Lower homeowners premiums ahead

Some consumers in Farragut may soon be paying lower premiums on homeowners’ insurance.

Rural/Metro Fire Department Chief Jerry Harnish said Insurance Services Office gave areas of Knox County, including Farragut, a Public Protection Class rating of Class 3.

“We find the classification to be exceedingly good news,” he said. Harnish spoke at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Thursday, June 23.

He said the rate had changed from Class 5 to Class 3 based on a 2015 survey.

A handout from Harnish said a PPC of class 3 would result in premium reductions of about 35 percent from class 5. It said the typical residential annual premium for a 25-year-old frame house with a $200,000 value and $1,000 deductible would be $774.

“I hope to continue to bring you good news in the future,” he said.

Harnish said the rating did not apply to City of Knoxville, Karns and Seymour. He said the change would be effective Aug. 1.

He said properties not within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant are Class 3X, which is better than Class 9, the old PPC for these properties, but not as beneficial as Class 3. Class 1 is the best.

The property owner is required to have a subscription to Rural/Metro’s fire services in order to qualify or else the insurance company applies Class 10, the worst rating. “It’s not uncommon for insurance agents not to know that,” Harnish said.

The handout stated only about 8 percent of communities surveyed by ISO nationwide have a PPC Class 3 or better. Harnish said communities with denser populations tend to get better ratings. The handout’s chart for communities in Tennessee showed most communities had ratings higher than 3, with Class 9 the single most common.

The handout stated ISO evaluates three areas: the emergency communications system and dispatching, the fire department and the public water supply. Regarding the fire department evaluation, Harnish said ISO does an inventory, which includes number of people in the fire department, amount of training those people receive, the percent of the time the first engine is on the scene within five minutes and 20 seconds and other factors. He said the fire station at Choto helped Rural/Metro Fire Department gain a better rating.

Harnish said larger insurance companies will automatically note protection class and adjust the premium, but customers may need to notify smaller underwriters.

He said in the state of Tennessee, the Department of Commerce and Insurance requires insurance companies that have not filed with a separate rating system to follow the ISO rules.

ISO is a division of Versk Analytics. It prepares and develops information for the insurance industry to use in setting rates.