Idaho Falls residents may eventually see reductions in their property insurance rates following recent Idaho Falls Fire Department improvements.
The Idaho Surveying and Rating Bureau, an independent Idaho Department of Insurance rating organization, recently raised Idaho Falls’ property insurance rating from Class 3 to Class 2.
Of the 251 Gem State fire departments the bureau rates, only two have a Class 2 rating. No departments have a perfect Class 1 rating.
Ratings are among many factors that affect insurance premiums for property owners. They’re based on three categories: dispatch capabilities, department infrastructure and water supply.
The Idaho Falls Fire Department hired 26 employees in the last two years, Fire Chief Dave Hanneman said Thursday during a press conference, raising the staff total to 134 employees.
The department also recently switched to a computer-aided dispatch system that uses GPS technology to locate the closest engines or ambulances to an emergency location.
Those factors led to the higher bureau rating.
“We’ve significantly improved our department,” he said. “And therefore made the risk to homeowners and business owners less. We’re very excited about this. We’re going to continue to work to maintain that and keep our residents as safe as possible.”
Fire departments are typically reevaluated every 7 to 10 years. The Idaho Falls Fire Department reevaluation was still several years away, but Hanneman requested an early evaluation.
The Class 2 rating will go into effect June 1.
Home and business owners may see property insurance rate reductions when their policies renew.
Some insurance companies put more emphasis on the bureau rating than others, while some don’t take it into account at all, a city news release said.
Idaho Falls-based Allstate Insurance agent Jim Hammon said it’s too early to tell how policy rates will be affected. Hammon is married to city spokeswoman Kerry Hammon.
“It will affect some policies more than others. I don’t know if it will be a dollar amount or percentage yet, but that will happen automatically to those customers who do qualify, which is everybody, because everybody has a fire policy on their building,” Jim Hammon said.
Reporter Kevin Trevellyan can be reached at 542-6762.