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Commercial Buildings: Top 10 Risk Issues

Posted by Robert Lacy on November 6, 2019

WSRB’s commercial property analysts inspect hundreds of buildings each year for Subscribers. When they’re in the field, our inspectors encounter all kinds of risky conditions and fire hazards that affect insurance loss costs.

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Topics: Insurance underwriting, loss cost, property risk inspections, insurance

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

Posted by WSRB on May 20, 2014

Every year, a sprinkler test should go through an annual inspection, testing and maintenance, in what's called a confidence test.

The confidence sometimes includes other tests, such as the main drain or local alarm test. Sprinkler systems go through other, less-frequent tests, too, 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 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

For us to give sprinkler credit to a building, we require:

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Topics: Automatic sprinkler systems, property risk inspections

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

How to Prevent Kitchen Fires

Posted by WSRB on October 7, 2013

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

WSRB Subscriber Services: Commercial Property Inspections

Posted by WSRB on May 1, 2013

A WSRB inspector visits a building to assess risk

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 the 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, insurance, Subscriber Services

What Do Those Diamonds on Flammable Liquid Containers Mean?

Posted by WSRB on March 25, 2013

Have you ever wondered what those diamonds on flammable liquid containers mean? If so, we have the answer. It's a long one, but certainly helps to make the jobs of our commercial property inspectors easier.

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Topics: property risk inspections, insurance, Insurance loss cost inspections

Educating Clients about Insurance Loss Costs and Loss Control Inspections

Posted by WSRB on November 12, 2012


The job of insurance field and loss control inspections professional is not always a popular one. Field Inspectors are often confronted with opposition from home or business owners who may not fully understand the role of inspections and loss costs in the insurance underwriting process. Many insureds believe that their insurance company is sending someone to check up on them or to look for reasons to raise their rates.

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Topics: Insurance underwriting, loss cost, property risk inspections, Inspections

Restaurant Suppression Issues: Grease Accumulation

Posted by WSRB on May 3, 2012

In a restaurant, grease can accumulate on cooking appliances and create fire risk.

Fryers hold oils in the vats. Grills collect grease on the surface, and then it is scraped on the side of the grill. Ovens usually have grease baked onto the interior surfaces, but this can run out of drain openings to cups. Charbroilers usually burn grease on the heat element, but much of it just settles at the bottom of the bed.

Fire safety requires that areas where grease collects inside appliances and in containers from appliances should be frequently cleaned during the day and not allowed to spill over onto the floor.

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Topics: Insurance underwriting, loss cost, property risk inspections