Making sure carriers are comfortable and your clients sleep well at night could be the key definition of what an insurance broker does.

However, in the business of selling insurance to cannabis companies, whose exposures include many products intended to get people buzzed, these elements might have even more meaning.

To hear it from Jesse Parenti, national director at Nine Point Strategies, making sure his clients sleep well at night means he must be alert and vigilant, considering the risks he’s dealing with. Those include cannabis consumption lounges, as well as hotels and restaurants.

Charles Pyfrom

“Consumption is here and what we need to do is now protect our insureds because in the cannabis space, we all know our entrepreneurs don’t take ‘No’ as an answer,” he said. “And they’re very creative on solving problems. So, for us as risk managers, we have to stay ahead of this and help the insurance carriers explain and understand the challenges and then be able to provide contract and language to actually support the concerns and needs.”

Parenti was fielding a question posed by Charles V. Pyfrom, chief marketing officer at CannGen Insurance Services. They were part of a roundtable event speaking on cannabis and insurance that included Summer Jenkins with Cannabis Insurance Wholesalers, Jon Spratt with Greensite Insurance Services, Kathleen Brown-Hurtado with Curotech Specialty and T.J. Frost with Symphony Grow.

The roundtable panelists were among more than 30 speakers appearing during Insuring Journal’s annual virtual Insuring Cannabis Summit on Oct. 26 and 27. The two-day event featured panels on cannabis laws and lawsuits, a panel with carriers, insuring cannabis market intelligence, and experts tackling tough questions.

Jesse Parenti

Parenti, who said a big challenge in the space comes from the risks posed by alcohol and cannabis together, is hopeful better sobriety tests will come along to enable brokers to work with carriers to come up with “a product that actually is viable that will provide protection and defense when needed.”

T.J. Frost

Pyfrom turned over numerous subjects with the panel, covering more than a dozen subjects pertaining to insuring cannabis.

Frost talked about the evolution of the industry.

“It really comes down to the growth of the industry over the last 10 years that I’ve been doing it, where it was checking a box for insurance, and now it’s actually implementing risk insurance and risk management programs that align with the insurance programs,” Frost said. “And getting those experts that have been doing it a long time on the carrier side as well as the retail side. Because we are now expanding into every state essentially as the industry continues to grow.”

Jenkins talked about the importance of helping to creating an environment of culture, safety and accountability for cannabis businesses.

“And then everything else is manage, tweak and continue to be worked on,” she said. “Because this is a space that is going to continue to evolve. And it’s not one piece, it’s like 10 pieces all working together. Communication within your HR, your safety department, your loss control department, your risk manager, your attorneys, your CPAs, we are all on the same page and we have to be communicating to make these businesses successful.”

Jon Spratt

Brown-Hurtado drove home a point about getting cannabis businesses, carriers, and the rest of the insuring cannabis industry on the same page.

“I think my closing thoughts are everybody out there needs to stop shopping rates and stop and start looking at policy forms and start working together,” Brown-Hurtado said. “We can all work together. We can build this program as one unit all together by building, stacking, coverages and working on stuff that we can do.”

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