Fire Department performance audit may mean lower insurance rates

MINDEN - Insurance premiums for some Douglas County residents may soon drop if insurance companies take a recent fire department survey to heart.

A recent Insurance Services Office performance audit of the Nevada Division of Forestry's Sierra Forest Fire Protection District revealed a substantial improvement in the quality of fire fighting services.

The service, which rates fire departments according to their abilities to effectively provide fire protection, changed their rating from a 10 (the worst possible) to a 5/8. This new designation may translate to as much as 30 percent savings in fire insurance premiums for the district's Douglas customers.

"It's like the homeowners are handing us $80 in taxes to fight fires and we are handing them back $200 in insurance savings," said Fire Management Officer Dan Holbrook, illustrating the potential insurance savings. "It shows that a fire department is more than just an expense for a community."

According to statistics compiled by Holbrook from two insurance providers, a $100,000 home currently costs between $460 and $580 each year to insure. With the new rating, that cost may potentially drop to between $305 and $366.

Commercial properties benefit the most from the improved rating. The difference in cost for a large building and its inventory could exceed $15,000, Holbrook said.

The service's audit thoroughly examines the department. Everything from personnel to equipment and performance history is examined.

"There isn't any corner or any rug that they don't look under," Holbrook said.

Douglas County includes three Insurance Services Office districts. Carson City, Reno and Truckee Meadows also have districts.


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