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.
Fady Kamel, managing partner at All-Risks Insurance Brokers Ltd. in Erin Mills, Ont., has been in insurance for 10 years holding various roles at Canadian firms, making the rounds between sales and service and senior personal and commercial underwriting.
He made the jump to the broker about five years ago, and then opened the branch he’s currently with as the managing partner in May 2020.
Around the same time he decided to become a broker, he also began specializing in cannabis. That’s a decision he doesn’t regret one bit.
Kamel spoke with Insurance Journal about his experience as a cannabis broker.
Insurance Journal: Why did you get in the cannabis and insurance space?
Kamel: A friend of mine needed insurance for a cannabis facility and company he was building, and from that day I saw the opportunity to convert my insurance and underwriting experience to a new industry and made it my goal to learn and be a leader in this space and haven’t looked back since.
Five years later cannabis insurance has become my specialty, and I have become a go-to broker for all things cannabis insurance in Canada.
Insurance Journal: Has this been a good financial decision so far?
Kamel: The best decision I made was to make the jump from underwriting to being a broker because your earning potential is unlimited – it’s all about how hard you work.
Just like anything it takes time to achieve the goals you set for yourself. If you reach them too quickly, they likely weren’t big enough. So, to answer your question, it has definitely helped us get where we are today, however we have much more to accomplish and are looking forward to growing and reaching new heights.
Insurance Journal: What’s the hardest thing about the cannabis industry to deal with?
Kamel: The hardest thing – especially a few years ago was just dealing with a new industry – is that with a new industry comes a lot more questions than answers and in insurance we want to know as much as possible about a risk in order to assess the exposure accurately.
With the cannabis industry being so new, we had to work even harder with our underwriters and clients to figure things out as the needs come up because there was no real road map to follow.
Insurance Journal: What insurance product is the most difficult to obtain for your cannabis industry clients? Why?
Kamel: Right now, it is definitely directors and officers liability, as there have been a few large class actions against cannabis companies, so most Insurers are being very selective in their risk appetite.
Insurance Journal: What two or three tips do you have for brokers entering the business of insuring cannabis?
Kamel: Do your homework and be prepared to put in the time.
You can’t replace experience and hard work, so be patient, put a plan in place of where you want to go and get rid of anything that doesn’t align with those goals.
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