Obtaining adequate and affordable insurance coverage remains one of the many challenges in the cannabis industry. Most large insurance carriers – adverse to the risk posed by unfavorable federal law – have so far chosen to leave millions of dollars in potential annual premiums that cannabis industry businesses are willing to pay on the table. But there is some good news to report while we wait for federal law to change: More carriers are entering the market, a growing number of insurance brokers have established expertise in procuring coverage, and a new cannabis coverage endorsement to standard commercial property policies is now available in most states.
More Competition to Cover Cannabis
According to the Cannabis Working Group of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the number of insurers underwriting coverage for cannabis-related businesses has risen from only six in 2020 to more than 30 today. More competition should put some downward pressure on premiums, even though premiums are likely to remain high even for relatively narrow coverage. Policy limits currently remain low even for large operations, with coverage for commercial general liability (CGL), property damage, and product liability coverage typically maxing out at $1 million per occurrence/$2 million aggregate.
A New Endorsement Broadens Property Coverage
A standard “Cannabis Coverage” endorsement now available in most states covers property damage to “cannabis stock” owned by the insured or in the insured’s care in a covered building, including growing plants. The endorsement also covers losses from business interruption and extra expenses incurred to mitigate a slowdown or stoppage of business related to the property damage. The endorsement adds cannabis exclusions to the standard commercial property policy, but the exclusion is not applicable to the categories of coverages the endorsement specifically provides. Covered “cannabis activity” is broadly defined as