Property owners in the town of Chadbourn and in unincorporated areas of the county making up the Klondyke Fire District will see reduced rates for fire insurance premiums effective May 1 as the result of a two-day inspection by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Although the Klondyke/Chadbourn Volunteer Fire Department was inspected in October, the department didn’t get the good news about the improved rating resulting from that inspection until just a few days ago.
Part of the reason for the better rating was the department’s acquisition last year of a brand new third fire engine which the department obtained at a cost of $469,000. Being teamed up with other departments in auto-aid agreements also helped lower the rates. Under those agreements, depending on their location and the location of fires, departments from Cerro Gordo, Evergreen, North Whiteville, Roseland and Brunswick automatically will be dispatched, in addition to Klondyke/Chadbourn, whenever there’s a fire in the district. The department also has mutual aid agreements with all other departments in the county, but it was the auto-aid agreements that helped trigger the insurance rate decreases.
The department’s 32 unpaid volunteers, augmented by a single paid employee, are equipped with three engine trucks, two tanker trucks, one service truck, one brush fire truck, two ambulances and one boat as they provide fire and rescue service to the area.
Klondyke/Chadbourn Fire Chief Randy Guyton was notified on Jan. 26 that the insurance rating in town will increase from 6 to 5 (a decrease in rates, despite a higher numerical rating) and that the rating for properties in the Klondyke district out of town will increase to 5/9E from 5/8E.
Among other things, the inspection looked at proper staffing levels, sufficient equipment, proper maintenance of equipment, communications equipment and availability of water sources.
The North Carolina Response Rating System ranges from one (the highest) to 10 (not recognized) as certified fire departments are rated by the state. Most rural departments fall into the 9S category. While lower rankings don’t necessarily indicate poor service, a higher rating suggests that a department is equipped better overall to respond to fires in a district. That’s why higher ratings significantly lower homeowners’ insurance rates in a fire district.
Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey wrote, “I’d like to congratulate Chief Guyton for the department’s performance and for the hard work of all the department members. The citizens in these districts should rest easy knowing they have a fine group of firefighters protecting hem and their property in case of an emergency.”
Exactly how much the better insurance ratings will translate into in savings for individual property owners isn’t quite certain, said Guyton. “A lot of that will depend on the individual insurance company and, in some cases, on the agency, but everyone will see a drop in their rates for fire insurance.”
The last such rate decrease for Chadbourn area property owners was 10 or 12 years ago, Guyton said.