3 Steps to Navigate Insurance Coverage

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Navigating Insurance Coverage

When was the last time you ventured beyond the summary page of your insurance contract? Do you really know how much coverage you have, and what is covered in the event of a claim?

Insurance might not be the most exhilarating topic, but it’s a subject that can’t be overlooked. The right insurance coverage can make all the difference when mayhem strikes (you remember the Mayhem guy from the Allstate commercials). Insurance acts as our invisible safety net in every aspect of our lives and unless you own a business, it might not have occurred to you how important business coverage is to keep businesses operating in the face of disaster.

Understanding the full extent of coverage is crucial, and this holds even more true in the precarious world of cannabis business.

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Madeleine Braha, Hub International

On this week’s episode of Let’s Get CLEAR,” we delve deep with Madeleine Braha, a vanguard in the quest for equitable insurance options. With years of experience under her belt, Madeleine examines the labyrinth that is the insurance landscape that cannabis businesses navigate. From federal legal hurdles to the heightened risks inherent in the industry, she illuminates the critical role of insurance in the survival and prosperity of cannabis enterprises.

The cannabis industry, flourishing under the shadow of federal ambiguity, faces unique challenges in securing comprehensive insurance coverage. Major insurers, wary of the legal grey zone, often sideline this market, leaving cannabis entrepreneurs grappling with sky-high premiums and contracts bristling with loopholes. Yet, like any other sector, the cannabis industry’s insurance needs—covering everything from general liability to crop damage—are fundamental.


Madeleine underscores the importance of risk awareness and preparedness for cannabis operators. The message is clear: knowing your risk tolerance and understanding your policy’s fine print isn’t just advisable—it’s essential.

Unresponsive Insurance Providers Cause Business Closure

A recent article from Benzinga highlights the results of poor insurance coverage, and this is just one of many examples nationwide.  

Former NBA player and current CEO of Viola, Al Harrington, recently closed the doors on his dispensary in Detroit. “The most substantial setback for Viola, according to Harrington, stems from a dispute with Obsidian Specialty Insurance Co., the company’s insurance provider. Viola’s claims, including those related to damages from an ice storm in February that knocked out power and resulted in the loss of many marijuana plants, have been refused coverage, according to Harrington.” The storm caused approximately $8.9 million USD of damages, all of which has been denied by the insurance company.

“When the people that are supposed to be there to support us — that we actually pay to do a job for us and to provide a service — they don’t do it, it’s tough.” Al Harrington, Viola Dispensary CEO.

Disappointed by the state of cannabis insurance Madeleine said in most markets it’s not possible to purchase proper coverage, but the operators believe they are purchasing the right policy.  

For cannabis operators, the insurance equation includes additional variables. The federal-state legality mismatch complicates access to financial services, making insurance not just a matter of risk management but a lifeline for business continuity. Events like power outages or theft, often manageable with proper insurance in other industries, can pose existential threats to cannabis businesses. Cannabis operators stuck with the burden of expenses normally covered by insurance and without the ability to apply for business loans or other institutional financing these companies find themselves in dire financial situations with no options but to go out of business.

Madeleine’s insights reveal the nuanced realities of cannabis insurance. Beyond the policy details, she highlights the industry’s broader challenges: access to banking, the need for federal clarity, and the importance of a supportive legislative framework for insurance services.

As the industry continues to evolve, so too must the conversation around risk, protection, and sustainability. This week’s podcast isn’t just a discussion; it’s a call to action for better protection and understanding in the cannabis sector.


"Everything in life has some risk, and what you have to actually learn to do is how to navigate it." Reid Hoffman


What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Madeleine’s advice isn’t just for those in the cannabis industry, she provides three easy tips so you can evaluate your insurance needs effectively.

In the unpredictable journey of entrepreneurship, and life in general, knowledge is the best defense. Let’s demystify insurance, embrace risk mitigation, and secure the future, one policy at a time.

Join us each week for fun, new adventures in venture capital, we hope will bring joy and enrich your life.

 3 Steps to Navigate Insurance Coverage

1. Know Thyself

  • Risk Tolerance: Gauge how much risk you’re willing to assume. This includes the size of the deductible you can comfortably handle should a claim arise.
  • Coverage Needs: Balance is key. Over-insuring can be as detrimental as under-insuring. Find your sweet spot based on your risk tolerance.
  • Identify Unique Risk Factors: Analyze risk versus reward of risk factors specific to the situation.

2. The Devil’s in the Details

  • Understanding Coverage: Know what your policy covers, especially for specific types of claims that are pertinent to your business.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t shy away from querying your provider to fully grasp the coverage and its limits.
  • Evaluate Possible Claims: Assess claims that have happened in the past to others in a similar situation and learn from past issues.

3. Mastering Risk Mitigation

  • Proactive Measures: Small actions can significantly reduce risk. Whether it’s installing smoke detectors in your property or opting for windshield coverage for your vehicle, these decisions should align with your insurance coverage to mitigate risks effectively.
  • Perform Routine Maintenance and Inspections: Prevent issues arising from deferred maintenance.
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Stay tuned for our upcoming episode where we explore the creative process of, Anthony Greenz, a professional entertainer, who has traveled the world bringing joy to audiences for the last 20 years.


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