How did you first get into insurance?
I grew up playing sports and like many young aspiring competitors, I had ambitions of becoming a professional athlete. In college it became clear I was not cut from that type of cloth and I needed to find a new path. After graduating with a business degree, I was eager to join the workforce and quickly found an entry-level position with a local insurance brokerage. I was always more of a defensive specialist in my athletic career, so protecting client’s assets and businesses was a natural fit from the beginning.
Describe the industries you specialize in. What excites you about them?
Cannabis and technology are very exciting industries in similar yet unique ways. With technology you have an abundance of entrepreneurial creation. The invention of new tools that drive efficiency, increase capability, and keep us entertained is energizing to be a part of. With cannabis, you have a similar entrepreneurial spirit combined with a centuries-old substance that is only very recently starting to garner the attention and respect from the business community that the plant’s potential deserves. Helping cannabis companies secure the basic protection they need to grow their businesses is my contribution to the stability and future of the industry.
2020 has been a tumultuous year for companies of all sizes and shapes. What do you consider to be the most significant impacts on companies in the cannabis space?
The labeling of cannabis companies as “essential businesses” in most of the states that allow cannabis activity was massive for a couple of reasons. First of course, the designation allowed cash flow to continue, but more globally, the essential business label continues to reinforce the long-term viability of the cannabis industry. While a growing percentage of the U.S. supports the movement towards federal legalization, there is a diminishing faction that remains steadfast against it. The fact that cannabis has been labeled essential under such unprecedented circumstances will only help to continue the momentum we saw with the success of all the state cannabis initiatives in 2020 on a broader scale.
With 2021 right around the corner, what should we be doing to prepare for the changing insurance landscape? Any words of advice?
Communicate early and often with your broker and work with experts. Be prepared for the continued hardening of the market. In some severely impacted lines (Auto, Property, D&O) cautious policyholders ought to prepare for potential changes in coverage available at renewal with the threat of simultaneous increases in premiums and deductibles. Implement and document risk minimization measures to differentiate from the crowd.
If you could choose, which fictional family would you be a member of?
The Corleone family from The Godfather. I prefer the original but enjoy the sequel just as much. I’m not Italian though so I’d have to be Tom Hagen’s son.