The Lift & Co. Cannabis Business Conference took place this past weekend, and change was in the air. It was a weekend filled with many new concepts and options for the cannabis industry, including insurance. Next Wave Insurance opened over ten years ago in California, and back in 2018, on the date of national legalization, they launched in Canada as well. So, why are we talking about this company? Why do they deserve to get noticed? It’s because of the way that they do business, what they have to offer, and the doors that their presence opens up.
Insurance is meant to create peace of mind and security – you go to bed, with the confidence in mind that in the event of an emergency, you got it covered. This is a luxury that had never been afforded by the cannabis industry…until legalization.
This is Big, but why?
Unlike all other insurance providers, Next Wave doesn’t put a health exclusion on their policy. Kelli Hunt, the vice president and senior commercial underwriter at Next Wave elaborated further, “All the other markets have put a health exclusion on insurance, meaning basically if cannabis makes you sick, they’re not going to pay for it and defend the claim. We will because we believe in cannabis. We know about it, have researched it for over a decade, and are prepared to defend the case if it does happen.”
They don’t have a “get out of it because of its weed clause” and this is huge because it makes insurance accessible for any cannabis business. It’s all about avoiding the dance to favour the facts, not taking your premiums but crying devil’s lettuce in the event of a claim. Next Wave tries to take a look at the entire situation and make a policy that fits. Thus, a cannabis business can access the same solution options that help make other industries successful.
Who can get coverage? Anyone who needs it.
Technically, this company can only provide insurance for what is regulated. But considering all the loopholes, if it’s cannabis-related, it’s worth asking about. From licensed producers to personal growers, if you are looking for cannabis insurance, they offer it. If you are a legal cannabis business, they have whatever you need, but rather than exclude the grey market, they look at the legalities and all the factors that could be involved. Here are a few examples of how this changes things:
- You have found the dream location to rent for your cannabis business but the landlord still thinks that reefer is madness. Next Wave provides building insurance, giving you the ability to assure an owner that their property will remain protected. In the past, it has always been about having to find the right spot, owned by the right person, but now the focus can be on the business, not trust. They even cover property managers and sublets.
- You are a micro grower with over twenty years of black market experience and have decided to start the process of becoming legal and enter the queue. They can offer you all sorts of options from property, liability and even equipment insurance.
- You are a dispensary going through the application process. Due to all the applicants, there is a lag in the process. Next Wave will begin your coverage anyway, allowing you to make use of what they offer.
When it comes to cannabis, what kinds of things do they cover?
Insurance means peace of mind and when a business has that, they can focus on the people that support it. The cannabis industry is in a very unique and unprecedented position, as the closest experience we have had to similar legalization is the end of alcohol prohibition many decades ago. Legalization is a very new and special kind of headache. Having the option to buy insurance can provide a tool to rise above the situation, and alleviate certain frustrations. Here are some examples of how this can change things:
- A dispensary could offer returns on purchases through product recall liability insurance. It can even cover the cost of staff hours to process the return and the packaging used on the product.
- A patient with an ACMPR grow can cover their medicinal needs in the event of a crop failure. If a mold outbreak happens, a medical patient could make a claim so that they could purchase what is needed to replace it.
- You can protect your precious mother plant. Determining the value isn’t easy but according to Kelli Hunt, it can be done. “No one is going to know the value of your weed better than you. We recognize that certain strains cost more but the big problem comes when you’re insuring the mother plant. How do you put a price on that? Some of those plants are almost invaluable. Those are hard. We rely a lot on our clients being honest with us. You know what you paid for it and what it costs to maintain it. We work directly with you and ask what do you want. In the event of a fire, what is going to get you back to square one?”
This is progressive and impressive. The cannabis industry may have been legalized, but we still have a long way to go. Regardless of where legal or illegal, if you work in the cannabis world, you have to jump through extra hoops to do your job. Doing so is exhausting, and discourages the right people for the wrong reasons. Insurance was created so that people could sleep easier knowing that they have protected their livelihoods. Until recently, this has not been available to the cannabis industry. Thankfully, fair cannabis insurance has become accessible, more is coming, and it’s based on data and research, not stigma.
This is NOT paid content. Simply our gift to you as a public service announcement.