Go to WSRB
Go to BuildingMetrix

About the Company 

Who we are and how we help property insurers and agents throughout the U.S.

CEO Perspective

Engaging thought leadership on key insurance industry issues from our CEO. 

Meet the Team

Get to know the team of property insurance experts at WSRB, our parent company. 


Keep up with changes in the P&C industry with our weekly newsletter. 

Underwriting Guide to Cannabis & Hemp

An underwriter’s guide to risk and how to protect against it.

BuildingMetrix Blog

Learn about key insurance trends and how data helps you navigate them. 

Agency Guide to Earthquakes

Help your customers understand and be covered for earthquake risk.  

Case Studies

Discover customer success stories powered by BuildingMetrix solutions.

A Guide to Geospatial Technology

Harness the latest tools to achieve your underwriting goals.  

Help Center

Get step-by-step how-to articles on all BuildingMetrix data products.

A Guide to Wildfire Risk

Everything you need to know about managing this growing risk.


A Costly Risk that's Difficult to Locate Efficiently

A Series of Explosions and Fires

A commercial building at the Port of Shelton was declared a total loss after a three-alarm fire burned through the historic structure. An explosion in Centralia damaged a building and burned one person on the head, face and legs. In Arlington, a building exploded, sending one person to the hospital. Incidents like these weigh heavily on underwriters’ minds and can cost insurers substantial sums of money.

These three recent losses all occurred at marijuana growing or processing facilities, occupancies most standard insurance carriers seek to avoid of but struggle to efficiently identify and locate. These incidents, which happened in Washington state, all caused significant property damage, as have several similar incidents in other states, including Arizona, California, New Mexico and Oregon.

They also highlight a mounting burden facing property insurers. As more states legalize recreational marijuana, and cannabis growers, processors and retailers become more common, understanding whether you’re unknowingly insuring one of these businesses is proving difficult.


“Explosions, fires and the resulting property damage highlight a mounting burden insurers face: tracking cannabis businesses in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.” 


The Time-Consuming Process of Locating Cannabis Businesses

Cannabis businesses end up in an insurer’s book in a few ways:

  • A property owner applies for insurance and provides a list of tenants, none of which are cannabis businesses. Later, an occupant changes to a cannabis business, but the property owner doesn’t notify the agent or insurer.
  • A business applies for insurance but isn’t yet growing, processing or selling cannabis. Instead, it grows apples, roasts coffee, retails cosmetics or engages in any number of business activities standard carriers insure. Later, the business switches to cannabis and doesn’t notify the agent or insurer.
  • The cannabis business provides incomplete information on its application, and the underwriter doesn’t have sufficient data to accurately identify the business.
To address the first two cases, underwriters — or other skilled employees — would have to regularly contact every policyholder in the insurer’s book to try to identify customers that now house or operate cannabis businesses.

To address the third case, insurance company teams might rely on free online data sources, such as mapping applications, to gather additional data on what the business does. Unfortunately, these sources aren’t always helpful. The building in Shelton was a warehouse on the port’s grounds and had no distinguishing features or signage. The facilities in Arlington and Centralia were plain-looking, metal-walled industrial buildings.

In addition to being difficult to identify using conventional tools, these three buildings had something else in common: the insurer covering them could have avoided the losses by leveraging the right data. WSRB identified all these properties as cannabis businesses as part of our Cannabis Check book review, which is available for Washington state at no charge for WSRB Subscribers. Cannabis Check book reviews are available for other states where recreational marijuana is legal through our subsidiary BuildingMetrix for an additional, affordable fee.

“Insurers covering cannabis businesses can avoid major losses without investing countless hours of employee time — if they have the right data.”


A Faster, Easier, More Accurate Approach 

With a Cannabis Check book review, you get updated, validated data on whether each insured location in your book is near a cannabis grower, processor or retailer. Your teams can then save countless hours by focusing on addressing just those policies that need attention rather than scrutinizing every policy individually. You can also quickly and easily estimate your total insured value at risk.

In short, you’ll have the data you need to avoid major losses and save employee time.

One insurer invested in BuildingMetrix Cannabis Check and used the data to identify and eliminate more than $50 million in cannabis-related property risk in just one state. Another insurer, after it suffered a $1 million loss, purchased BuildingMetrix Cannabis Check and saved substantial amount of underwriter time while it took steps to prevent future losses.

More cannabis content

BuildingMetrix Cannabis Check 

See how much cannabis-related risk is in your book and where it’s located, so you can take action today. Get the accurate, validated data you need to quickly reduce your potential losses. Available for all states where recreational marijuana is legal.  

Talk to an expert

Share this story