The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

May 2, 2013

Conetoe fire district may see reduction in homeowners insurance rates


CONETOE — CONETOE — Homeowners and landowners in Conetoe fire district could see a reduction in their house insurance rate, thanks to the volunteer fire department.

The department completed the final task Wednesday of a culmination of three years worth of paper work, preparation, and hundreds of man hours during a N.C. Department of Insurance ISO Rate Reduction Inspection, said Chief Allen Dennie said. The chief said he liked what he saw.

 "The tanker operation went absolutely flawless considering that we had five different departments, who do not work together on a day-to-day basis," Dennie said. "This not only help us to do our job better and more efficiently, it also help landowner save money and in Edgecombe, a dollar is very important these days because of the economic state of the county is in. If we can save homeowners $125 dollars a year on fire insurance that will be good. I think they will be very please with the rate reduction that we get."

Conetoe's fire district rating is currently 9s. Dennie, said he hope the inspection will result to reduce the department's rating between 5s to 7s. The lower the rating, the lower the homeowners and landowners insurance rate will be. If the department rate is reduced to 6s, on a house that is worth $100,000, the insurance rate could be reduced to $125 a year.

The intense inspection included checking records up to three years, inspecting equipment, and physical training that provide information on how much water can the department can provide for an actual scene.

Edgecombe County Emergency Manager Butch Beach observed the department final inspection. Beach applauded Conetoe Volunteer Fire Department leaders and firefighters for working to reduce insurance rating for their citizens. He said the task wasn't easy.

"They come in and look at three years worth of records, so you can't start training this month and expect to pass the rate reduction the next month," Beach said. "They also look for three years worth of pump test, three years worth of records, they look at the condition of turnout gear and the maintenance of the truck. You have to have everything in order to get this reduction. I believe that Conetoe has done a fine job and their citizens will get the reduction that they deserve."

There are 12 volunteer fire departments in Edgecombe County. Currently South Edgecombe has the lowest ISO rating at 6s. Beach said the majority of the remaining volunteer fire departments rating are 9s. Tarboro, the only paid fire department in the county, has a rating of 4s.

"The paid fire departments are understandably lower than the volunteers," Beach said. "So if a volunteer department can earn a 6s or 7s that's excellent. That's what Dennie is shooting for."  

Dennie requested the rate reduction inspection. His department also went through the mandatory N.C. Department of Insurance inspection recently. All of Edgecombe County fire departments have gone through the same inspection or will be going through it soon.

Beach said so far all the departments that have gone through the inspection, have passed.