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.
It’s been all about insuring cannabis for the past four years for Sean Medrano, vice president of operations for The Green Shield in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Medrano has only been in the insurance business since 2017. Before that he, worked at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis for roughly nine years, in security for a while and then as a supervisor in event services.
He got into insurance with the idea of being able to work in the cannabis space, and has since worked to hone his skills, and he has developed his book of business largely through the philosophy of “network, network, network.”
Medrano spoke with Insurance Journal about his experience as a cannabis broker.
Insurance Journal: Why did you get in the cannabis and insurance space?
Medrano: Growing up in the bay area, the presence of cannabis was pretty common. Though I didn’t smoke cannabis for the first time until I was in high school, I learned at a very young age about what it was and the effects it had on the body and mind.
As I got older my passion for the plant continued to grow and when legalization was around the corner, I knew I wanted to work in the space but didn’t know with what or how.
When the opportunity to work for The Green Shield presented itself, I thought, “What better way to help this industry continue to thrive than provide the security and protection to its products and businesses?”
Insurance Journal: Has this been a good financial decision so far?
Medrano: The first two years were an absolute grind and very financially straining, but the networking and overall passion for the legalization only further pushed me to work hard. This constant hustle has now put me in a comfortable place financially.
Insurance Journal: What’s the hardest thing about the cannabis industry to deal with?
Medrano: Everyone is incredibly busy. When finalizing a policy quote it takes about five to seven days, and requires a lot of information from the client and sometimes getting those details take longer than preferred.
Insurance Journal: What insurance product is the most difficult to obtain for your cannabis industry clients? Why?
Medrano: Commercial auto. Very few carriers are willing to cover this risk in the cannabis space and those that do have many requirements to meet before they will even consider.
Downtown Los Angeles and San Francisco operations are regularly declined, there are minimal fleet requirements and strict motor vehicle record restrictions for drivers.
Insurance Journal: What two or three tips do you have for brokers entering the business of insuring cannabis?
Medrano: Do your due diligence with keeping up to date on trends and concerns in the industry outside of insurance alone.
Regularly attend events and say yes to anyone involved in the industry that wants to have a meeting. Network. Network. Network.
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