The Insurance Services Office uses property protection classes are numeric scores that range from 1 to 10 to rank the fire protection in the areas of fire department quality, water supply system, and fire alarm and communication systems, according to the International Risk Management Institute. A ranking of 1 is the highest in this system and 10 is the lowest. Many insurance carriers use the property class ranking in determining rates for property insurance.
All 50 states use the Insurance Services Office public protection classification in some way, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. The organization has field representatives that survey the protection facilities in a community and score them using a fire suppression rating system. They convert this score to the property protection class.
A community's property protection class recognizes its efforts at preventing and limiting damage from fires. More importantly to consumers, some insurance companies use the community's rating in establishing fair rates for property insurance, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. The program helps to guide community decision makers as they determine how to allocate funds for improving protection. Communities that make improvements to their fire suppression system have the option of asking for a resurvey from the Insurance Service Office to improve their score and lower the cost of insuring properties for residents.