Voice 1: “Knock, knock!”
Voice 2: “Who’s there?” Voice 1: “ISO”
Voice 2: “ISO who?” Voice 1: “I so want to come in and check out
your business to help ensure you’re paying the right insurance premiums!”
Protecting your business is no joke, which is why you might receive a visit from ISO
someday. ISO, or Insurance Services Office, provides information, products, and services
related to property risk, with an emphasis on fire rates for buildings.
At the request of your insurance carrier, ISO will visit your business to gather information
your carrier can use to help them establish an adequate insurance premium for your building
and business personal property. ISO will indicate credits and surcharges on
your building’s fire rate which in turn can affect your insurance premium. So it’s up
to you to help make sure they have their information right!
When determining your fire rate, they will look at things like your building’s construction,
operations within the building, fire protection systems, and other various hazards of occupancy.
The materials used for the construction of your building can be a major factor in determining
your fire rate. If you have building plans available, they can help answer some questions
like: What materials were used when building, and were those materials fire resistant?
The daily operations inside your building are very important as well. What type of occupancy
is this? Is it a manufacturing plant, a warehouse used only for storage? A food service with
lots of customers coming and going? Is there more than one tenant here? Keep in mind if
there’s more than one tenant, each one will receive their own separate classification.
There are a variety of items your ISO representative will look for when examining your fire protection
system such as: sprinkler systems, portable fire extinguishers, a fire alarm system and,
if applicable, restaurant protection systems. Portable fire extinguishers are very important
because they are easy to use in an emergency. Your ISO representative will look for how
many you have in the building, along with the size, mounting, placement, and service
history. There are even special classifications for
portable fire extinguishers. For example, kitchens need a Class K extinguisher to put
out grease fires. Another issue ISO will review is called Hazards
of Occupancy or “what danger does your business pose by simply existing?” Do you house flammables?
Do you use cooking equipment? Do you require dust control? Are there heat-producing devices
like ovens or kilns? Things that seem common in your daily operations can negatively influence
your rating if not properly monitored and maintained!
ISO offers a Preparation Checklist and a Sprinkler Information Sheet to help you collect the
necessary information prior to their visit. If this all sounds a little overwhelming,
it doesn’t have to be! Just remember, the more information you can provide during your
ISO visit, the more accurate their fire rate will be for your building.
And that means peace of mind that you will pay a fair premium for your property insurance.
To learn more about how you can prepare for an ISO visit, contact your local independent