Lower fire insurance premiums can help lead to economic development

May 19, 2021

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet

A focus for New Hanover County is always on promoting intelligent growth and economic development. We want New Hanover County to be attractive to businesses – for our existing businesses to stay here and grow, and for new businesses to come to our area and bring more job opportunities.

To accomplish that, we fund numerous economic development agencies, support job training initiatives, partner and participate in economic development efforts, ensure responsible land use policies and plans, are proactive in environmental stewardship, and help fund infrastructure projects to bring water and sewer to areas in the unincorporated county to spur growth and opportunity.

All of these things together help build a strong foundation for businesses to come to our area. But something you may not typically think about – fire services – also plays an important role for economic development.

Recently, the New Hanover County Fire Rescue team improved the fire rating from a Class 4 to a Class 2 in both the southern and northern New Hanover County fire districts. Class 1 is the best you can achieve as a fire district, so this new rating is a great achievement and shows that we have superior fire protection in the county.

These new ratings take effect August 1, 2021 and will also lead to a decrease in fire insurance rates for property owners in the unincorporated areas of the county, especially our commercial properties.

So now when businesses and industries look to expand to New Hanover County, like along US Hwy 421 where there is now sewer and water infrastructure ready to hook into, they will also have an incentive in the form of lower insurance rates – and that means lower costs of doing business.

Since 2010, when the Board of Commissioners took an important step to consolidate fire services in the unincorporated area and bring it under the umbrella of New Hanover County Government, the Fire Rescue team has continuously improved services and expanded their operations.

I appreciate the dedication of that team, and the strong commitment of the Board of Commissioners – who have consistently invested in our Fire Rescue personnel, equipment, and stations – so that we have superior fire protection and can bring this added insurance benefit to our businesses and residents.

I believe it goes hand-in-hand with future development potential, and it’s an important part of the economic development work we are doing each day.

If you are a business or resident in the unincorporated area, you can visit FireRescue.NHCgov.com to learn more about the rating, view a map that shows the fire rating for a specific property, and ensure you get the best rate possible for your insurance.

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