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Vacancy, Foreclosure, and Property Risk: A Chilling Reminder

Posted by Joe Nolan on September 18, 2018

A few weeks back, the Wall Street Journal featured a story which triggered the chilling sensations and forebode of an unseasonably cool August day in Seattle: imminent dark mornings, umbrellas, zipped-up collars, and wiper blades. Against a photo of an FBI team leaving the office of a New York state apartment developer, the piece detailed clever tactics of deception, seemingly from our past financial nightmare of mortgage loan debacles.

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Topics: Property and Casualty Loss Control, property risk inspections

Automatic Sprinkler Testing - Internal Piping Condition and Obstruction Investigation

Posted by WSRB on May 20, 2014

A Confidence Test is the common name of the annual inspection, testing, and maintenance of the sprinkler system. Some tests are commonly done once a year as part of the Confidence Test (such as the main drain or local alarm test). Others are performed less frequently but are just as important (such as a trip test using the inspector’s test outlet for a dry system or an internal pipe inspection). When operated, properly maintained sprinkler systems are effective 96% of the time, according to the NFPA.

Among the required automatic sprinkler tests WSRB requires are:

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Topics: Automatic sprinkler systems, property risk inspections, Field inspections, GIS Mapping, Inspections, insurance, Home Fire Protection

So You Thought That Was a Basement?

Posted by WSRB on February 12, 2014

The decision to rate a lower level as a basement instead of a first floor can mean the difference between treating a building as class rated or specifically rated. For an insured, this can have an effect on how their premium is calculated. However, the distinction isn’t always obvious, especially in the hilly Northwest.

Here is a quick guide to how we treat lower levels in our loss cost reports:

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Topics: property risk inspections, Building Construction, Inspections, Insurance loss cost inspections

It’s National Fire Prevention Week — Learn about Preventing Kitchen Fires

Posted by WSRB on October 7, 2013

October 6–12 is National Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme is Preventing Kitchen Fires. While smoking remains the leading cause of residential home fire deaths, cooking is the leading cause for injuries and fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), two out of every five home fires start in the kitchen.1 Prevention is key, and knowing how to put out different types of fires can go a long way.

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Topics: property risk inspections, Home Fire Protection

The Basics on Construction Classes - Part Seven, Mixed Construction

Posted by WSRB on September 3, 2013

It’s common to see buildings of varied construction types all over Washington. Some buildings are built using different construction methods, while others are added on to over time.

The end of the construction class road is learning how to handle mixed construction. If you need a refresher on the construction classes, see our articles on each: Construction Class 1 (CC 1): Frame, CC 2: Joisted Masonry, CC 3: Non-Combustible, CC 4: Masonry Non-Combustible, CC 5: Modified Fire-Resistive and CC 6: Fire-Resistive

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Topics: property risk inspections, Building Construction, insurance, Construction Classes

Commercial Buildings - Top 10 Safety Issues You Need to Know

Posted by WSRB on May 20, 2013

Owning a commercial building or business means having to stay on top of safety issues that you may not otherwise encounter. If you have employees or customers coming in and out of the building, you have the added responsibility of protecting them from unsafe practices as well. During our commercial property inspections, our field reps encounter all kinds of unsafe conditions and fire hazards that affect insurance loss costs. Here are our top 10:

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Topics: Insurance underwriting, loss cost, property risk inspections, GIS Mapping, Inspections, insurance

Agribusiness Risks - Controlled Atmospheric (CA) Warehouses, Part 1

Posted by WSRB on May 13, 2013

Facts about apples from the Washington Apple Commission and how controlled atmospheric (CA) warehouses can preserve this commodity for year-round enjoyment:


  • About 2,500 known varieties of apple are grown in the USA.
  • More than 7,500 varieties are grown worldwide.
  • In 2012, the average US consumer ate ~20 pounds of apples.
  • The only apple native to North America is the crabapple.
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Topics: property risk inspections, CSP Codes, GIS Mapping, Inspections

WSRB Subscriber Services - Commercial Property Inspections

Posted by WSRB on May 1, 2013

WSRB offers Commercial Property Inspections and accompanying reports to all of our Subscribers at no additional cost. There is no limit to the number of inspections you can order and you will never be charged additional fees for ordering more inspections.

These reports include a physical inspection of the property, specific or class-rated loss costs (as appropriate), a diagram of the property including distance to exposing buildings and hydrant locations, photos of your building as well as exposing buildings and hazards found, and a premises report detailing any conditions found by the inspector that may be of concern.

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Topics: loss cost, property risk inspections, GIS Mapping, insurance, Subscriber Services

What Do Those Diamonds on Flammable Liquid Containers Mean?

Posted by WSRB on March 25, 2013

My job can be difficult to explain to people outside of the insurance industry. Whenever I meet someone new, they will invariably ask, “So, what do you do for a living?” Generally, I tell them that I inspect commercial properties for fire insurance companies. On one particular occasion, someone then followed up with, “What do those diamonds on flammable liquid containers mean?” The answer is a long one, but certainly helps to make my job quicker and easier.

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Topics: property risk inspections, GIS Mapping, Inspections, insurance, Insurance loss cost inspections, Home Fire Protection

Why It Pays to Get Renters Insurance

Posted by WSRB on December 4, 2012


Not long ago, I was watching the evening news and the headline was an apartment house fire. There seems to be one of those every year as the weather turns, doesn’t there?

Anyway, the reporter was interviewing openly distraught people who were watching their life’s work and possessions go up in smoke. Listening to them, I found that most could deal with that, they were safe; their families were safe, but standing there in the rain they had nowhere to go.  No money, only the clothes on their back and the wet blanket that some charitable organization gave them, nothing. Some even had to leave their purses and wallets inside to escape.  “What do we do now?” One resident asked.  Another, “I have lost my home and have nowhere to go!”  Too many sad stories on one bad stormy night that were all unnecessary.

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Topics: Insurance underwriting, property risk inspections, insurance, Home Fire Protection