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US: "Growth of cannabis industry brings added exposures"

The cannabis industry and the commercial insurance markets for it have seen substantial growth over the past decade, although some insurance issues persist, according to Ian Stewart, chair of the national cannabis and hemp law practice at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP in Los Angeles.

That growth also has brought with it added exposures, Mr. Stewart said during a Monday session at Riskworld, the Risk Insurance Management Society Inc.’s annual meeting in Atlanta.

For some lines, such as general liability, auto and workers compensation, there are many insurers and brokers for cannabis operators, said Mr. Stewart, who has been involved with cannabis law since 2014. “Since then, there’s been an explosion in the cannabis market,” he said.

Still, areas such as excess coverage and some specialty lines can be challenging, and the market remains largely surplus lines, he said. As the market has grown, so have its exposures, Mr. Stewart said. As manufactured products increase their share of sales, they bring with them product liability lawsuits. Thus far, most of these suits have been about ancillary liability, involving the product but not bodily injury, such as mislabeling, consumer recalls or problems with testing labs.


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