One big national insurance cannabis firm sifted through some of its claims data to tell us that many thefts at cannabis operations are occurring overnight, but more interestingly, based on security footage and other available evidence, it appears criminals are often getting in and out quickly – perhaps a bit too quickly.
Many of the thefts reflected in the data shows cannabis products are being stolen far more than cash, with far bigger losses.
Our latest Insuring Cannabis podcast offers some intriguing claims data and anecdotes from a top cannabis insurance underwriter, and some security advice for brokers and their cannabis clients from a former police officer.
Following are a few takeaways from that conversation.
Some 95% of all of the robberies and criminal activity have happened post-closing, according to Jim McErlean, director of business development for Cannasure, who looked through claims from his firm and their carrier partner to talk to Insurance Journal about crimes and underwriting at cannabis operations.
“And it might not seem like a big shocker, but it truly tells you where the risk management efforts need to take place to protect the businesses from an overnight grab and smash,” McErlean said. “So we’re putting some more of our thought leadership into the overnight controls and risk management support on behalf of our clients.”
McErlean said security cameras and other evidence point to some of these crimes being perpetrated with the help of employees. Many criminals are getting in and out with large amounts of loot – with reported losses sometimes above $100,000 – in minutes.
“It’s just a shame that if someone’s able to get in and out of the building within two to three minutes, and that’s what some of these security cameras are telling us, that the door must have been unlocked,” he said. “It must’ve been convenient that all the inventory was sitting out instead of being locked away in the cabinetry and vaults that are part of the policy’s warranty that the cannabis operators are signing documents saying that they warrant that they will have all of their inventory locked up in some type of security facility that has maybe a one hour or two hour theft resistant.
Chris Eggers, owner of CC security solutions, a cannabis security consulting firm, stressed the importance of site assessments.
“Site assessments are really important for several reasons,” said Eggers, a former police officer, having worked at the Oakland and San Francisco police departments for a dozen years. “One, it gives the opportunity to understand any security deficiencies or areas of noncompliance that are currently in place.”
When security system projects are contracted out, multiple vendors are often brought in, each focused on their own part of the project, according to Eggers.
“Cameras are focused on video and documenting and retaining that information, alarms are focused on their world, but having somebody conduct a security assessment, especially through the eyes of an offender to identify various security deficiencies, as they relate to either environmental, procedural or physical equipment is extremely important in understanding what the risk profile of your space is,” he said.
He also offered a few interesting anecdotes from his site assessments.
He was recently at an indoor cultivation site.
“And the door to the safe room was open, the door to the office that the safe room is in was open, the safe was closed, but there was a bag of cash sitting on top of the safe, in anticipation of the cast transporter coming to pick it up,” he said. Now the cash transporter didn’t show up for another hour and a half.”
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