The Central Saanich Fire Department has the second-highest fire insurance rating in Greater Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)

Fire protection helps lower Central Saanich insurance premiums

Improved fire insurance rating could see premiums drop from one to three per cent

Owners of commercial buildings in Central Saanich including large multi-residential developments can expect lower insurance premiums after the municipality’s fire insurance rating has improved to second best in the region.

Central Saanich Fire Chief Chris Vrabel told the public Monday that commercial insurance premiums may be dropping anywhere between one to three per cent after the Fire Underwriters Survey, a national organization providing data to fire insurance companies, upped the municipality’s insurance grading following an evaluation that lasted for several months and included a field visit.

“I’m very pleased with the efforts of my staff, the support of mayor and council, and my peers to get this new grading, ” he said in an interview.

Broadly, the evaluation considered fire protection level for commercial buildings as well as single family dwellings. On the commercial side, Central Saanich saw its numerical grade on a scale from 10 (worst) to 1 (best) move to 3 from 4. On the single-dwelling side, Central Saanich improved to 2 from 3a.

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The public heard that the total estimated savings for all properties with commercial insurance is $80,000 annually. Current residential rates are not calculated on the grading, but might be in the new future.

In other words, these investments in fire safety are putting money into the pockets of residents.

“Protecting lives is number one, but also reduced fire losses help keep the economy going,” said Vrabel.

He added later the department’s primary focus rests with making ongoing improvements. “This is not about keeping up with the Joneses, this is what we feel is important for the community.”

When asked about what accounted for the higher rating, Vrabel pointed to several factors, including the department’s staffing model and higher service levels adopted in 2018. He also pointed to the mutual-aid agreements with Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney.

“That helps us,” he said. “It lifts everybody.”

Central Saanich will retain the rating for five years unless significant changes take place, said Vrabel.


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