As Florida businesses begin to embrace the burgeoning cannabis industry, it’s impor- tant for owners to understand that even though they may already have liability insurance, it may not cover cannabis-related issues. Not only do those who produce and sell medical marijuana need to protect themselves, but so do companies that provide professional or consulting services.
“While most companies might assume that they are covered under their general liabil- ity policies, if cannabis isn’t specifically included, they’re not,” explained Kassie Fernandez, founder and president of Evolution Insurance Solutions. “Those who grow and dispense cannabis know that they need this type of insurance, but many attorneys, doctors, accountants, and consultants aren’t aware that they’re at risk.”
Based in Davie, FL, Evolution Insurance Solutions offers a range of insurance products including business liability and commercial property coverage, but its main focus is on cannabis coverage. Fernandez and partner Heather Larrea, with a combined 30 years of insurance experience, started Evolution to provide education as well as comprehensive coverage to meet the unique needs of clients in this expanding field.
“Cannabis is such a movement, but there’s very lim- ited, or conflicting information available,” said Fernandez, adding that only a handful of agents in the state of Florida provide cannabis coverage, with only two south of Ocala. “We work with cannabis lawyers, accountants, doctors and businesses to educate them on general liability, professional liability and product liability – we cover everything from seed to sale.”
Evolution works with A-rated carriers out of California to provide coverage for every- thing from employment practices liability to protect clients from employers stealing money or product, to workers’ compensation, to property and crop insurance.
“Cannabis is a high-risk industry,” said Fernandez. “This type of coverage extends past having someone hurt on the property or stealing product – if a hurricane causes an outage and the plants die or if the outside crop is ruined by weather, we cover the actual product.
“If a client isn’t able to cultivate plants or seeds and it causes a business interruption, they can get paid for something that happened outside of their control, which helps alle- viate the loss of revenue,” she added.
Companies that do their own deliveries can get transportation coverage that covers both the vehicles and the products inside, and Evolution also offers insurance for com- panies providing edible products and cannabidiols.
Fernandez suggests that everyone who works in or with the cannabis industry take time to review their insurance coverage.
“Certain industries are required to carry employment practices liability and profession- al liability, but their current policies may not cover anything cannabis related – for exam- ple, if a doctor is dispensing cards for medical marijuana,” said Fernandez.
“What if someone pursues a lawsuit because you recommended something that they say didn’t get results, or caused an adverse reaction? They might pursue a lawsuit,” she added. “The coverage is there not only to pay out when it needs to, but to provide defense costs, such as attorneys’ fees, as well. You don’t need to be found negligent to have a law- suit against you.”
As cannabis use grows, more insurance companies will seek entry into this area, but for now there are few companies offering these kinds of policies, which is why Evolution took the extra step to work with carriers who offer more comprehensive coverage.
“It’s just now gaining attention in Florida; it’s not even really broken ground here,” she said. “We want to get ahead of it; the whole point of Evolution Insurance is to evolve to meet the needs of our clients.”
For more information, visit www.EvolutionInsurance.com or call (954) 289-2366.