is to minimize and reduce ALL forms of property loss. A good department with Fire Prevention, rapid response, and other hazard mitigation tools will soon see the benefits just as they did under the outdated ISO system.

    Can you give an example of one department to support that claim??

    //ISO is badly outdated and needs to be updated.

    What would you suggest?


  13. #13
    mongofire_99
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    As a resident of Texas and a customer of state farm I support the idea and I am already reaping the benefits of it.

    How? State Farm still uses the ISO PPC in Texas.

    Should I pay higher rates because my local fire protection managers don't know or care about ISO.

    Through your tax or donation dollars, you are paying for the level of protection you desire. If the insurance company doesn't feel it is adequate to cover their potential loss, they will adjust your rates accordingly.

    If you are not happy with the current level of fire protection offered by your local fire department, you should try to do something about it.

    I live in an area where the ISO rating is a 6.

    Average PPC across the state is 6 to 7.

    But, as anyone in the Dallas area knows, when Plano burns a multi-million dollar house down it goes all the way down.

    Troy Aikman doesn't know that.

    When was Plano's last multi-million dollar burn down?

    When was their last fire in a multi million dollar home?

    To be fair to you, I've seen three homes burn at once in Plano. But I wonder, whose fault is it that boneheads took advantage of the lack of bulding codes in Collin County when Plano was just a little town and built multi million dollar homes with cedar shakes, bad wiring and other combustion loving characteristics.

    More often than not though the fire is contained to a room or two.

    And how many of these mutli-million dollar homes are actually in the City of Plano and not in Collin County with Plano responding MA with the local FD?

    ISO is badly outdated and needs to be updated.

    What would you change?

    Firefighters have been saying this for years and yet no one has come up with a solution or even bothered to answer. We'd rather just bitch because we don't want to make the effort to:

    A) get a better ISO rate

    or

    B) develop a better system

    I beleive that a system similar to State Farms approach would be beneficial to everyone.

    How big is your county?

    How many zips in your county?

    How many FDs in your county?

    What's their ISO rating (hint, 9 or 10 if they don't have hydrants)?

    What's the fire loss credited to those areas?

    Is it fair to penalize your fire insurance because of other departments that don't stack up in an area that may be 20 miles from you?

    More than likely, your zip code alone will not be "rated" by itself, it will be thrown in with a block of others surrounding you.

    Obviously, if you live in a disaster prone area, Tornados, floods, high fire loss, etc. then you should pay more.

    And you do.

    By the way, did you know insurance companies rely on ISO to rate these areas for your rates as well?

    Is that outdated as well?

  14. #14
    jcelebre
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Dwelling on the insurance industry's continued use of the ISO's fire protection ratings is counterproductive. Let's keep in mind that the real value ISO has to fire departments is its validation of what we as firefighters already know: Better fire departments limit fire loses better than poor fire departments.

    What does it take to be a good fire department? We know this answer without having to ask the ISO. If we don't, we are in the wrong business.

    Do we need outside validation of our recommendations for improvement of the services we deliver? Yes! Where do we get it if ISO doesn't rate fire protection capabilities? NFPA 1710 or 1720.

    Let's start looking at these NFPA codes as standards of our industry and work to comply. If we do, fire insurance rates will go down in our districts regardless of how the insurance companies determine them.

  15. #15
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    What does it take to be a good fire department? We know this answer without having to ask the ISO. If we don't, we are in the wrong business.

    So ISO water supply rules follow verbatum the NFPA 1142 standard. 88,000 communities in the US only 400 have a grade of 8 or better 1000 feet from a fire hydrant. DO we know what we are doing? IF so why can't we show someone when asked? When the average ISO grade in the US is a Class 7 what does that say? 37% of all FDs have Class 9's or 10's. Can't even supply one 2 1/2" line.

    303 of yor states FDs are Class 9 or 10 out of 1491, 20%. Average city or town grade in yor state is Class 6.1 and 89% of the rural grades are Class 9's 1000 feet from a hydrant. The numbers speak for themselves.

    Do we need outside validation of our recommendations for improvement of the services we deliver? Yes! Where do we get it if ISO doesn't rate fire protection capabilities? NFPA 1710 or 1720.

    Let's start looking at these NFPA codes as standards of our industry and work to comply.

  16. #16
    svfdc1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Hi! Longtime reader first time poster checking in.

    Swirling emotions on this topic as are observed by the replies. I have been through one audit, taken an ISO introductory course, and participated in the community survery.

    I guess most of my thoughts are summed up with the fact that ISO is still using a schedule made in 1980. This, at a min, should be updated to reflect and give credit to Class A foam systems, TICs, etc.

    In general,and this may be where the insurance companies are leaning towards, the fire service should be rated on performance, not equipment. If, for example my department, our total "actual" fire calls account for 20% of the call volume. Of that, probably less than 5% are actual fires. And of that, 4.99% are handled with first company. Now, ISO says, based on buildings, that I need 3 engines and a ladder. Our research based on historical data demonstrated that we only need two engines. I would like a ladder but I can't justify it. The savings I can justify has been close to $800,000.00 (not purchasing equipment) not to mention maintenance, equip testing,housing, etc.

    I can get what I need with automatic aid but I have problems with that. My community is blessed with a 24 hour PD who responds to every call and can get to the majority of the calls within minutes. We share a communications center and the info is relayed to an FD officer immediately. Two of the three mutual aid companies are also dispatched out of the same office. Do I need to have a ladder and engine on the intial call coming in? No, because 99.9% of the time they will be canceled. And if we need them, we can get them. It is already occuring around here with other towns who have automatic aid. If there is no fire, or one that the intial company can handle, all others are canceled. Morale, equipment, safety, are all jepordized in the name of ratings. And guess what? Some are rethinking these issues and reducing automatic aid.

    I do, for the sake of clarity, have automatic response to areas of the town that I cannot get to easily or as quickly as I would like all in the name of service and community safety. This has worked extremely well.

    My long-winded response to this is that I believe ISO needs to look at revamping and going more towards the service end rather than capabilities. If it can be proved that the resources are best utilized as deployed, a risk management plan in place, along with historical data describing loss (or saves), then credit should be given. If, for example, over the 15 years between ISO visits that the losses were low (based on whatever data they wish) then credit should be given there, too.

    I am still reviewing 1710/1720 and have not come up with an opinion as to how I view these.

    thanks for "listening!"

  17. #17
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    //This, at a min, should be updated to reflect and give credit to Class A foam systems,

    They do!


    //In general,and this may be where the insurance companies are leaning towards, the fire service should be rated on performance, not equipment.

    Only one company State Farm. Equipment? Water system and communications are 50% of the grade.

    //Now, ISO says, based on buildings, that I need 3 engines and a ladder.

    And where does ISO get that number? NFPA is where. Change NFPA.

    //Our research based on historical data demonstrated that we only need two engines.

    And when you have the really big fire you'll still only need two engines?

    //I would like a ladder but I can't justify it. The savings I can justify has been close to $800,000.00 (not purchasing equipment) not to mention maintenance, equip testing,housing, etc.

    How about a fully certfied diesel automatic 100 footer with 90% of the ISO equipment for $15,000, can you afford that? I got one you can have.

    >From: "Gage, Dennis N." <DGage@iso.com>
    >CC: "Blanding, Richard" <RBlanding@iso.com>
    >Subject: RE: Insurance companies withdrawing from ISO
    >Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 13:46:27 -0400

    Mr. D

    Thanks for your inquiry.

    There is absolutely no truth to the statement that ISO is abandoning the
    Public Protection Classification program. On the contrary, we most
    emphatically proclaim our commitment to the 45,000 municipalities and fire
    districts throughout the United
    States and to the U.S. property/casualty insurance industry to continue the
    program as we continue to enhance it.

    Your community benefits and will continue to benefit by participating in
    the program and so will the residents in your community whose insurance
    premiums are related to the quality of your community's fire-suppression
    capabilities. The insurance
    industry, which pays for this program, has long understood that better fire
    protection means better fire safety, lower fire losses, and, of course,
    lower insurance premiums.



  18. #18
    svfdc1
    Firehouse.com Guest

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    ISO gives credit for Class A foam system? Must be new as of last year or so.

    As far as the insurance companies, they will do what is most profitable for them, no doubt. They will also be watching State Farm and how well (if it does) work.

    And, as my original note state, we also have mutual aid, although not automatic (well..in certain areas). Balance is key.

    And I enjoyed the response for the ISO folks. Quality is the key word. And, for the record, I do not dispute ISOs importance only that there are other aspects outside of what is currently measured that should be taken into account, ie actual losses, in rating a community. Do I have the answers, heck no...will we work towards improving the dept? heck yes. And we will be here when the ISO folks come back for a visit!

    ps..thank you for your generous offer of the ladder truck. Unfortunately, space, or lack of, is the current "fire" we are fighting now. Wouldn't have any place to put it!

    keep safe!

  19. #19
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    Bump

    What's new/current status of State Farm's program? 5yrs have passed they abandoned the zip code rating thing yet?

  20. #20
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    What a blast from the past - you sure had to blow the dust off of this thread. . .

    According to the ISO rep that visited us last year "they (State Farm) don't use our rating system anymore, but they still buy our data."
    ullrichk
    a.k.a.
    perfesser

    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

  21. #21
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    I'm just curious LHS and mongofire_99, why are you guys so aggressively defending ISO? I don't really have an opinion on this subject so I'm not trying to stir the pot. I just don't understand the reasoning behind being so aggressive. It comes across to me as if you are being personally attacked by people who don't like ISO. Is ISO really that good?

  22. #22
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    At the risk of sounding condescending Standpipe, did you notice the dates on the earlier posts in this thread? Occasionally these old threads get bumped back to life after being forgotten, intentionally or not.

    So you'll know, LHS contributed much to these forums, particularly about ISO. His style was abrasive at times (which some could argue is quite an understatement), but he definitely knew what he was talking about. He was passionate about the benefits of ISO improvements that can be passed on to the people of the community served by a fire department. Your'e likely to find other folks here equalyy passionate about other fire service topics.

    Sadly, LHS - Larry Stevens - took his own life a while back leaving a fire service that is poorer for his passing.

    If ISO matters are of interest to you, I'd suggest searching the forums for some more of his posts - there's a wealth of information there.



    I'm sorry if my ramble comes across like I'm trying to treat you like a rookie, because I'm trying to be helpful (and tactful) which, like sarcasm, doesn't always come across well on the internet.
    ullrichk
    a.k.a.
    perfesser

    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

  23. #23
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    I'm sorry to hear that Larry Stevens died. That is too bad that a person who wants to contribute so much is not around anymore.

    Thank you for pointing out the dates. I had noticed the dates but hoped that my post may get a response since the topic was back up towards the top. I'm not interested in researching ISO so much, but thought that maybe one of those guys could spark a reason. Usually if someone is that passionate about something, then it is worth looking into more.

  24. #24
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    Default CAFS Reduced hazard ISO discount

    Quote Originally Posted by Standpipe
    Usually if someone is that passionate about something, then it is worth looking into more.
    Does anyone know of a specific insurance company that offers the CAFS risk reduction discount provided by the Senate Bill 1610 which was signed into Texas Law back in 1999? I know the Texas State Insurance Commission offers the Texas Addendum to give 1.5 points off the ISO rating, but I believe the insurance companies can offer the same discount directly to the customers.

    The Senate Bill compelled the insurance companies to give a discount equal to having a fire hydrant within 1,000 feet of the protected property.
    Mark Cummins

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    Default ISO and Larry Stevens

    Contrary to the rumor.... ISO is not going anywhere. They are a world wide company that is stronger than the US govenrment as far as resources go. Inspite of what you may hear from some insurance companies, most insurance companies take advantage of ISO's services, they have to as the cost to perfom the services on their own would break most companies.

    A while back State Farm reported that they would not be using ISO any longer, however, after a 3 year period on their own they undertook a joint venture with ISO to GPS every property in the US and tie insurance rates to the GPS location in relation to the responding fire departments.

    One important note here is that if an insurance company will not recognize ISO, you will find one that does, and once located it pays to shop around.

    As far as Larry Stevens goes, you either loved him or hated him, but whatever your stance, you had to admit that he really knew his stuff.

    When Larry passed away his widow and I had many conversations concerning what to do with ISO Slayer. After much thought it was decided that I would continue to run ISO Slayer and maintain the level of professionalism that Larry established. We are still open for business and have several success stories already. Just ask Chief McGee at Groveland Township Fire Department in Holly, Michigan. Also Check out our web sight.

    Regards,

    SeagravesStick

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