New Dawn Risk (UK): Cannabis Insurance – the missing ‘umbrella’

Authored By: Max Carter  CEO 

Cannabis firms lack basic protections with a $1bn insurance gap in the industry

Sourcing insurance has always been a challenge for cannabis companies, although many states require proof of insurance for cannabis business applicants seeking licences.

But insurance premium costs are inflated because of the nature of the business. A Californian cannabis farmer we met reported that he knew of only two insurers who would provide the general liability policy required for any farm to legally operate in California, and, at present he cannot find an insurer who will provide the crop insurance he really wants.

Larger firms still struggle with higher costs and availability. Kyle Kazan, chief executive of Glass House Group, says that his cultivation facilities in California pay double the insurance premiums required for his non-cannabis farms (Source FT.com). He found it an ongoing challenge to find insurers who understand the industry.

One further group to consider are the suppliers of professional services to cannabis businesses. Accountants, lawyers, venture capitalists and angel investors will invalidate many of their professional liability and D&O covers by working with any cannabis firm – insurances which are legally required for them to work professionally for any client.

There is a significant demand for insurance policy wordings that will protect this group; and putting this in place could help drive up the quality of corporate accounting and financial reporting among listed cannabis businesses.

Currently, fear of government sanctions is the driving force behind reticence among insurers to get involved with the cannabis industry. However, the insurance community – brokers, risk managers and underwriters alike – typically thrive on finding solutions to challenging problems. We have already seen evidence of this. In 2019 the US National Cannabis Risk Management Association (NCRMA) announced that it was setting up a member-owned insurance company to help it manage and transfer its risks

We also believe that another solution could be for cannabis businesses to consider establishing self-funded captives domiciled in countries with more understanding regulatory regimes.

The current global crisis will make it tougher for producers to obtain insurance, as providers further tighten terms and conditions and introduce exclusions, while insurers who may have been looking to enter the marker will put their plans on hold.

While we wait to see how the cannabis industry weathers the stresses of COVID-19, it is vital that we
maintain the discussion around how best to help it find the cover it needs for the future.

You can download the New Dawn Risk white paper on cannabis insurance at https://www.newdawnrisk.com/2020/03/16/us-cannabis-is-a-burning-issue-for-the-insurance-industry/

Max Carter is the CEO of insurance broker New Dawn Risk.

 

Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers

Cannabis Law Journal – Editorial Board Members

Editor – Sean Hocking

Author Bios

Canada
Matt Maurer – Minden Gross
Jeff Hergot – Wildboer Dellelce LLP

Costa Rica
Tim Morales – The Cannabis Industry Association Costa Rica

Nicaragua
Elvin Rodríguez Fabilena

USA

General
Julie Godard
Carl L Rowley -Thompson Coburn LLP

Arizona
Jerry Chesler – Chesler Consulting

California
Ian Stewart – Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Otis Felder – Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Lance Rogers – Greenspoon Marder – San Diego
Jessica McElfresh -McElfresh Law – San Diego
Tracy Gallegos – Partner – Fox Rothschild

Colorado
Adam Detsky – Knight Nicastro
Dave Rodman – Dave Rodman Law Group
Peter Fendel – CMR Real Estate Network
Nate Reed – CMR Real Estate Network

Florida
Matthew Ginder – Greenspoon Marder
David C. Kotler – Cohen Kotler

Illinois
William Bogot – Fox Rothschild

Massachusetts
Valerio Romano, Attorney – VGR Law Firm, PC

Nevada
Neal Gidvani – Snr Assoc: Greenspoon Marder
Phillip Silvestri – Snr Assoc: Greenspoon Marder

Tracy Gallegos – Associate Fox Rothschild

New Jersey

Matthew G. Miller – MG Miller Intellectual Property Law LLC
Daniel T. McKillop – Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC

New York
Gregory J. Ryan, Esq. Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP
Tim Nolen Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Oregon
Paul Loney & Kristie Cromwell – Loney Law Group
William Stewart – Half Baked Labs

Pennsylvania
Andrew B. Sacks – Managing Partner Sacks Weston Diamond
William Roark – Principal Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin
Joshua Horn – Partner Fox Rothschild

Washington DC
Teddy Eynon – Partner Fox Rothschild