Six Fire Stations in House District 52 Received the Worst ISO Rating of 10

According to this article, the ISO rating that went into effect in March 2018, may cause some property insurance rates to rise.

Sun News, Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Working with Doña Ana County to fix fire risk rating

On Friday August 17, I met with Doña Ana County Manager Fernando Macias and Deputy County Manager Chuck McMahon to discuss the ISO fire risk rating that has resulted in many of my constituents’ home owner insurance policy costs skyrocketing in State House District 52. My intent was to understand the issues that resulted in the downgrade of many of the fire stations and the plan to address the poor rating.

The ISO (Insurance Service Office) is a for profit organization that provides statistical information on home fire risk to private insurance companies. ISO establishes the rating every two years for fire stations in cities and counties across the nation. The fire risk data is then marketed to private insurance companie! s who use it to establish your insurance rate. Apparently the new risk rating went into effect in March 2018 and will be in effect until March 2020.

Six Fire Stations in House District 52 received the worst rating of 10. If you live in these districts (Talavera, Anthony and Las Alturas) and if your insurance company uses the ISO data, you have seen a significant increase of your insurance rate. I know of other individuals who have not seen such a rate increase and that is because their insurance company uses a different method to calculate fire risk.

This new rating is not a reflection on our outstanding volunteer firefighters and their commanders. In fact, our current teams! of firefighters are working under very difficult circumstanc! es as demonstrated by the new risk evaluations. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their service.

The failing grade was because a minimum of four individuals from the district where a fire is reported have to respond and attend to the fire call. If less than four from that district attend the fire call, then the rating for that response is a zero. If the stations cannot show a consistent pattern of meeting this requirement, they are given a failing rating, which is what has happened. We get no credit even when other stations respond to a fire, which currently happens most often.

According to the county, they are developing several strategies for the County Commission to improve the failing fire stations’ rating. Right now, Dona Ana County is recruiting heavily for new volunteers, they have implemented a scheduling and fire response app that wil! l be used by volunteers and staff to ensure all fires are addressed with the appropriate staff and they have revamped their dispatch protocol to help with response times and staffing.

All of this and other strategies such as testing of incentive pay for volunteers; establishing new fire districts to help with volunteer availability to meet the four required district personnel responding to a fire call; and the enhancement of fire stations to encourage overnight manning of the station will be presented to the Doña Ana County Commission soon. County Manager

Macias informed me that he has met with the state fire marshal and they have secured an agreement from the ISO to re-evaluate the fire risk in February 2019 instead of waiting until 2020. Thi! s is a major concession by the ISO. ISO is asking to see data that sho! ws at least four months of consistent fire response of four from each district.

I know this is still a long way off to remedy a situation that has affected my constituent’s pocketbook. I will be closely monitoring this issue and working with our County Commission to ensure that it is resolved as quickly as possible.

Doreen Y. Gallegos, D, represents District 52 in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

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