Group 1, Group 2, "Special" etc groups for ISO? but why though?

I’m new to using ISO data, so their may be something i’m missing but why are does ISO(I guess Verisk now) use the Basic Group 1, Basic Group 2, and Special, and whatever else they use groupings for insurance pricing? Those names are so non-descriptive of what perils are included. Why would you not want both group 1 and group 2 coverage? Presumably special causes of loss are excluded by default and less common(or much higher severity)

Are these coverage groupings even consistent across other ISO products? Like does GL have group 1 through 5? Are they relatively new?

I understand that ISO will have happier customers if they seldom change definitions, especially since part of the business model is essentially “copy us! make your own loss cost multiplier”

But the names just sound confusing to me, like the decision makers were all “how can we make this not simple!”

Till all are one,


Remember that ISO dates back to the days before personal computers and online documentation were ubiquitous, back in the days when we relied on printed manuals and the tables therein.

You needed short, simple names to maintain legibility.

Inertia makes change difficult.

Just be glad that you don’t print out triangles anymore

I can see that, but i’m wondering why those groups were decided in general. I totally understand about Inertia, and that ISO is kinda ancient but extremely rooted(as is) in the industry, but i don’t understand their ways. it would be helpful of there was an occasional presentation/slide dec/video on “how did things get to be the way the are today, and why it’s hard to change it”

Of course, i know that’s bad PR for a company that wants you to pay services to explain why it can’t give better services, but that’s my though.

I am glad for no printing triangles to @John.S.Mill ! I’m really glad for excel. When first started i remember some of my experience coworkers referencing an earlier spreadsheet program, but i don’t even remember what that program was.

I went through this same process at some point. I agree the labeling is extremely annoying. I still have to check again on the rarer occassions I have to dive into something specific for commercial lines.

epistemus said:

When first started i remember some of my experience coworkers referencing an earlier spreadsheet program, but i don’t even remember what that program was.

OK, I’ll show my age. My very first spreadsheet was either VisiCalc or Multiplan. But for years Lotus 123 ruled the spreadsheet world until Excel came along.

I also worked on an HP 3000 minicomputer that had a spreadsheet program that could link sheets, well before Excel could do this. I can’t remember if the HP spreadsheet used Reverse Polish Notation.

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That’s the one! Lotus 123! Hell yeah older actuaries! Just try to keep up cognitively! These whipper snappers will have us doing spreadsheets in tik tok before we know it. Stay off my lawn next generation!

My default Excel template has 26 tabs named “A” to “Z”.

I had a really long Lotus 123 macro that loaded data from text files into our template from rate reviews.

(For those not in the know, Lotus 123 macros were just keystroke macros, so you’d do something like:

~FOpremium.txt^ to open a file called premium.txt

I also started out using Lotus 1-2-3. We briefly toyed with the idea of switching to Quattro Pro before Excel became the default standard spreadsheet. We also used the Lotus Improv spreadsheet for some things, which seemed like the start of the use of something like Pivot tables.