McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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March 17, 2013

ISO fire rating improves

(Continued)

McALESTER —

“I want to congratulate you guys. Dropping down to a three — that’s awesome,” Stoneking said. Mayor Steve Harrison also offered his congratulations. “This is a very significant day,” Harrison said. He also noted Morgan’s work with the city “Larry does a wonderful job,” he said.

“I know you put in a lot of time and effort.” Chief Brewer noted the contributions of the fire department staff and of Medley and his department. The official change in the ISO rating for the city is set to go into effect in June.

Does that mean every homeowner’s home policy insurance rates will immediately drop shortly thereafter? Not necessarily and in some cases, not at all — although some could indeed see the lower rates, according to Doak. McAlester’s new Class 3 ISO ranking is set to go into effect June 1.

“The ISO is going to notify the carriers,” Doak said, referring to insurance companies. Some policies could go to a lower rate shortly after the new ISO ranking goes into effect, while some insurance carriers wait for a policy renewal to reflect the change, according to Doak.

Some companies, such as State Farm, don’t use an ISO ranking to determine insurance rates, opting to use a different system, the insurance commissioner said. While lower insurance rates due to a better ISO ranking aren’t required by law, Doak said it’s not unusual to see home insurance policy holders get lower rates due to an improved ISO rating.

“We could say, hypothetically, there will be some reduction,” he said. Doak also said insurance companies that keep their rates too high stand to lose customers. He advised those with insurance policies to “shop around about every three years” to make sure they are getting the best rates.

Even if the new rating doesn’t result in a decrease in home insurance rates for all policy holders in McAlester, it could keep rates from rising for some, according to the state Insurance Department.

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