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Charles Pyfrom: How to Protect Against Worst-Case Scenarios

Insuring the livelihoods of cannabis operators.

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This week, Charles Pyfrom, CMO with CannGen Insurance Services, joins the podcast to discuss how his company insures the livelihoods of cannabis operators. 

Fire damage, theft and even repetitive injuries: cannabis operators face many risks, and industry-specific insurance presents an opportunity to protect companies from unforeseen events.

Charles Pyfrom says he tripped into the cannabis insurance industry along with a close friend who was a broker in the space. Together, they believed that CannGen Insurance Services could offer value. 

Pyfrom spent 15 years in commercial insurance before joining CannGen, drawn in by the industry's innovative and cutting-edge nature. Insurance for cannabis operators, he said, was a challenge before CannGen came into the picture. 

Founded in 2015, CannGen's roots extend back to 2010 as a small retail establishment in the California market. The company has since grown into the largest underwriter of cannabis, CBD and hemp risks in the U.S. Along with sister company Next Wave Insurance Canada to the north, they have a firm grasp on the North American industry. 

Cannabis operators don't want insurance companies to slow them down. However, Pyfrom says that while it's important to stay out of the way, operators need to have appropriate protections for support and scale. 

For example, cultivators need protection from fire damage and theft, processors and manufacturers need explosion risk mitigation and protection, retailers need protection from trip and fall hazards, and equipment manufacturers need to be protected from material problems. 

Despite the headway CannGen has made in the industry, it remains difficult to insure outdoor grow operations because of the many uncontrollable variables, like the weather. In addition, outdoor cultivators are in a difficult position because they also don't have access to protections that traditional farmers have, such as crop insurance. 

CannGen continues to add new coverages, which are sold through its network of brokers. Later this year, the company hopes to unveil errors and omissions coverage: specialized protection against losses not covered by traditional liability insurance. It's coverage that the industry has long been looking for, and the next step as Pyfrom remains committed to providing real coverage with appropriate pricing and best-in-class product offering. 

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