An improved insurance rating for Hall County Fire Services could spell financial relief for some residents, according to county officials.
The Insurance Services Office has bumped up Hall County’s rating to Class 3 following a review of fire department resources, water department operations, emergency communications systems and prevention initiatives. Class 1 designation is the highest rating that can be obtained.
Scores in every category improved since the last review was completed in 2005.
The latest rating places the county fire services within the top tier of departments in the state and nationwide. Hall County outperforms nearly 45,000 other fire departments across the United States, according to a report by the fire department.
The Class 3 designation, which applies to departments that have stations with a five-mile service radius of homes and residences, as well as hydrants within 1,000 feet, officially takes effect in October.
About 46,000 residences are served by these fire stations, and Fire Chief David Kimbrell said these homeowners could see their insurance premiums drop.
“If residents are unsure they can call our office or their insurance agent to request an update of their rating,” he added.
Kimbrell estimates total savings of nearly $2.8 million for impacted residents.
Hall County Commissioner Scott Gibbs said the improved rating shows tax dollars can help reduce the expenses of county residents, adding there is a “direct correlation between your premiums and your risk.”
Kimbrell said the fire department can improve its rating even more through an upgrade of the 911 system and expansion of fire stations.
Funding for these upgrades could come from SPLOST VII if county voters approve extending the 1 percent sales tax for capital projects next spring.
The county has identified about $12 million in revenue from SPLOST for the new communications system, and Kimbrell is seeking about $20 million in funding for new fire stations, trucks and additional resources.