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New Data to Manage Emerging Risks: You Now Have Access

September 28, 2021

Property risk is rapidly changing. New risks are emerging, and existing risks are evolving. One thing hasn’t changed: your need to make informed decisions so you can manage and grow your business. That’s why we’re developing data products that show you the new and changing risks in your book. The best part: they’re included in your WSRB subscription. Read on to discover the risks these data products cover and how to get access.

How emerging and evolving risks impact your business

When new risks arise and existing risks evolve, you face a lot of unknowns:

  • How will these risks affect my book of business?
  • How many of these do I have in my current book?
  • Where are they located?

These unknowns remain until you start receiving claims. Then, you may want to review your book to understand just how much of an impact this new risk could have on your results, but you know the review process will be tedious, time-consuming and might not yield accurate results.

For example, cannabis growers, processors and retailers create special risks for insurers, especially related to fires and explosions and product liability. Even if you don’t directly insure a cannabis business, insuring a building near one can create property risk. But determining whether you insure cannabis businesses — and, if so, how many and where they’re located — isn’t easy. You would need to comb through thousands of policies, sift through potentially inaccurate online data and contact each individual business owner.

Cannabis risk is stealthy because it can easily end up in your book without your knowledge. This happens in one of two ways:

  • You write a policy for a business that, at the time of application doesn’t deal in cannabis but later switches to growing, processing or retailing cannabis. The business owner doesn’t notify the agent or insurance carrier.
  • You write a policy for a business that does grow, process or retail cannabis at the time of application but doesn’t provide complete information on the application.

Over time, the risk accumulates until, one day, you’re hit with a claim. To check your risk for future, similar claims, you add “thorough review of your book” to your to-do list. But you’re so busy keeping up with your day-to-day tasks that you don’t have time to complete the review. You worry about the day another claim will come in.

The same story can repeat itself with other risks, including hemp, adult home care facilities and more.

 

A worker checks cannabis plants growing indoorsCannabis and hemp growing facilities can create additional risks for property insurers,
as can processors and retailers. 

 

Related:
Cannabis Property Risk: A Fire Chief's Experience

 

How the right data helps you address emerging risks

What if you could proactively identify the sources of emerging risk in your book? Then, you wouldn’t have to wait until a claim is filed, nor would you need to comb through thousands of policies. You could make more-informed underwriting and pricing decisions now instead of after a loss occurs.

If, for example, you had data that showed you’re covering multiple cannabis processors, you could determine whether or not you want to renew those policies and, if so, the appropriate premium to charge.

If you had data that showed you’re covering multiple adult family homes, you could take a closer look at each business’ coverage and determine if it’s sufficiently insured. If not, you could work with the business owner to get the coverage they need.

To make these discoveries and act on them, you need accurate, validated data on the locations in your book that likely present emerging risks, and that’s what we’re developing for you. We’ve curated and validated locational data on the risks that matter to you. With that information in hand, you can more effectively and efficiently manage your book of business. No more wondering and worrying about what’s hiding in your book or having to tediously review every policy you’ve written.

And, this data for Washington state is included in your WSRB subscription. Data for other states is available through our subsidiary, BuildingMetrix, for an additional, affordable fee.

What this data covers and how to get access

Today, you can access data on multiple emerging and evolving risks.

Cannabis and hemp

Even though cannabis is legal in many states, growing, processing and retailing still present significant risks related to property damage and product liability. One insurer unknowingly insured a property housing a cannabis business and suffered a $1 million loss because a fire that started in the cannabis business caused the building to be a total loss. This example is not unique: cannabis-related fires and explosions have happened in multiple states. One insurance carrier discovered, with Cannabis Check data, that it had more than $50 million in cannabis property risk in just one state. Get a similar picture of the risk in your book by getting access to Cannabis Check data. Simply contact us today.

For insurers, hemp presents many of the same risks that cannabis does, including fire and explosion, theft and product liability. Hemp is now legal at the federal level, meaning more businesses may begin growing and processing it. Find out where the hemp risk is in your book with Hemp Check. Contact us today for access.

Adult family homes

Adult family homes, which go by many names depending on which state they’re located in, offer long-term care in a residential setting. People in need of care can live in a neighborhood home rather than a large, hospital-like facility. They may also be able to stay closer to friends and family, especially if they’re from a rural area where large facilities are less common. Problems can arise, though, if the facility isn’t sufficiently insured.

You may be unknowingly insuring homes that are operating as adult family homes, and that creates risk for you. Consider this scenario: you insure a home that contains an adult family home care facility, but the owners don’t have the proper commercial coverage. Instead, they have only a homeowners policy. One day, a resident slips, falls and gets injured. In response, the resident’s family sues the adult family home owners, and the owners file an insurance claim.

They don’t have coverage for the injury under their homeowners policy, but your team must still spend time reviewing the claim and communicating with the client. The family may later add you, the insurance company, to the suit, which could lead to even more costs.

Preventing this scenario saves you time and helps protect your profits. With Adult Home Care Check, you can quickly identify the properties in your book of business that likely house an adult family home care facility. Contact us today for access. Data for Washington state is included in your WSRB subscription.

A resident and caregiver at an adult family homeWhen not properly insured, adult family homes can create risk for insurers and residents.

Related:
A Hard-to-Spot Risk: Adult Family Homes

 

Earthquake

Many homeowners in Washington state need earthquake coverage but don’t have it, in part because they don’t understand just how much damage an earthquake could do to one of their biggest assets: their home.

Homeowners may know they live near a fault line or know that Washington state is earthquake prone, but that information is rarely enough to compel them to purchase coverage. They need a clearer picture of just how damaging an earthquake could be. The Earthquake Risk Tool gives you the data and explanations you need to create that picture.

Designed to help agents sell more earthquake policies in less time, the Earthquake Risk Tool gives you address-specific data on multiple earthquake risk factors. All WSRB registered users have free access to the lookup tool. You can look up individual addresses as you’re preparing a quote for a customer. On the results page, you’ll see quick explanations of each data point along with links to in-depth blog posts on each one.

Frequent users of the Earthquake Risk Tool report the data has helped increase their earthquake policy sales by 20%.

We also offer a comprehensive, time-saving Earthquake Marketing Program for Agents that includes data on all your policyholders in one spreadsheet along with marketing templates you can use to quickly create sales letters or emails. This program also includes a customized landing page that provides your customers with easy-to-understand earthquake risk information, so they’re motivated to get the coverage they need. This program is available for a fee through our subsidiary BuildingMetrix. Contact us today for more information.

Wildfire

Wildfires are becoming increasingly frequent and destructive, and understanding the wildfire risk in your book is now more important than ever. Our Wildfire Risk Tool shows you two key pieces of data for every property in Washington state: whether the property is in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) and whether past wildfires have occurred nearby.

The WUI is where human development meets wildland fuel, and it’s attracting more residents and businesses, meaning it’s attracting more homes and commercial properties. Rapid growth in the WUI is one reason wildfires are now more destructive: there’s more property in wildfire-prone areas to destroy.

Historic wildfires are good, though not perfect, indicators of wildfire risk. Research shows that some parts of the Western U.S. experience wildfire, on average, every seven years and that the vegetation that builds up between fires drives these repeat wildfires.

Underwriters can use the Wildfire Risk Tool data to make underwriting and pricing decisions and to help understand the concentration of risk in their book. Agents can use this data to identify customers who would most benefit from taking mitigation steps to prevent non-renewal of a policy.

Anyone with a registered account can use the Wildfire Risk Tool to look up individual addresses. We can also provide book reviews so you get all the data on the properties you insure in one spreadsheet. Contact us today to learn more.

More data products are coming soon

New risks are emerging all the time, so we’re not stopping with this list. We’re developing new data products and will launch the next set soon. We’ll keep you posted on this blog and through email. If you have ideas for products you’d like to see us build, let us know.


 

Bryan Stanwood, CPCU, ARM, AIDA is WSRB’s Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer. He has 30 years of property and casualty insurance experience and extensive expertise in managing high-performing insurance sales and underwriting departments. 

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