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Insurance Ratings



Jurisdiction

Area Rating
Protection Classification
Rating Document (PDF)
 City of Bonney Lake

4
 Bonney Lake
 City of Edgewood
(improved for 2020)
4
 Edgewood
 City of Milton
4
 Milton
 City of Sumner
4
 Sumner
 Town of South Prairie
(improved for 2020)

 South Prairie
 Unincorporated Pierce County
(improved for 2020)
 Unincorporated Pierce County


Home Insurance Rating Improves In Most Of EPFR Service Area In 2020

The Washington Survey and Rating Bureau (WSRB) conducted a re-rate of the areas served by East Pierce Fire & Rescue. This process is conducted every five years by the WSRB. The review consists of four aspects of community fire safety with various levels of impact on the overall rating.

  • Water Supply (35%): WSRB evaluates the capacity, distribution and maintenance of water systems and fire hydrants.
  • Fire Department (40%): WSRB evaluates the fire department (EPFR), including fire stations, apparatus (fire engines, ladder trucks and water tenders), equipment, personnel and their training.
  • Emergency Communications (9%): WSRB evaluates the emergency communication system used to dispatch the fire department.
  • Fire Safety Control (16%): WSRB evaluates the fire code enforcement and fire safety education activities in the community.

A numerical classification of 1 through 10 is used to represent the fire protection capabilities in a community with 1 being the best possible rating. 

Most areas within EPFR received improved scores. Some received enough to improve the insurance rating while others remained unchanged. EPFR specifically improved scores in one area as a result of increased staffing on our fire engine companies. 

Those areas improving were:

  • The City of Edgewood improved from a 5 to a 4
  • The Town of South Prairie improved from a 5 to a 4
  • The Unincorporated Pierce County improved from 4 to a 3
  • Bonney Lake, Sumner and Milton were unchanged and remain a 4

The new rates are effective April 1, 2020. The rating process can be confusing as there are additional factors involved. For instance, you may live in unincorporated Pierce County, which will be rated a 3. However, but there is no fire hydrant within 1,000 feet of your home, the lack of water supply will raise the individual property to an 8A. If the property is greater than five miles from a certified fire station, the property will be rated a 9. With today’s mapping technologies, the WSRB knows this information for every tax parcel in the state. The system knows the exact location of fire hydrants. Gone are the days of the WSRB just taking someone’s word on “oh, yes the hydrant is within 1,000 feet, it’s just down the road.”

If you live in an area that improved, contact your insurance agent to see if you might enjoy a premium reduction. This will vary by insurance provider as not every insurance company subscribes to the WSRB rating system.

The unincorporated area received the best rating because the County Fire Marshal conducts annual fire safety inspections in businesses (Fire Safety Control). EPFR hopes to provide this service soon in our cities but can’t do so until we add staffing to our Fire Prevention Division.

Some people ask why we don’t have the engine companies perform annual inspections as they do in other fire departments. We had six engine companies respond to a combined call volume of almost 12,000 alarms in 2019. They just do not have the time to do inspections.

Unfortunately, we did receive some bad news. Station 115 (located at 1605 210 Avenue East) was decertified as there is no longer a volunteer firefighter force responding from that station. This becomes an issue for those who do not have a certified fire station within five miles of their property. Snag Island is the primary area affected, as Station 111 (Bonney Lake) and Station 114 (West Lake Tapps) both reach the five-mile mark at the entrance to Snag Island. Properties on the island are already rated an 8A due to the lack of water supply for fire control. Changing from an 8A to a 9 may result in a slight increase in your homeowner’s fire insurance premium.

The fire department should see additional improvement at our next rating with new fire engines, a new ladder truck, and some new fire stations - all of which are funded via the Bond Issue that voters approved in November of 2018.

More information on how the rating system works, CLICK HERE.

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