Property Insurance Rates Are Increasing - How Will Your Building C.O.P.E?

October 4, 2022

shutterstock_663842305-1image credit: worawee/

Property insurance rates have been steadily increasing for the past 18 consecutive quarters. While the worst of these rate increases are behind us, it is still a very difficult market. It is likely that you will see a rate increase at renewal. However, the size of that increase depends on factors such as whether your properties have had any losses and the risk profile of your buildings. There are four property risk characteristics (Construction, Occupancy, Protection and Exposure known as C.O.P.E), that are vital to underwriters when evaluating a submission for property insurance. C.O.P.E. ultimately affects the price you will pay for a commercial property insurance policy. Insurers use this data to identify factors that could cause an insurance company to experience a loss.

Let’s analyze each of these risk characteristics:


There are many factors to weigh in this area. A few key ones include:

  • Combustibility of materials
  • Mix of building materials (i.e. wood, concrete, etc.)
  • Building height
  • Amount & type of glass and/or windows
  • Roofing details (covering and age)


This category focuses on what services are offered at the property or what products are housed in it. The insured class (retail, manufacturing, office, etc.) will contribute to determine its risk of loss, as well as how the insured manages its operations. It is important to understand that even similar insureds can manage their exposures and hazards differently.


Here, the underwriter examines how protected the structure or property is in the event of a fire.

  • Are there automatic sprinkler systems?
  • What’s the proximity to the nearest fire station or fire hydrants?
  • Are there fire walls and/or fire doors?
  • Does the nearest fire department have members that are paid or volunteers?

At the end of the day, the more protected the property, the better the property evaluation. This means the underwriter can give you a better price on your policy.


Since not all hazards are directly related to the insured’s structure or operation, underwriters are also interested in any external hazards the insured property is exposed to. Some examples of such external exposures include:

  • Is the property in a flood zone?
  • Does the structure have earthquake exposure?
  • Is the location in a high crime area?
  • What is the vandalism rate in the area? 

As a commercial property owner, make sure you educate yourself on C.O.P.E. It will most certainly benefit your property underwriting process.

Have more questions about C.O.P.E. or any other insurance questions regarding your commercial property or corporate policy renewal, reach out to TSIB for a free risk review.

Learn more about the TSIB Difference!

TSIB’s Risk Consultants are currently servicing the following locations:
East Coast: New York City, NY; Bergen County, NJFairfield County, CTPhiladelphia, PA
Texas: Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas
California: Orange CountyLos Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County

Topics: Property Coverage

Written by The TSIB Team

All Authors and TSIB