Superior Shuttle Accreditation (SSA)


Superior Shuttle Accreditation Has Been Achieved
The Highlands Fire Department has successfully obtained the Superior Shuttle Accreditation - Read More
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IS THERE AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE OUR FIRE SERVICE
AND SAVE MONEY?

YES!  On Monday, January 25, 2016, Council set the wheels in motion to improve the Highlands fire insurance rating through Superior Shuttle Accreditation (SSA). With SSA, Highlands’ homeowners will have a rare opportunity to improve their fire service and pay for it with their subsequent reduction in annual home fire insurance. For most homeowners, the annual savings in home insurance will be substantially greater than the tax increase required to pay for an additional fire tanker truck and one bay post disaster addition to the West Fire Hall.

Your local insurance agent calculates your home fire insurance premiums according to the Fire Underwriters Survey, a rating of a municipality’s fire services. The SSA would increase the Highlands’ fire protection rating from the “semi protected” to “protected” category in the Fire Underwriters Survey and permit your insurer to reduce your home fire insurance premium.  The fact homeowner insurance savings pays for the higher level of fire service is a bonus.

With the additional 2000 gallon fire tanker truck, the Fire Department can shuttle more water to a fire scene and meet the Fire Underwriters Survey standard for a “protected” status. Meeting SSA standards is considered equivalent to a municipal fire hydrant system that produces 200 gallons per minute.

Council believes any fire service improvement that enhances the local fire response is prudent given the
increasing trend towards longer, drier and hotter summers in the Highlands.

When Highlands achieves the higher fire rating, your local insurer can immediately reduce your fire insurance premium depending on your building replacement value.


HOW COULD THE DISTRICT PAY FOR THE TRUCK AND FIRE BAY?

The District of Highlands could borrow $500,000 through the Municipal Finance Authority with a fixed interest rate for ten years to pay for the tanker truck ($270,000) and post disaster constructed fire bay addition ($230,000). To recover the funds to pay the annual principal and interest, the District could
increase the annual fire tax levy ($57,500).
 

To ensure the Highlands fire insurance rating remains 'protected' in future to sustain the lower home fire insurance rates, the District proposes a further annual fire tax levy increase to cover fire building and equipment replacement. Long term sustainable fire infrastructure funding is the best way to guarantee lower fire insurance rates in the future.

HOW WOULD THIS PROJECT AFFECT YOUR POCKETBOOK?


Before proceeding with the project, Council wants to give each homeowner the chance to check with their insurer to determine their specific annual cost savings with Superior Shuttle Accreditation. Where SSA has been carried out in other municipalities, the Fire Underwriters survey has estimated 30% annual fire insurance savings for the homeowner.

As a very rough guide, the District estimates financing SSA and sustaining the higher fire rating in future without further tax increases would cost $40 for each $100,000 of assessed value of your land and improvements.  Your fire insurance savings could amount to approximately $80 per $100,000 of building replacement value.


FOR EXAMPLE



Let's say the BC Assessment Authority values a property at $700,000, including both land and improvements.  The annual fire tax levy for this property would increase $280 with SSA:

Property Assessed Value - $700,000 x $40 = $280 fire tax increase  
                                           $100,000

The Insurance Company has set the building replacement value on this same property at $600,000 (3000 square feet x $200 per square foot). The annual fire insurance premium for this building would decrease $480 with SSA:

Building Replacement Value -  $600,000 x $80 = $480 fire insurance premium reduction
                                                 $100,000

Using this example, the property owner would realize a $480 insurance reduction and a $280 tax increase, leaving a $200 annual savings for the homeowner with SSA ($480 - $280 = $200)

The District recommends that you ask your Home Insurance provider as soon as possible to quote you the fire insurance discount you will receive when the District of Highlands achieves the Superior Shuttle Accreditation.

Here is simple calculation to determine your potential savings with SSA:
 

My Insurance Provider Savings Quote

$

Minus:
My Fire Tax Levy Increase
(My Assessed Property Value/ ($100,000 X $40)

$

Equals:
My Net Annual Savings from SSA         

$


If you do not realize a net savings, you may wish to contract other insurance providers.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?


Council will give home owners the month of February to determine if SSA will result in a net savings. Assuming the project has support, the District will commence the loan authorization process in March to get formal elector approval to proceed with the project.