04/14/10 — Goldsboro's fire insurance rating 2 points better

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Goldsboro's fire insurance rating 2 points better

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on April 14, 2010 1:46 PM

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Goldsboro Fire Station No. 2 on Royall Avenue is seen this morning. The city's Fire Department rating has improved two points.

The city of Goldsboro's fire insurance rating has dropped by two points, which could mean lower insurance costs for businesses in town.

Fire Chief Gary Whaley announced the rate drop Monday, saying the city Fire Department's rating now stands at Class 3, instead of a previous Class 5 rank.

The lower rating could mean lower insurance premiums, particularly for commercial enterprises.

The fire chief called the rating improvement "a big team effort" that began about a decade ago, under the tenure of retired Fire Chief Bobby Greenfield, and also involved the support of the Public Works and Planning departments.

Whaley said rental properties might also be affected by the lowered rate, although different insurance companies have differing policies.

Homeowners probably will not see any appreciable difference in insurance costs, the fire chief said.

"For the most part, anything below a (Class 6) doesn't affect the actual homeowners, but the (Class 5) and below affects commercial property, big time," Whaley said.

However, for commercially zoned business to see the benefit, they might have to take actions of their own, the fire chief said.

"Even though we have a three, the actual commercial business will have to do some things to lower their rate, whatever their insurance company asks them to do," Whaley said.

The fire chief said he officially received notice of the rate improvement on Friday through a letter from State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin's office.

The chief said he wanted to thank people in his own department first.

"The main thing I want to say is how hard these firefighters, how hard the fire department staff has worked getting done what needs to be done this past year. I'm really proud of them," Whaley said.

The city's fire rating first moved to the Class 3 Insurance Service Organ-zation rating about 12 years ago, the fire chief said.

"When the rating went to (Class 5), we started a rebuilding process, of keeping our training hours up, building our equipment up."

Then, in the last 18 months, the fire department prepared heavily for the inspection, using the help of the city's Planning, Finance, Public Utilities, Public Works and Engineering departments, Whaley said.

"Our Public Works Depart-ment, they had to make sure that the water plant was brought into place. Public Utilities, they've been working the last year or so fixing hydrants, or whatever we found wrong," the fire chief said.

City Manager Joe Huff-man praised the accomplishment.

"What it means is commercial establishments in the city limits could see a significant drop in their insurance rates," Huffman said. "I think it's awesome. I know they've done a lot with their records, I know they've done a lot with their equipment purchases.

"When you add all those factors up, I think you're going to have a strong rating, and I'm glad we got this one."