Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we profile a noteworthy business pioneer, and ask each 5 questions. This week we talk to trailblazer Norman Ives, Insurance Broker and Cannabis Specialist at Worldwide Facilities.
Tell us about your company:
Established in 1970, Worldwide Facilities is a national wholesale insurance broker, managing general agent and program underwriter. For nearly 50 years our team of insurance specialists have provided innovative solutions to the specialty US and international insurance markets. More recently through a combination of organic growth, recruitment and acquisitions Worldwide Facilities has aggressively expanded presence, standing and financial strength more than tripling its size to more than $1.5 billion in premium and is among the four largest wholesale brokers in the US.
Why did you choose the cannabis/hemp business?
Did I choose the cannabis industry, or did it choose me? It was not long after Initiative 502 passed in Washington legalizing the production and sales of adult-use/recreational marijuana that I started receiving inquiries from business owners and investors trying to understand what kind of insurance policy options were available for a marijuana license holder and other marijuana related endeavors. Not long after some of the first policies issued to license holders I began speaking business networking groups like the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) and Washington Marijuana Association (WAMA) to help educate the community and committed myself to volunteering in the community like the non-profit Cannabis Coalition for Standards and Ethics (CCSE) and later The Cannabis Alliance. I am honored to be able to contribute my time and energy in support of the cannabis movement and the many amazing, caring, compassionate individuals who have been doing this meaningful work at great risk and often their own expense to deliver meaningful healthcare services to some of our communities most vulnerable members.
What change will your firm address in the industry?
Progress & solutions! With more than 20 years of experience in the nutraceutical space, Worldwide’s NutraRisk practice group is already the recognized leader delivering insuring products for dietary supplements, CBD, vitamins, health, nutrition and naturalist products. The expansion into regulated cannabis is a natural progression of our continued commitment to its core institutional strengths. Over the course of the last year, they have done more than any other insurance organization to improve the market following the launch of two new insurance carriers (both highly regarded A+ XV carriers) including their best in class, exclusive cannabis offering that was announced in September of 2018.
What has been the reaction to your product?
Over the past four years I have placed more than 1,000 policies generating $4.5 million in insurance premium delivering insurance protection to more than $400 million dollars in legal/regulated cannabis sales.
What have been some key milestones for you?
This past year, I have been honored to serve as an elected board member of The Cannabis Alliance, Washington State’s largest and most influential non-profit advocating for the advancement of a vital, ethical and sustainable cannabis industry.
I am proud to serve my fellow insurance professionals as a panelist for Business Insurance Master Class “Cannabis Cover” held in Denver & Los Angeles in March 2019.
This spring I have been invited to speak by the Defense Research Institute, Washington DC, to the international organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation for their May 2019 installment of “Marijuana Law”.
Where can readers learn more?