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Clemmons fire dept.’s new rating will lower insurance premiums

By Jim Buice

The Clemmons Courier

When’s the last time you heard insurance premiums for property owners going down instead of up?

Well, brace yourself because that could now be a possibility in Clemmons and the surrounding area thanks to the Clemmons fire department receiving a higher rating from the Department of Insurance.

Effective April 1, Clemmons went from a Class 5 rating to a Class 3, placing the local district in the top 6 percent in the state (among 1,235 rated fire departments) and nation (among 48,630 rated fire departments).

“This is significant,” fire chief Jerry Brooks said of the higher rating. “It’s not an easy thing to do for a little department like ours. The volunteers and staff here have worked hard for this. We’re in a single-digit percentage for the whole U.S.”

“People need to call their insurance agents and tell them, and particularly commercial business property and commercial business owners. It’s quite an accomplishment.”

Brooks said that Clemmons was rated by the Insurance Services Office in November after a survey and inspection. The department received notification in December, but it was too late to send out proper notification in the first quarter of 2018.

As for actual savings, Brooks said the commercial business property and commercial business owners “should definitely see some savings” but that homeowners are more difficult to gauge because of discounts associated with bundling services and other factors. Insurance premiums are based in part on the quality of the fire protection.

“It will depend on the individual underwriters,” he said. The Clemmons fire department’s insurance district includes about 30,000 people in 29 square miles in Davidson County (2 square miles), Davie County (1 square mile) and Forsyth County (26 square miles). Of course, the district includes the Village of Clemmons and about a third of the Town of Bermuda Run.

Brooks said that the fire department has held a Class 5 rating since 1993. He said that the ratings are based on a number of factors, including equipment, location of the fire station, the 911 communications center and training hours of the personnel. The number of fire hydrants (Clemmons has close to 1,400 now with almost all homes within 1,000 feet of a hydrant) and adequate water flow are other measuring sticks for the evaluations.

Brooks added that all the fire hydrants have to be checked once a year along with each piece of commercial property among many fire prevention measures. He said that the fire department, which includes 26 volunteers and 20 paid personnel, is responding to more than 2,000 alarms a year with about 60 percent of them being for medical assistance.

Brooks said if agents had any questions about the new rating, they can call the Clemmons Fire Department at 336-766-4114.