Comparing Insurance Companies When Buying Theft Coverage for your Cannabis

Comparing Insurance Companies When Buying Theft Coverage for your Cannabis

Cannabis retailers, growers, and manufacturers have a real need to protect their product from theft. Stores in particular have a high degree of risk because they’re open to the public.  Imagine as the owner robbed during business hours submits their claim has it denied because of obscure policy requirements.

Alarming differences

Claims being claims happen everyday to retailers throughout the United States.  The reason is the words matter inside of your insurance policy.

We analyzed four different insurance carriers covering cannabis products sold through medical dispensaries and retailers and discovered some alarming differences. The results were based on the language from each carrier’s insurance policy.  Keep in mind policy terms may be subject to interpretation not only by the insurance company, but legally through a court of law.

Locked display cases serving customersRETAIL STORE CANNABIS IN DISPLAY CASE

Insurance carriers #2 and #3 from the chart below don’t make it easy for their clients to operate.  They both mandate display cases be locked during business hours.  Our initial reaction was how does a retail cannabis store serving customers lock and unlock display cases with each and every transaction?  This doesn’t seem practical or even possible.  If you’ve had a claim denied for this reason, the impossibility to comply could be a valid argument to raise with your insurance company.  We were told by one  insurance company underwriter this requirement was meant to avoid the “smash and grab” theft scenario.  If someone is willing to break through glass, I’m not sure how a locked display case would prevent this from happening.

Two out of the four insurance carriers (#1 and #4 from the chart below) recognized when a retailer is open for business their product can be displayed in cases without having to lock it.  This seems reasonable and practical based on the circumstances.

Remove product each day

Carrier #1 will reduce coverage for product not stored in a safe or vault during non-business hours by 50% or $100,000 whichever is less.  If your are insuring $100,000 of product on display, but only 50% can be stored in the safe, then $25,000 of coverage is available for the product left out each night.  The implication from the policy wording is you need to remove all of your product each day in order to have a chance of it being covered.  This would be labor intensive and non-sensical.

Volkswagen BeatleBolting a 2,000 pound safe

It’s hard to imagine thieves removing a safe that weighs 2,000 pounds.  This much weight is equivalent to a 1979 Volkswagen Beatle, baby humpback whale, or the liberty bell.  Carrier’s #3 and #4 have more stringent requirements with 800 to 2,000 pounds bolted to the ground with a one hour fire rating.  Insurance carrier #2 was the least offensive with their safe requirements.  If the safe weighs less than 750 pounds, it must be bolted to the ground.  Carrier #1 had the lightest safe requirement at 550 pounds.


Warnings: not following the rules


Carriers number 3 and 4 warn their customers in large caps the seriousness for not complying.  This type of language could be considered a   “default mechanism” used by insurance companies as a penalty against their customer for not following the rules in order to deny a claim.    If you don’t meet the requirements, then theft coverage is excluded i.e. not covered from this policy in its entirety.  The carrier’s need to include the word HEREBY is likely meant for the policy holder to take this more seriously knowing its a legal term of art.

CheckmateGame of Chess

The cannabis retailer has a tremendous burden to overcome when buying coverage for their product and filing a claim.  The insurance carrier may be playing a game of chess in which you are the pawn.  The insurance company is anticipating their client’s lack of awareness of the terms and conditions in order to say “checkmate.”  None of the insurance companies will make life easy for you.   If you are contemplating this coverage here are a few suggestions:

  • Take the time to review the insurance language to understand the meaning and intent.  Yes, it can be boring, but ignorance may be no excuse.
  • Not sure on what something means, then ask the insurance carrier to clarify and archive their response in case of a claim
  • Engage your legal counsel for help with understanding policy terms.  The money spent will be well worth avoiding a fight with the insurance company in the future.

Remember, you are relying on the insurance company to pay claims.  Don’t make it easy for them to deny it.

Prices for Product Liability just Increased Vitamin E Acetate Removed from Coverage

Prices for Product Liability just Increased Vitamin E Acetate Removed from Coverage

Cannabis Licensees will pay more for insurance due to dangerous and deadly vaping-related respiratory illnesses


  • Cannabis licensees will pay more for product liability insurance

  • Vitamin E Acetate is being added to a growing list of ingredients insurance companies don’t want to cover

  • Cannabis licensee removes vaporizing devices off their shelf

The latest bad news with vaporizing devices causing death and lung illness did not take the insurance industry much time to start raising their prices for product liability insurance.  

One of our insurance carriers increased the price by 15% for a cannabis manufacturing company.  The increase in premium will also mean underwriting by insurance companies is about to become even more cumbersome.

Insurance carrier removes coverage for vitamin e acetate

No insurance coverage for Vitamin E Molecule

Even more interesting, the insurance carrier has added vitamin e acetate to the list of ingredients now being excluded or not covered if a claim or lawsuit was to be filed.   This ingredient has been identified by the New York State Department of Health as being linked to those individuals experiencing illness.   

A recent product recall by Medicine Man identified vitamin e acetate as a ingredient they did not want their customers consuming.

Vitamin E Exclusion

Vitamin E Acetate Product Liability Coverage Removal



Colorado Flower and Trim Pesticide Testing Starts August 1st

Colorado Flower and Trim Pesticide Testing Starts August 1st

Cultivators and Optional Premises Must Start Pesticide Testing

The Colorado marijuana industry is less than one month away from being required to pesticide test flower and trim starting on August 1, 2018.   Medical and retail concentrates are not required to pesticide test due proficiency limits not being established.  

What licensees are required in Colorado to test?

  • Medical Marijuana Optional Premises Cultivation
  • Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facilities

Six Colorado Labs Currently Certified for Testing Pesticides

As of now, there are currently six labs certified for testing pesticides.


According to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, the purpose of pesticide testing is a matter of public health and safety. 

Impact of Not Testing on your Product Liability Insurance Coverage

What does pesticide testing mean for companies with product liability insurance?

Be compliant and test for pesticides!  Cannabis insurance companies offering product liability coverage will be particularly interested their customers are following the rules.  A lawsuit by a cannabis consumer claiming damages for pesticides is most likely to result in a product liability insurance claim.  If a lawsuit was to occur, the insurance carrier will verify if pesticide testing was being performed by their insurance customer with the mutual understanding no banned pesticides were used during cultivation accordingly.  

If pesticide testing was not being followed, the insurance carrier will have a stronger position to deny the claim based on exclusions such as this one used by Knight Specialty Insurance Company:  

to any Claim arising out of any Named Insured’s Products manufactured, handled, sold, developed, designed, created, tested, leased, licensed, rented, marketed, disposed of or distributed in knowing or willful violation of any State law, statute, ordinance or regulation;

Colorado Pesticide Bulletin 18-07

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”MED Bulletin 18-07 Mandatory Pesticide Testing 06-29-2018″]   

Colorado Prohibited Chemical List

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”CODE OF COLORADO REGULATIONS 1 CCR 212-2 Prohibited Chemicals as of 07-02-2018(1)”]