NutraRisk Expands Cannabis Program For Recreational And Medicinal Operations

CALIFORNIA: NutraRisk, a division of Worldwide Facilities, announces that it is expanding its offering to include an exclusive cannabis program, providing General and Product Liability for medicinal and recreational operations.

NutraRisk can also place risks, in the eight states where recreational cannabis is legal, in another new and expanded Recreational Cannabis Program. In addition to these new General Liability Products, they can now provide a Crime option for the cannabis industry as well.

These programs represent some of the most tailored insurance coverage available for cannabis, CBD and hemp manufacture and sale.

“These insurance products are not yet mainstream, and the regulatory landscape is challenging. The cannabis industry at large faces significant challenges in finding comprehensive coverage,” says Morgan Moore, Life Science Practice Leader at NutraRisk.  “Many carriers hesitate to write these exposures and those that do often have very restrictive exclusions.”

NutraRisk has partnered with a few carriers that have decided that now is the time to enter into this sector and provide coverage for the various types of exposures. Coverage options include General and Product Liability up to $2 million, as well as Excess Liability up to $5 million. The approved classifications include (but are not limited to): cultivation – indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor operations, dispensaries / retail shops, growers, laboratories, transporters, recreational and medicinal marijuana.

“There are huge opportunities for retail insurance agents to increase their presence in this untapped and growing market,” Moore adds. “NutraRisk continues to partner with the innovative insurance carriers who are willing to explore cannabis coverages. Our Cannabis team consists of Casualty, Property and Financial Service Brokers who specialize in this space and have proprietary coverages available that are inclusive of the risks involved.”

“The cannabis industry represents the most tangible Crime risk in the history of insurance,” says Brian Savitch, Financial Services Specialist at NutraRisk. “With no banking solution in sight, this will remain a cash business. Unfortunately, most businesses have no idea that their cash on hand is insurable or that this type of insurance even exists.” Savitch adds, “Fortunately, we’ve partnered with a carrier, that is committed to cannabis, to offer a proprietary Crime product that will help bring peace of mind to cannabis business owners.”

Brian Savitch has an extensive background in D&O, E&O and Cyber. Over the past two years he has focused that expertise on the cannabis industry. Expect these ancillary lines to come to the forefront as sophisticated investors push insureds to properly round out their corporate insurance portfolios.

 

 

Largest U.S. Banks Host Accounts for Marijuana Businesses, Says American Banker

FLORIDA: A recent study commissioned by industry journal American Banker reveals that the nation’s four largest banks have opened accounts for pot shops and marijuana-related businesses. Conducted by MRB Monitor, a firm that helps financial institutions identify the risks associated with the marijuana industry, the study examined public records in the state of Massachusetts and found that 34 percent of businesses that filed to operate medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts between June 2015 and September 2016 had one or more accounts at Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, or JPMorgan Chase.

If a similar pattern of working with the marijuana industry takes hold in Washington D.C. and the U.S. states that have legalized marijuana, the prospect of financial services for cannabis outfits may not be as dire as it at first appears.

Bank of America seems to have been the most accommodating. Over half of the marijuana businesses included in the survey had accounts at the bank, though it previously told the Statesman Journal that, “As a federally regulated financial institution, we abide by federal law and do not bank marijuana-related businesses.”

Guidelines issued by federal authorities in 2014 appeared to have offered financial institutions a legal avenue to provide their services to marijuana-related businesses (MRBs). Back then, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), part of the U.S. Treasury Department, provided guidance[3] it said was meant to enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, marijuana-related businesses.

Yet, under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), it is illegal to manufacture, distribute, or dispense marijuana, and marijuana – like heroin, LSD and ecstasy – remains a Schedule 1 substance under the statute.

In December 2016, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, along with nine other senators sent a letter to FinCEN requesting guidance on how banking services might be offered to ‘indirect businesses’ that provide services to the state-sanctioned marijuana industry.

Hopefully, after nomination season comes to a close, a response to that letter will be forthcoming; there’s a lot at stake. As ArcView Market Research wrote, “Cannabis is arguably the fastest growing industry in the world. Regulated marijuana sales in North America totaled $6.9 billion in 2016, a 30 percent increase from 2015. Sales are projected to increase to $21.6 billion by the year 2021 representing a 26 percent compound annual growth rate.”