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Hog Chain residents in line for lower insurance rates

Some residents served by the Hog Chain Volunter Fire Departmentwill see a substantial drop in their insurance premiums as theresult of a recently approved rating reduction, department leaderssaid.

The previous rating for the area was a 10, but the area includedwithin a new fire rating district has been approved for an eightrating, said Hog Chain Volunteer Fire Department President RandyJordan. Hog Chain has become the first volunteer fire department tobe approved for an eight.

“Hopefully not the last,” said Jordan, referring to otherdepartments’ efforts to improve their ratings.

The fire rating district, loosely bordered by Interstate 55,Highway 84 and Highway 583, covers the majority of the area servedby the Hog Chain department. However, Jordan said there were someareas west of the interstate that were not included in the ratingdistrict.

“We’ll still serve them, but they won’t qualify for the eightrating,” said Jordan, adding that department officials hope toimprove that area’s rating in the years ahead.

The volunteer fire department has been working toward loweringits rating for almost the last four years. Jordan said the lowerrating was not an easy level to attain.

“It takes a lot of paperwork,” said Jordan.

Hog Chain Chief John Hart said the paperwork was just thetopping on many, many man hours.

“It was a group effort of everyone in the fire department,” hesaid. “It was a lot of hard work.”

Hart also said insurance rate drops should be somewhat dramatic,though they will differ depending on the structure beinginsured.

“Mine is going from $939 a year to $519,” he said.

Hart said residents of the area should be advised that theinsurance companies would receive a letter informing them of thenew rating.

“But they won’t know you live in that area unless you let themknow,” he said.

Jordan and Hart said that some area residents may not knowwhether they reside in the area affected by the new rating.However, Hog Chain’s fire department is open for office hours from6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every Thursday for those who might want moreinformation on the situation.

“If they want to look at the map or if they have questions,they’re welcome to stop by,” he said.

The ratings bureau told Hog Chain the next lower rating, aseven, is on the horizon. But one thing preventing the lower ratingis the fact that there are no building codes in the county,according to Hart.

“We got docked points on that,” said Jordan. “We had to make itup through other things, like equipment and water supply.”

Jordan said the department was told by the ratings bureau thatthere needed to be three additional fire hydrants in certainareas.

“We purchased them with our funds. And with the other equipmentwe got, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000 to$20,000,” Hart said. “But Topisaw Water (Association) installed itfor free. That helped us out a lot.”

Other area volunteer fire departments have been working with thesame goal of lower fire ratings, said Hart, citing Zetus’ recentdrop from a 10 rating to a nine. Hart said Hog Chain officialsappreciated the help they received from the Zetus and Bogue ChittoVolunteer Fire Departments while pursuing the lower rating.