Haralson County Fire Chief Brian Walker had some exciting news last week for residents in Waco, Buchanan, and unincorporated Haralson County: their property insurance rates will soon be going down.
Haralson County recently received a visit from the Insurance Services Office, which gave the Waco, Buchanan and rural county areas of Haralson a rating of 5 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the best rating. The area’s previous rating was a 6. Most counties and cities in Georgia are rated between a 4 and a 6.
“We’re very proud of the work everyone has done,” said Walker. “It takes a lot of hard work to get those lower ratings and maintain them.”
According to Walker, when the county is inspected every 10 years, the ISO looks at various factors before given them their rating.
“They look at the fire department itself, our equipment, the placement of the stations, our water system, our 911 call center, they look at all of that,” Walker said.
Walker said the county, Waco and Buchanan scored well in all categories, allowing their ISO rating to come down to a 5. The new ISO rating will go into effect Feb. 1, 2013.
“So when residents’ property insurance policies come up for renewal next year, they will be able to take advantage of the new rating and save money on their insurance,” Walker said.
Walker said insurance agents he had talked to expect most residents to be able to save between 10 and 20 percent on their policies next year.
Each year, fire department firefighters and volunteer firefighters go through 240 hours of training each, according to Walker, in an effort to achieve these low ratings.
“This is why we check pumps and hoses and equipment and do our training,” Walker said. “We want to provide the best services we can and be ready and available, but we also want to help the county get lower ratings and maintain them.”
According to Walker, an extra incentive to try to get an even lower rating is that once a rating of 3 is reached, the area starts to look very attractive to businesses.
“Lower rates help the commercial sector as well as the residential,” Walker said. “Once you get down on the lower end, industries start seeing it as more of an incentive [to locate their business here]. This helps bring in industries, which is important for job growth.”
Walker said though it is harder to achieve lower and lower scores with each evaluation, that’s his department’s goal.
“We’re going to keep working at it; and, hopefully, next time we’ll get a 3.”