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WMFR receives improved insurance rating

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

Property owners in West Manatee Fire Rescue District should be in line for lower homeowner insurance rates.

        About once every 10 years, the International Standards Organization ranks communities from 1-10, with 1 being perfect.

WMFR challenged a recent 4 rating after undergoing an ISO evaluation in early 2012.

        “We did get confirmation that our ISO rating did improve. It was lowered to a 3,” WMFR Chief Andy Price reported at the Feb. 21 commissioners meeting.

        The rating is expected to take effect July 1.

        “The ISO should be sending this information to local jurisdictions and insurance companies — and that’s a good thing,” he added.

        The ISO evaluation included a site visit, measurements of fire department’s staff, training, water supply, hydrant locations, communication systems, building codes and inspection programs.

When the ISO results came back in the fall, the district had held onto a 4 rating. On review of the results, WMFR determined the ISO evaluator missed certain information, and the district waged an appeal.

Price said WMFR’s training wasn’t properly credited in the initial evaluation.

“What we found out was the guy who did the evaluation retired right after he finished us,” he said, adding that after someone else reviewed the evaluation, “we got a lot more credit for training.”

“Part of the problem was they were looking at the reserves,” he explained.

Price said the reservists are on a 48-hour-a-month work schedule and average only 2-3 hours of training, while career firefighters receive 20 training hours each month.

        WMFR provides fire and rescue service from three fire stations, including one in Holmes Beach. It employs 42 career personnel and 35 reservists.

        The district has a $5.5 million budget and protects nearly 20,000 parcels in an 18-square-mile district, including Anna Maria Island.

        Insurance companies use ISO ratings to set premiums, and a lower number typically means lower property insurance rates.

For more information, call 941-761-1555.

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