Massive response to insurance rate drop

Township's fire accreditation is good news for rural homeowners

Pat Walker

News that that insurance rates for hundreds of south Langley residents will fall as a result of Superior Tanker Shuttle Service accreditation has generated dozens of calls from an interested public, said Pat Walker, the Township’s assistant chief responsible for fire prevention.

To earn the accreditation, the fire department had to prove that it could transport water to fires in a remote rural area and maintain that supply as though it was coming from a hydrant.

This means achieving a flow of 900 litres per minute within five minutes of the first fire truck arriving at the scene of a blaze and maintaining that flow uninterrupted for two hours.

As a result of the accreditation, the insurance premiums paid by rural property owners living within eight road kilometres of Brookswood or Murrayville fire halls, or within five road kilometres of a hydrant, will plunge.

The accreditation, achieved in November, is currently limited to around 650 rural properties.

Walker said the department is busy planning the next two areas for accreditation. These are likely to be Glen Valley and south Aldergrove.

Walker, who was praised by council when he announced the first accreditation on Dec. 12, said that it took team work — career firefighters like himself and paid on-call firefighters.

The Superior Tanker Shuttle Service required many runs with tankers of water speeding to a pre-determined location, as though to a real fire.

It required hours of repeat shuttle trips, Walker said, adding that the department made adjustments to its own system, and in the process raised the firefighters’ competence, and familiarity with the areas and location of hydrants.

“Paid on-call firefighters were a major factor to succeed in the operation,” he said, adding that they and their career colleagues “truly worked in harmony with each other.”

According to Godoy’s Insurance Only Co., the owner of a residential property valued at $800,000, currently paying $3,165 in insurance premiums, will see that figure drop by 48 per cent to $1,648.

The $4,551 insurance currently paid by the owner of a $1.2 million property will fall by 50 per cent, while the $1,728 premium on a  $400,000 house will fall by 36 per cent to $1,095.

Steve Godoy, who helped Abbotsford fire department with its accreditation, is now advising his clients in the accredited area, and educating others in the insurance business.

The bottom line is that property owners will enjoy a huge reprieve in their insurance rates, Godoy said.

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