POSTED: Monday, January 30, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Monday, January 30, 2012 - 1:16pm
LOUISIANA (NBC33) — Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon says East Baton Rouge Parish homeowners in Brownsfield Fire District 3 (north of Baton Rouge corporate limits) can expect significant rate reductions in their fire insurance premiums, effective February 6, 2012.
Donelon commended firefighters and local officials in Brownsfield Fire District 3 for the improvement of their fire protection grading from Class 4 to Class 3. This improvement will bring about insurance rate reductions for many policyholders.
"Your efforts to make your property safer have brought about the lowering of your fire protection grading, which results in lower insurance rates on your homes and other property," Donelon said.
For example, fire insurance for a home valued at $150,000 was costing residents in Brownsfield Fire District 3 about $1,346 a year. That cost is likely to drop to about $1,229 under the new grading, saving homeowners about $117 in annual premiums.
"The amount of the premium rate reduction will vary, depending on the value of the property, the fire district where the property is located and the rate schedule of the company insuring the property," said Donelon.
Fire protection grading is promulgated by the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana (PIAL) and approved by the Louisiana Insurance Commissioner. All fire districts are graded on a scale of 1 to 10 by PIAL, with 1 being the best.
Rankings may change any time PIAL resurveys a district, or they may remain the same. An upgrade (such as Class 6 to Class 4) will probably mean a drop in property insurance rates.
PIAL conducts surveys of fire district's fire protection services before issuing a grading. Factors that affect an area's grading include the number and type of training of firefighters, the number of fire stations and fire trucks, and the availability of water.
If PIAL surveys a fire district and finds it is offering fewer services than before, they may "retrograde" the class, from a 4 to a 6, for example. When this happens, property insurance rates will probably go up.
Policyholders in the affected area should contact their insurance producer/agent if the expected reduction in fire insurance premiums is not reflected in their next renewal notice.