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FEMA Fraud Watch

October 6, 2015

2653922456_604a939a28_bUnfortunately there is a common trend of fraudulent activity after natural disasters. FEMA recently published a press release warning wildfire survivors of fraud dangers, giving a few common post-disaster practices to avoid fraud issues of your own should you be affected.

Often someone trying to scam you will call or visit you. When people visit your home, make sure to always ask for an official photo ID badge (all federal employees carry one), as their attire with logos is not proof of affiliation. Another thing is to pay attention to what they offer you, what information they ask for and what they ask to get from you. The questions they ask shouldn’t include anything about your Social Security number or bank information, as this is only asked for when you initially register for FEMA assistance. It is absolutely a scam if someone offers to speed up the process in any way, or if they request money to speed up the process or increase the amount of assistance. Federal workers would NEVER ask for money.

If you can see damage from the street there is a greater chance for fraud. “It is important to note that FEMA housing inspectors verify damage, but do not hire or endorse specific contractors to fix homes or recommend repairs. They do not determine your eligibility for assistance.” Which leads us to contractors: do not allow contractors to start working on your house on the spot. Instead, make sure only to “use licensed local contractors backed by reliable references, get a written estimate from at least three contractors, including the cost of labor and materials and read the fine print.” You should also make sure that your contractors are properly insured and carry “general liability insurance and workers’ compensation. If he or she is not insured, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property.” For more information about contractors,  everything else we addressed and more, see the FEMA press release.

Call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or your local police if you suspect someone is trying to con you.

FEMA information obtained from their press release:

Sleepy Hollow Fire and PropertyEDGE

July 2, 2015
PropertyEDGE mapping of the Sleepy Hollow fire.

PropertyEDGE mapping of the Sleepy Hollow fire.

With the warmer, drier weather, we are seeing an increase in fires across the state. There is no greater evidence of this than in Wenatchee, Washington with the Sleepy Hollow Fire. If you are a PropertyEDGE customer, you will be able to watch this fire in real time as the fire perimeter changes. You can also view perimeter data on historical fires across the state.

According to King 5 News, the Sleepy Hollow Fire is currently 47% contained, and we hope it will soon be completely contained. However, conditions can change in a moment’s notice, and this wildfire appears to be changing faster than most. “It seems like we weren’t under evacuation notice until the flames were in our backyard, it was just so quick,” said Ali Marboe in the same article. First responders agree, saying they have “never seen a fire move this quickly.”

This will, of course, have an impact upon the insurance industry. Diane Reed, who evacuated the area on Sunday evening, told the Seattle Times that one of the first things she did was give her insurance company a call. She “figured her home was worth $475,000, but some homes were valued at up to $1.5 million.”

“PropertyEDGE is mapping this fire,” says Tracy Skinner, Manager of Subscriber Services at WSRB. “[Customers] have up-to-date info.” Staying informed about past fires and current fire perimeters is crucial when insuring a client in a fire-prone area, such as Central and Eastern Washington.

For more information on PropertyEDGE or any other WSRB services, please visit or contact Harmony Wallender, Sr. Marketing Coordinator, directly at 206.273.7149.

Washington Young Agents Conference in Chelan

June 15, 2015

Young Agents

Last week a few members of WSRB were able to visit the Young Agents convention in beautiful Chelan, Washington. We are very supportive of the Young Agents, believing in the steps it is taking to educate the future of our industry.

This year, we were very proud to hear our very own Tracy Skinner, Director of Marketing and Subscriber Services at WSRB, teach us about Green Construction as one of the amazing presenters. We didn’t just learn from Tracy, however, we were also able to glean information from great minds like Bill Wilson (on “Virtual University Top 10 Countdown”), John Willemse (on “Autonomous Vehicle”) and Angela Arralde (on “From the Carrier Perspective”).

Some of our favorite quotes from the event were:

  • “RTFP! – Read the Fine Print! Of the Policy of course…”
  • “Up to this point the technology designed for vehicles has been to protect us during an accident. Now, it will be to prevent accident.”
  • “Driver-less cars will ultimately change the face of the insurance industry as we know it”
  • “So what happens if a tree is going to fall on your driver-less car? Will the car move out of the way?”
  • “Green materials have pluses and minuses throughout…a lot of green materials burn hotter.”
  • “Frozen Smoke as a construction material has incredible insulating properties.”
  • “But what if you don’t ask for the lease agreement – you are just as liable!” On the suggestion that we should be ignorant to avoid being legally liable.
  • “I always ask for a copy of the lease agreement…know your policy, does it fit within the policy?”
  • ‘It is probably a little more pleasant to deal with an Underwriter who knows the difference between Ellensburg and Enumclaw” – working with an Underwriter in your area.
  • ‘Many positions within the agency…are trying to bring the business in the door” – having a sales culture
  • “I feel like there aren’t any generalists out there anymore”
  • “From the carrier’s perspective, this isn’t going to be a short term partnership, it is going to go into the future”

Thank you to the I.I.A.B.W. Young Agents for coordinating such a fun and informative event! To learn more about the Young Agents, or to get involved, please visit them on Facebook.

No Sprinkler Left Behind

May 8, 2015

Are you getting credit?

Sprinkler credit is hard to get, but WSRB has your solution! Given the great track record of automatic fire sprinklers, WSRB extends credit to all eligible sprinkler systems. Having all the documentation to thoroughly evaluate an automatic fire sprinkler system is still preferred, but now we will evaluate systems that do not have the original “As-Built” plans and other previously required documentation.Sprinkler image for Blog

An eligible automatic sprinkler system will receive a WSRB Mechanical Grade and Loss Cost discount if the following guidelines are met: system must be operational (turned on, inspected, tested, and maintained to code), system must be for light or ordinary hazard occupants (not requiring specialized systems), system must be designed for the current occupancy (design information must be confirmed through hydraulic placard at riser, partial set of plans or some other method), and water supply information must be available and must be adequate for the fire sprinkler system demand, including hose lines.

“Sprinkler systems that are maintained do their job,” says Robert Lacy, Assistant Vice President of Field Operations at WSRB. “[Policy holders] deserve credit and it doesn’t cost anything other than a little time getting us access to the building.”

For more information and full details or to request your sprinkler report, go to Reports are free for registered members. If you are not registered, you may do so online with a agency email address by clicking here, or if you’re not sure if you are registered you can call or email Customer Service at 206-217-0101 or

Commercial Lines Rating Series: Part 8 – Causes of Loss – Special Form

February 3, 2015
Insurance Rating

Causes of Loss – Special Form

Special Cause of Loss provides coverage for risks of direct physical loss unless excluded or limited.

Theft coverage is included when using the limit of insurance (LOI) rating method, but it can be excluded.

The Watercraft Exclusion modifies coverage under Special Form. It excludes watercraft damage to retaining walls that are not part of a building, bulkheads, pilings, piers, wharves, or docks.

When rating a policy with special form, specifically rated properties as well as class rated properties are eligible. The amount of insurance and the coinsurance percentage must be the same for each cause of loss rated.

Property in offices may be written as a separate item under Special Causes of Loss and the remaining property may be written under Basic or Broad Causes of Loss forms.

There are also some eligibility requirements for Special Form:

  • Coinsurance must be at least 80% for property damage and 50% for time element Coverages.
  • Certain kinds of risks are not to be written on a Special Form policy:
    For buildings and personal property:
      • Farm or farming operations
      • Grain elevators, grain tanks, and grain warehouses
      • Nuclear reactor plants and installations
      • Neon, automatic, or mechanical electric outdoor signs erected or in the course of construction
      • Risks rated using the Rating Plan for Highly Protected Risks or Superior Risks
    For stock (unless incidental to the principal business):
      • Dealers in live poultry or live animals, etc.
      • Dealers in plants or shrubbery, florist greenhouses, nurseries
      • Wholesale fresh fruit and vegetable dealers

To develop the premium for a Special Form policy, you will need to rate:

  • Group I Causes of Loss
  • Group II Causes of Loss


  • Special Causes of Loss

Basic Group I (BGI) and Basic Group II (BGII) loss costs are determined in the same way as a Basic Form policy, regardless of whether the risk is class rated or specifically rated.

Here is an example of what the special form loss costs might look like using the LOI rating method:

Building coverage

Loss Cost: .044 (includes theft coverage)

To exclude theft from building coverage, apply a factor of .88 to the building rate.

Personal Property coverage

Special Form Loss costs:

Occupancy Category Loss Cost
Residential Apartments and Condominiums
Mercantile — High
Mercantile — Medium
Mercantile — Low
Motels and Hotels
Institutional — High
Institutional — Low
Industrial and Processing — High
Industrial and Processing — Low
Service — High
Service — Low
Territory (County) Territorial Multiplier
Balance of State

Factors to exclude theft from Personal Property coverage:

Occupancy Category Theft Exclusion Factor
Residential Apartments and Condominiums
Motel-Hotel Risks
Contractors Risks
All Other Risks

Applying rate factors:

BGI and BGII loss costs

  • The same rate factors, applied in order for a Basic form policy, also apply to a Special form policy when rating BGI and BGII.

Special Form loss costs
Apply applicable rate factors in the following order:

  • Company filed loss cost multiplier
  • Territory multiplier
  • Coinsurance adjustment, if applicable
  • Theft exclusion factor
  • Limit of Insurance relativity factor, if LOI rating method is used (interpolated)
  • Factors or charges required by individual rules
  • Taxes unless local requirements dictate otherwise
  • Payment plan factor

Apply additive factors before applying multiplicative factors unless a rule states otherwise.

“Formula” to rate a policy with Special Causes of Loss without factors or charges dictated by individual rules — using (LOI) methodology.

Group I:

Building coverage and Contents coverage

  • Basic Loss Cost X Company Loss Cost Multiplier X Protection Class Multiplier (if class rated) X Territory Multiplier (if class rated) X Coinsurance X Interpolated LOI Relativity Factor = Final Rate.
  • Final Rate X Limit of Insurance per 100 = Group I premium.

Group II:

Building coverage and Contents Coverage

  • Basic Loss Cost X Company Loss Cost Multiplier X Coinsurance X Interpolated LOI Relativity Factor = Final Rate.
  • Final Rate X limit of Insurance per 100 = Group II premium.

Note: Territory and Protection Class multipliers do not apply to Group II.

Special Cause of Loss:

Building coverage and Contents coverage

  • Basic Loss Cost X Company Loss Cost Multiplier X Territory Multiplier X Coinsurance X Theft Exclusion Factor (if applicable) X Interpolated LOI Relativity Factor = Final Rate.
  • Final Rate X Limit of Insurance per 100 = Special Causes of Loss Premium.

Note: Protection Class Multiplier does not apply.

The complete Special Form Rule (Rule 72) is found in Division Five of the Commercial Lines Manual.

Subscribers, full rating training for your staff is included in your WSRB package at no additional cost! Call Terry Krueger at 206-273-7153 or email

Article by: Terry Krueger, Subscriber Services Administrator

Check out more articles from our Commercial Lines Rating Series!

It’s a WSRB F.I.R.S.T.!

December 23, 2014


Yes, it’s our Fully Interactive Risk Search Tool in PropertyEDGE!


Did you know, when you log in to PropertyEDGE our Class and Specifically Rated risks will appear in an overlay on the map with a link to the loss cost? This overlay will automatically load when you’re zoomed in to approximately the .2 mile aerial overview level. For some areas, the overlay will outline the individual building with a flag showing the risk number. In most areas, there will be a flag on the street next to the address location of the building.

In the picture above, you can see the flags and risk numbers along the street. This indicates links to loss cost information for these rated risks.

In the picture above, you can see the flags and risk numbers along the street. This indicates links to loss cost information for these rated risks.

The above image shows the outline of a rated risk with the risk number and link in the middle.

The above image shows the outline of a rated risk with the risk number and link in the middle.

This overlay feature works with any of the basemaps in PropertyEDGE.

New Picture (5)

Accessing Reports and Loss Costs

Before accessing a loss cost, be sure that your popup blocker is turned off. Once the map is loaded, search for your address in the Address bar. The map will zoom in to this location and the overlay will automatically appear.

At the top left side of your screen, click on “Tools” to open the Tools menu.

New Picture (6)

–          Once the Tools menu is opened, click on “Identify Risk.”

–          Once “Identify Risk” is selected, simply click on the outline of the building or the flag on top of it to see the loss cost page.New Picture (7)

Note: The loss cost search page will appear as a popup. If you don’t see the loss cost page:

    • Is your popup blocker turned off? If you’re not sure how to check, contact your IT Department or give us a call.
    • Did it appear behind the PropertyEDGE window? If so, try minimizing PropertyEDGE and other programs to see if it’s open behind everything else.

–          Clicking the building or flag will bring up the loss cost page with the risk number automatically entered into the Risk Search box.

Check to be sure the appropriate LOI (Limits of Insurance) and Rule 85 buttons are clicked and hit “Search.”

–          The loss costs and a link to the inspection will appear!

New Picture


Turning Layer Off

New Picture (1)

–          To turn this overlay OFF, simply go to the Layers menu on the right hand side of your screen.

–          Click the down arrow or the word “Layers.”

–          Click on “WSRB Rated Buildings” to uncheck the box.



Why won’t my map pan?

–          If you’re having trouble moving the map, be sure you’ve unchecked the “Identify Risk” button in the tools menu.

New Picture

Why isn’t the loss cost page showing up?

–          If the loss cost page doesn’t appear:

  • Be sure you’ve selected “Identify Risk” before clicking on the map.
  • Minimize your windows to be sure the page didn’t appear behind the PropertyEDGE window.
  • Be sure your popup blocker is turned off.

Handy Tips for Using PROTECTION and PropertyEDGE™

November 20, 2014

If you are a WSRB Subscriber, you probably use PROTECTION or PropertyEDGE™, our two programs for finding Protection Class (PC) information and other data in Washington State and beyond.

Although our GIS department is constantly updating these map-based systems, you still may occasionally come across a property that doesn’t show up. Over the years, our Customer Service team has developed some tricks of the trade that we’d love to share to make your job easier:

  • Use abbreviations (Ave instead of Avenue): Our addresses come from county assessors, who generally use abbreviations. When you enter an address, the closer it is to the assessor’s, the more likely our system will find it.
      • Hint: One common abbreviation head-scratcher is State Route. Try SR!
      • Exception—because there’s always one: Write out the word Loop.
  • Enter the Zip Code, but leave city name blank: Many times, an address doesn’t come up because it doesn’t match the city entered; a property that is between two cities may be commonly considered part of one city but technically assigned to another. Zip Codes are more precise, so you have a better chance of finding the property.
  • Find a PC even without an address match: If you know exactly where a property is but the address isn’t found, you can still get a PC.
      • In PROTECTION, you can zoom to a Public Land Survey (Section, Township, and Range), Zip Code, or Lat Long to help target the area. Then, Turn Map Select ON to get a PC anywhere you click on the map.
      • In PropertyEDGE™, zoom to Zip Code, Lat Long, or PLSS (Section, Township, and Range). Use Geocode Point to click on the map and get information about PC, soil type, active wildfires, distance to fault lines, census data, and much more.




  • Check if the property is part of a new development: A new address may not yet be in the county assessor’s system, which means it won’t be in ours either. Contact our Customer Service department and we can find the exact placement. We may ask for parcel number, PLSS, owner’s name, or other identifying information so we can make sure we’re giving you the correct answer.
  • Look at the Geocode Data Source: Sometimes, a warning will come up in PROTECTION to let you know that there may not be an exact match. This typically happens in areas where assessor’s parcel data is unavailable and our system must rely on external services, such as Bing, to locate the address. That doesn’t mean the answer is wrong, but we recommend you carefully review the map image to visually verify we have placed the address correctly. You are always welcome to call Customer Service if you don’t feel confident that it’s the right location.
Geocode Data Match warning

Geocode Data Match warning

  • Let us know if we’re missing a hydrant: There are hundreds of thousands of hydrants in Washington State, and although we work very hard to capture them all, sometimes we miss one. If you can provide us with the exact placement —a picture of the location, or a description like “SW corner of Main St and 1st Ave N”—we’ll give you a corrected PC and add the hydrant to our system with our monthly updates.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact us! WSRB Customer Service is happy to help you with any questions you might have. Call us at 206-217-0101 or send an email. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm PT.

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