EXPERT SEES A ‘STRONG NEED’ FOR INSURANCE FOR CANNABIS INDUSTRY

There’s “still a really strong need” for specialty insurance to cover cannabis businesses as well as medical professionals prescribing cannabis, according to an attorney who specializes in the sector.

Ian Stewart, a partner in Wilson Elser and chair of the law firm’s cannabis law practice team, estimates there are nearly 30 surplus lines carriers and a few admitted carriers serving the cannabis industry across the U.S. While it has become easier for companies to find coverage, he believes that the industry is still underserved when it comes to insurance.
Stewart has defended complex litigation in state and federal courts for more than 20 years with a focus on product liability, complex general casualty, cannabis law, transportation and marine claims, data privacy and security and intellectual property litigation. He was a speaker at the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) conference in San Diego, Calif., in November on “Navigating Cannabis Professional Liability Risks and Insurance.” He discussed insurance carriers’ obligation to follow federal cannabis-related guidelines, underwriting best practices and mitigating professional liability risks. He also talked about opportunities carriers and brokers in the growing cannabis industry.
He sees a potential wave of consumer class action lawsuits over cannabis as well as increasing risks for doctors.

Stewart spoke with Insurance Journal about the cannabis business and what insurance professionals should know about it.

This has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Insurance Journal: How would insurance agents go about getting into the cannabis business as a specialty?

Stewart: Well, so for a broker, education is really important. I think it’s hard for brokers just to enter this space without some baseline knowledge because it changes so quickly. Carriers leave, carriers enter, they change their coverage type…

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