How to COPE in the Competitive Property Market

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How to COPE in the Competitive Property Market

We understand the struggles of dealing with a competitive property market. When accuracy and time are factored in, it’s important to be sure you’re getting all of the information you need upfront. But don’t worry, we can help you COPE!

For the best and most efficient quote, these four cornerstones of property underwriting are pivotal for your property application: Construction, Occupancy, Protection and Exposures (COPE).


Construction, one of the most important elements in your assessment, covers the three main components of the property: the construction materials, the square footage and the age.

1. Assess the construction of the building to ensure it is constructed with high-quality materials that have high durability and low combustibility. It’s important to class the building construction correctly. The rates for the different construction types are based on the damageability from a covered peril. Verification of the construction type prior to binding will prevent any issues when the inspection is reviewed.

Building construction types:  

Frame = wood construction

Joisted Masonry = unreinforced concrete block masonry

Non-Combustible = light metal frame

Masonry Non-Combustible = reinforced masonry

Fire Resistive = reinforced concrete with metal studs.

2. The square footage will determine whether more safety features are necessary with larger buildings, or, in the case of less square footage, if the risk of a single loss on the entire building is possible.

3. Access the age of the building to get insight into the building’s major systems (HVAC, roof, etc.). Generally, the newer the building, the better the chances of it having up-to-date systems. With older buildings, it’s important to check whether these systems are being maintained, or if any have been updated, as the risk of a malfunction is much higher with dated equipment.


When looking at Occupancy, the second most important element, you’re looking to assess two particular parts: what the occupant does and how they mitigate risk. An office building will have less risks associated with it than an auto repair shop. With higher risk occupants, appropriate hazard assessment and implementation of risk management is important. Even on a Lessor’s Risk, it’s important to know the operations of the tenant (or if a warehouse, what’s being stored). This will make a difference on the acceptability of a risk.


Protection covers those situations lying outside of the owner’s control and relies upon the previous two elements, Construction and Occupancy. When looking at Protection, you’re assessing whether the building has sprinkler systems, alarm systems, fire extinguishers and other safety measures in place to help protect the business from any potential risks outside of it’s control.


Exposures assess more high-risk, uncontrollable hazards that could negatively impact the property. Exposures include but are not limited to: the risk of natural disasters, whether the building is in a flood zone, etc. Being aware of these potential hazards will give you a better understanding of the overall risk associated with the building.

By understanding these four pillars of property insurance, you will be able to better assess the risk and speed up the underwriting process and prevent any surprises discovered during an inspection. At Lane & Associates, we’re always ready to help you COPE along the way and provide you with a quick quote.

Karen Bivona is a Lane & Associates underwriter! She underwrites, quotes and services general liability accounts for contractor risks, including our online Artisan Contractor General Liability Program. She has worked with the company for more than 35 years.

Jonathan Whitaker is a Lane & Associates underwriter. One of his favorite parts about his job is the relationships and friendships he's able to extend beyond work. He enjoys golf, traveling, Saints football and spending time with his family.

Marie Hohensee is Lane & Associates Vice President of Commercial Underwriting and assists the commercial underwriters in making sound and profitable decisions in placing business for our customers, as well as underwriting her own book of business. She’s originally from California but has called Louisiana her home for more than 25 years and has been working in insurance for more than 30 years!

Brandy Lane is an Underwriting Assistant at Lane & Associates. Brandy's favorite part of her job is helping the underwriters so we can promptly get things to our agents! Brandy's hobbies include spending time with her friends, trying new restaurants and seeing live music.

Scott Landry is the president of Lane & Associates, an advocate of continuing education and has his CPCU, ASLI, AIS, AU, and AIDA. Scott is active in the insurance community, serving on Commissioner Donelon's Surplus Lines Insurance Advisory Council, The Louisiana Property and Casualty Insurance Commission and the Louisiana Surplus Lines Association. Some of Scott's hobbies include gardening and exercising.

Casey Lane is a Lane & Associates underwriter. His favorite part of his job is building relationships with the agents he serves. When he's not at Lane, Casey enjoys Saint's football, music and watching his four children's sporting events.

Chris Weego is a Lane & Associates underwriter. His favorite thing about working at Lane are his coworkers and the amazing agents he gets to work with. When he's not working, Chris enjoys playing golf, watching his kids play sports and cheering on the Chicago Cubs!

Don Lundy is a Lane & Associates Texas underwriter. Recently, he completed his CPCU designation after 15 years of off-and-on classes. When he's not working, Don enjoys photography, Star Wars, the Atlanta Braves and watching his son bowl.