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County, Springfield working to lower ISO rate
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Effingham County Fire Department officials are hoping to find enough in their recent ISO review to bring in a score that will result in a lower level.

In a letter sent to the county in late December, the county was informed its overall ISO rating was 4/4Y and was 2.04 points short of qualifying for a 3 rating. The lower the rating is, the lower homeowner insurance premiums are in that area.

“We were very close to having a 3 ISO rating,” said County Administrator Toss Allen.

Effingham Fire Chief Clint Hodges and the ISO consultant hired by the county will review the county’s submission to see where it can find enough points to get the lower rating. The county can resubmit its application for review within 180 days.

“We know where we got points and where we didn’t,” Allen said.

Allen also explained that areas, such as personnel and available water sources, are scored differently and weighted differently by the ISO.
Springfield’s ISO rating was 6/6X but has been lowered to 4/4Y. That lower rating will be a benefit to the residents, Hodges said.

“That results in a 10-20 percent reduction in insurance premiums, at no extra cost to the taxpayer,” said City Manager Brett Bennett.

Bennett said that all property within the city limits will be classified as ISO 4.

“It’s very good news,” said council member Kenny Usher.

Hodges said one of the biggest hits the department took on the ISO review was for personnel. Hodges said the raters wanted four full-time or 12 volunteer firefighters at each station.

The city and the county merged their fire departments last year, and it went into effect July 1.