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New classification for Warren County fire districts can significantly lower insurance premiums

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In September 2020, the Warren County Board of Supervisors ratified the creation of three new graded fire districts in the county.

Effective Dec. 9, 2020, the new graded districts added in September — Culkin District 2, LeTourneau and Northeast — received a Seventh Class Public Protection Classification from the Mississippi State Rating Bureau.

The new classification will affect fire insurance costs for the 1,600 residents living within the new districts, reducing premiums by as much as 45%. Mobile home owners should also be able to shop a wider array of carriers because only a couple of underwriters issue policies in rural areas with no fire ratings.

Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs has been working on getting classification for the districts since last fall, and was hoping for an eighth class rating. The rating bureau upped the classification to seventh class. Between them, the three districts cover 77 square miles in Warren County. Additional training and equipment maintenance was among the work completed for the classification.

There are two forms of fire districts: The first is a legal district funded by property taxes assessed within a five-mile radius. The second is a graded district that is not affected by taxation, but can affect fire-insurance rates based on the district’s grade.

Briggs said last fall that legal district departments have requirements such as equipment, training, hose testing and several other criteria that must be maintained. The state insurance commissioner, who is also the state fire marshal, regulates the criteria. Each department receives a rating, or grade, based on the criteria and is reviewed annually. In Warren County, the legal districts are Bovina, Culkin, Eagle Lake and Fisher Ferry.

Briggs said his long term goal is to bring insurance rates down for all county residents.

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