In an effort to present itself as more business-friendly, the Arizona House of Representatives recently gave final approval to a bill that would give $50 million in tax breaks over three years to insurance companies that invest in high-tech corporations in that state. [Read more…]
Cold weather affects us all, especially since all the extra time indoors in close quarters means we’re passing colds and flu back and forth with greater than average efficiency. Cold weather affects more than just people however, and, in fact, unseasonably cold weather in Florida – including ice storms – has caused citrus growers in the central part of the state to report crop damage.
Ray Royse, executive director of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association in central Florida, said, “There was definitely some damage,” and added, “We did have some areas that had damage last night.” He continued, saying, “It’s too early to tell whether or not we’ll have significant fruit drop but certainly we’re going to have juice loss within some fruit in some areas.”
On Tuesday night, overnight temperatures in Highlands, the second-largest citrus-producing county in Florida, fell well below freezing. Florida growers are responsible for more than seventy-five percent for the U.S. orange crop, and roughly forty percent of the world’s orange juice supply.
Citrus is fairly fragile where temperature is concerned, and even four hours of temperatures lower than 28 degrees Fahrenheit can cause damage, which, according to Royce, is exactly what happened Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Royce elaborated, “I don’t think it’s to the level of being catastrophic tree killing cold anywhere, but we certainly are going to see some damage coming out of last night. It is not fruit frozen in every single grove. It is not small twig damage everywhere, but there’s definitely some blocks that are going to have damaged fruit.”
Highlands County Growers Association represents 185 members in the geographic center of Florida’s world-renowned citrus region.
Royce said his damage assessment, while still early, was based on contacting growers scattered across some 40,000 acres of orange groves across the region.
Most commercial citrus growers carry some kind of insurance on their crops, but even if their finances are relatively secure, it means the cost of orange juice may increase this year.
If you live in one of the fifteen states where medical marijuana is legal, and are concerned about the cost of being involved in the medical cannabis industry, you can rest a little easier. Last March, an insurance company based in Rancho Cordova, CA launched the first nationally available coverage designed specifically for the medical marijuana industry.
As reported in the Sacramento Bee, Mike Aberle, a commercial insurance agent with the firm – Statewide Insurance – and the national director of its new Medical Marijuana Specialty Division said, “Given the growth in the industry, I think it’s only a matter of time” before other states allow medical marijuana. Now that we can offer (services) in all 50 states, we can start the minute they go legal, without delay.”
According to Aberle, the program covers all of the various aspects of the medical cannabis industry, including dispensaries, general liability, workers’ compensation, equipment breakdown/damage, property/product loss (including pot spoilage), auto insurance (for vehicles that transport medical marijuana) and other related operations.
It was California voters who took the first steps into medical marijuana as an industry back in 1996 when they initially approved Proposition 215, which allows physicians to recommend cannabis for the treatment of cancer, chronic pain, AIDS, glaucoma, and other chronic illnesses which could benefit from treatment with cannabis. It’s estimated that there are now over 2,000 dispensaries in that state.
Aberle began forming Statewide’s Medical Marijuana Division (MMD) in 2007, and since then it has provided insurance to clients in California, Colorado, New Mexico and Rhode Island. Last year, he began expanding the national program. Premiums, he said, range from $650 – $25,000 a year, with different variables affecting the cost. A typical policy has premiums between $1,000 and $4,000.
A lobbyist with California Capitol Solutions in Sacramento told the Bee that Statewide’s MMD program is a “milestone in an industry that needs insurance protections for everyone in the distribution chain, from growers of the product to those that use it. He also said, “It’s very big, especially right now with public safety. Safety protocols need to be put into place.”
Del Real said that he represents medical cannabis dispensaries and other segments of the medical marijuana industry throughout California. He also said that the group with the fewest protections is the growers, asking, “How do we move out of residential areas and into commercial and industrial space?” He continued, “A lot of people are trying to get their minds around the cultivation of medical marijuana.”
According to Del Real, governments throughout California have decided numerous issues like whether insurance for dispensaries will be required. He said that there was, “… a big thing of catching up going on. Each community is passing its own laws, and that becomes problematic.”
Earlier this month when we talked about the bizzare things people insure, we neglected to mention weather insurance, but there really are companies who offer such a product. It works much like wedding insurance, making sure that you get reimbursed for deposits and such if weather forces you to cancel any kind of event.
A company offering weather insurance products recently opened in Lakeville, MN.
The insurer in question, Milltown Insurance Group, specializes in “…niche property and casualty program business and provides solutions for smoothing revenues, locking in profits and increasing sales through the use of weather insurance products for virtually any type of business, event or promotion.”
The company was opened by Dana D’Arrigo
Milltown says their weather products are extremely customizable as well as being affordable additions to existing insurance and/or marketing programs.
Gulf Coast businesspeople and residents facing the possibility of losses because of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been advised to submit written notice to their insurance companies as soon as possible, and no later than Thursday, July 8th, at 5:00 PM EDT.
Global insurance broker, Marsh, issued a statement via its website explaining that insurers are saying that the 80-day notice provisions in their policies will be strictly interpreted. For this reason, policyholders should consider April 20, 2010, the date of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, as the start date for calculating such a notice provision.
Marsh advised, “This week, several carriers indicated that they will enforce these time limits strictly, without any weight given to the date the insured first became aware that they faced potential exposure. Therefore, if not already in process, it is important that clients and their legal counsel analyze the potential exposure to damages arising from the Deepwater Event and review all of their current excess and primary policies in order to comply with notice provisions.”
The broker also added that some excess liability carriers are planning to add “…broadly worded, event-specific exclusions to their 2010-2011 policies to prospectively eliminate coverage for the Deepwater Event.”
This means that even if a poilicyholder files a notice in compliance with the time limit, “…it is likely that the carrier will attempt to limit its exposure prospectively via an endorsement that excludes the Deepwater Event,” according to Marsh.
Clients who opt not to notice the BP event at this time may face strictly enforced time deadlines from their insurance carriers even if all damage has not been established, or potential exposures have not been clarified.
Marsh said it is urging carriers to withdraw – or at least narrow – these exclusions, but warns that “…this is an emerging market trend that raises concerns…” with respect to 2009-2010 policies and raises questions about whether circumstances or claims should be notified now.