As of spring 2008, the city of Rio Rancho's Insurance Service Organization (ISO) rating was lowered from a Class 4 to a Class 3.
This change indicates that the city is improving its capability to respond to fires. This lower rating also means that Rio Rancho commercial and residential property insurance premiums will be eligible for decreases as well.
ISO is one of the nation’s leading sources for information about risk. ISO collects information related to municipal fire protection throughout the United States. When reviewing a fire department, ISO analyzes relevant data using their Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (PHASERS).
This schedule considers and scores several critical areas of a community's fire protection. This includes how well a fire department receives and dispatches fire alarms; amount and type of training fire department personnel receive; maintenance and testing of equipment; geographic distribution of fire stations; and possessing a sufficient water supply for fire suppression.
After an assessment is completed, a Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating from 1 to 10 is assigned. Class 1 represents exemplary public protection, while a Class 10 rating indicates that a municipality’s fire resources do not meet ISO’s minimum standards.
This new classification is a product of the city’s Fire and Rescue Department working diligently to lower its rating. The city has increased training, response, documentation, equipment, and worked with the Public Works Department to ensure sufficient water supply and pressure zones to reach this goal.
As of 2008, out of 518 fire departments that have received a PPC rating in the state of New Mexico, there are only nine rated at Class 3 or better. Nationwide, less than five percent are rated Class 3 or lower.
ISO collects information useful in many aspects of insurance underwriting. This includes evaluations of public fire protection, flood risk, and the adoption and enforcement of building codes in individual communities. Evaluations are performed as a service to the insurance industry and municipalities are not charged a fee for this service. Nearly all United States insurers of homes and business property use ISO's PPC rating to calculate premiums. The price of insurance in a community with a good PPC rating is lower than in a community with a poor PPC rating.
ISO conducts and has extensive information on more than 44,000 individual fire jurisdictions.