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City earns favorable insurance ratings for building code program

Insurers may use ratings to help reduce homeowner, commercial premiums

The City of Kansas City, Mo., has received high ratings for its building code program, a distinction that may result in reduced property insurance costs for some commercial, industrial and even residential structures. The ratings come from the Insurance Services Office Inc. (ISO), which periodically evaluates thousands of programs throughout the United States.

For the first time, Kansas City’s building code program placed in the top 2 percent for commercial and industrial property. The City placed in the top 18 percent for one- and two-family residential property.

“We’re very pleased with the high classifications we’ve received,” said Greg Franzen, assistant director of City Planning and Development. “We’re hopeful that the insurance companies serving Kansas City recognize these classifications and apply the credits toward reduced insurance rates for our residents.”

ISO is a national insurance advisory firm that provides underwriting and rating information. ISO building code evaluations are offered to insurers as a factor in assessing risk and determining homeowner and commercial premiums, with the reasoning that well designed and strictly implemented building codes result in safer buildings, less damage and lower insurer costs from catastrophes.

According to the ISO report, “Municipalities with well-enforced, up-to-date codes demonstrate better loss experience, and their citizens’ insurance rates can reflect that.”

Kansas City’s building code program is run by the City’s Planning and Development Department, which uses plans review, permitting and inspections to make sure private construction developers comply with adopted codes.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the best, Kansas City’s building code programs received a classification of 2 for commercial and industrial property and 3 for one- and two-family residential property from the ISO’s Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule. In 2008, the City received a classification of 4 for both programs.


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