CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids residents and businesses could see lower rates for fire insurance coverage after the city received a higher rating for its fire protection services.
The city and its fire department now have a Public Protection Classification of 2 as defined by the Insurance Services Office, a national analysis company.
“In our world, it’s a big deal,” Fire Chief Mark English said.
The new rating goes into effect June 1. English said Cedar Rapids had been at a class 3 since he started with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department in 1986. He credited the construction of new fire stations, which reduce response times, and the implementation of public fire prevention and outreach efforts for the bolstering of Cedar Rapids’ ranking.
“The fire prevention efforts … it’s hard to measure how many lives that’s saved or how much property that’s saved because our efforts hopefully stopped that event from getting any further,” he said.
The ISO scale goes from one to 10, with one being the best. While it seems like just an internal designation, the ranking helps determine insurance rates for properties within the city’s boundaries, English and others said.
The higher a city’s ranking, the lower insurance premiums should be.
“It’s going to do one of two things — the policy goes down because, again, they’re providing a better fire suppression and a better fire service, or it will stay the same,” said Michael Sheeley, chief operating officer for United Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary of United Fire Group.
Sheeley said he could not provide specific dollar amounts for how much a property’s insurance bill may go down. Properties vary in their risk and each insurance company evaluates rates on different scales.
City officials also said they hope the improved ISO rating serves as an business-attraction tool.
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“These results are a major economic development tool that can be added to an attractive list of reasons why businesses and industry can thrive and grow in Cedar Rapids,” City Manager Jeff Pomeranz said in a news release.
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