Editor’s note: This part of a series of profiles on cannabis brokers, in which Insurance Journal explores why and how these folks got into the business, the ups and downs of insuring cannabis, as well as a few tips for those interested in a little professional development.
Curtis Prince, CEO and founder of Flux Insurance Services LLC, has been focused on cannabis now for a little over a handful of his 20 years in the insurance industry.
Prince, who founded another firm, Integrated Underwriters in 2016, said he got into cannabis when he realized there was a tremendous amount of opportunity in the space for “a vertically centric insurance and human capital management brokerage.”
So, he launched Flux, a wholesale broker headquartered in Folsom, Calif. Flux is short for Influx, which Prince said is aimed at helping to protect, streamline and grow the emerging cannabis market.
Prince spoke with Insurance Journal about his experience as a cannabis broker.
Insurance Journal: Why did you get in the cannabis and insurance space?
Prince: To be honest It was almost by accident. My wife and I were having dinner with some friends of ours and we came to find out that my friend owned and operated 15 cannabis operations nationally.
Our conversation continued in subsequent meetings and my friend asked if I could help him with his insurance and human capital management needs. I was not really interested because I had not kept up with the cannabis insurance space and didn’t feel I could provide the value and oversight he needed.
He ultimately twisted my arm and told me he didn’t trust anyone else, so I decided to take it upon myself to dive into the market and was shocked to find that the insurance marketplace for cannabis was a bit like the wild West.
In reviewing many of his policies it appeared he had huge gaps in coverage and he really didn’t know what he had and if he was overpaying or underpaying for adequate coverage. To top it off his exposure and liability as an employer was growing and he didn’t have a grip on how to manage and scale a workforce in the cannabis environment.
IJ: Has this been a good financial decision so far?
Prince: Most definitely. Apart from the monetary ROI we are excited to be involved and advocate for cannabis industry.
IJ: What’s the hardest thing about the cannabis industry to deal with?
Prince: Where to begin? Apart from the lack of insurance carriers offering viable solutions, we feel the lack of viable banking solutions is a real barrier to entry for most operators. The lack of banking forces operators to use cash to process payroll and this leaves them open to all kinds of employer-related exposures.
IJ: What insurance product is the most difficult to obtain for your cannabis industry clients? Why?
Prince: I wish there were only one coverage to mention here, but to be honest the industry is lacking in viable insurance products for auto, outdoor crop, D&O, keyman life, supplemental disability and even event liability.
We hope to develop a product over the next year with a carrier partner to solve this problem, which is only growing as the marketplace expands nationally.
IJ: What two or three tips do you have for brokers entering the business of insuring cannabis?
Prince: As with any niche market you can only bring value if you have the depth on the bench and the experience required to be a trusted advisor. Thankfully new agents don’t have to go it alone.
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