Car, home insurance rates after cannabis legalization still to be determined

BY LASIA KRETZEL AND SASHA LAKIC | News1130

Anyone thinking of growing marijuana plants in their home or lighting up once it’s legal next week, might want to look into their home or renters insurance and avoid getting behind the wheel.

Home insurance, will likely be on a case-by-case basis, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) because insurance companies generally use prior experience to assess rates, which is not possible while cannabis is still illegal.

“Insurance rates and premiums all are based on risk and experience, and we don’t know what that experience is going to be like once it’s legalized,” Vanessa Barrasa with IBC said. “It’s not like, ‘oh, cannabis is legal, the next day all your insurance and home rates grow.’ It doesn’t work that way.”

She says because this is uncharted territory, many providers are still figuring out their rates for cannabis.

“Every company is setting their own limits and so it’s really important that if you have a material change – you now have cannabis plants, before you didn’t – that is something that you should inform your insurance company of and make sure, obviously, that you’re being truthful and honest,” she said.

Right now, home insurance in Canada does not cover any loss if the property is used for cannabis activities, so she says each company is developing its own policy.

When it comes to renters, she recommends always having tenant insurance, so that belongings are covered if something happens at home. She adds that in any case, people should abide by the legal limits of owning plants and to inform themselves about how their insurance provider will address owning cannabis once it’s legal.

“That would be specific to your tenant or home insurance policy and it’s important that you speak to your insurance to make sure that they’re aware of your contents and you know what your limits are,” Barrasa said.

Car insurance could go up if you’re caught stoned

More expensive car insurance could be in the future of those caught high behind the wheel in B.C.

Driving under the influence of pot is still considered impaired driving, despite the statistic from BCAA that 20 per cent of millennials think they drive the same or even better when high.

It could immediately land you with a driving suspension, which lawyer Kyla Lee says ICBC will take into account when new rates go into effect next September.

“Everybody needs to be very careful when it comes to using cannabis while driving and using cannabis and then driving after the fact because it can have consequences that right now you don’t know that you’re going to be getting,” Lee said.

Drivers can already face additional fines and driver risk premiums if caught driving under the influence.

Road side tests still remain mandatory if an officer asks you to perform one. Refusing to take the test is a criminal offence and could land you with a big penalty.

Cannabis legalization happens on Oct. 17.

Source: News1130

Cannabis Legalization: IBC Calls for Strict Penalties and Increased Consumer Education Programs

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Shoppers Drug Mart gets medical pot license from Health Canada

Shoppers Drug Mart gets medical pot license from Health Canada

TORONTO _ Shoppers Drug Mart has received Health Canada’s approval to be a licensed medical marijuana producer, opening the door for the pharmacy giant to dispense medical cannabis to patients.

This comes after Shoppers in October 2016 applied to Health Canada to become a licensed medical marijuana producer.

“As trusted medication experts, we believe pharmacists have an important role to play in the safe and informed use of medical cannabis, and this is the first step in our journey to provide medical cannabis to our patients,” said Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas in an emailed statement. “We will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks.”

Under the current Health Canada regulations for medical pot, the only legal distribution method is by mail order from licensed producers direct to patients. A cannabis sales license from Health Canada is also required to dispense medical marijuana to patients.

Shoppers has said that it has no interest in producing medical cannabis.

The pharmacy retail chain had already in recent months signed several supply deals with various licensed medical marijuana producers, including Aurora Cannabis, Aphria Inc., MedReleaf Corp. and Tilray Inc., subject to Health Canada’s approval of its application.

Shoppers’ parent company, Loblaw Companies Ltd., is also looking to sell recreational pot once in Newfoundland and Labrador once it is legal nationally on Oct. 17. The grocery conglomerate’s applications for several locations were among those on a list of potential licensed cannabis retailers selected by Cannabis NL, the provincial body handling pot sales.

It was also announced in July that Shoppers was partnering with Manulife Financial Corp. to offer enhanced medical marijuana insurance coverage.

Under the program, Manulife customers approved for medical marijuana coverage will be able to consult with Shoppers pharmacists at an Ontario-based patient care centre about different strains of medical marijuana and the different ways to take it.

Meanwhile, industry groups such as the Canadian Pharmacists Association have said that pharmacies should play a leading role in the distribution of medical marijuana.

“Pharmacists have the necessary expertise to mitigate the potential risks associated with medical cannabis, including harmful drug interactions, contraindications, and potential addictive behaviour,” the organization says on its website. “Pharmacists have an existing infrastructure that is already in place to handle controlled substances.”

Homeowners, renters, and drivers are all hazy on the rules.

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Manulife joining Shoppers Drug Mart in medical marijuana program

By Ian Bickis

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Manulife Financial Corp. has partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart to offer enhanced medical marijuana insurance coverage.

The insurance company said Tuesday that clients who have been approved for medical marijuana coverage will be able to consult with Shoppers pharmacists at an Ontario-based patient care centre about different strains of medical marijuana and the different ways to take it.

Manulife customers will then be able to choose treatment that is covered under their Manulife plan and receive ongoing case management.

The program is the first to offer support for clients throughout the process, said Nathalie Khalaf, director of pharmacy benefits at Manulife.

“It’s the only one in the industry or in the market to offer member referrals to a health-care professional.”

The program provides more support for plan members taking medical cannabis, but also has a more structured and controlled system that provides support to companies looking to add medical cannabis to their benefits package, said Khalaf.

“Some of them wanted a little bit more comforts before adding it to their benefits plan. So they wanted to make sure that, first of all that there are enough controls in place.”

The initiative could increase interest in the medical cannabis coverage Manulife already offers on a selective basis, but which has seen very little uptake so far, said Khalaf.

The program will be available as an option for participating group and individual health insurance plans starting in the fall. Manulife said more details of the program will be available once the program takes effect.

James O’Hara, CEO of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, said the program should remove some of the confusion in navigating the system for people who need medical marijuana.

“The added ease of fulfillment from a patient’s side removes a lot of the anxiety and the mystery and the subsequent stress of where do I go from here.”

The partnering of two major companies on such an initiative also contributes to combating the ongoing stigma that medical cannabis patients face on a daily basis, said O’Hara.

It overall contributes to the normalization of cannabis as an accepted and recognized medicine today, which is the way it should be.”

Manulife’s program is part of an evolving landscape of medical marijuana insurance coverage in Canada.

Sun Life Financial Inc. said in February that it was adding medical marijuana coverage as an option for its group benefits plans. Great-West Life Assurance Co. has said it plans to expand its medical marijuana coverage options in its group plans this year.

However, coverage has generally been limited to specific approved conditions. Sun Life limits coverage to conditions and symptoms associated with cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, HIV-AIDS, and palliative care.

In April, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal also overturned a ruling by the province’s Human Rights Tribunal that had found an elevator mechanic was discriminated against because his employer didn’t cover his prescription for medical marijuana.

Jones Brown, Canadian Insurance Broker, Welcomes Legalization of Cannabis

 As one of the first Canadian brokers to facilitate insurance solutions for cannabis business in CanadaJones Brown welcomes Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, allowing cannabis to be legally bought, sold and used by adults in Canada.

“This historic legislation is transformational for the cannabis industry and we are pleased to see Senate approval”, says Rod Campbell, CEO. “Our clients remain our first priority and we are committed to ensuring their risk exposures are met with the appropriate insurance coverage and prudent risk management advice. We look forward to what the marketplace has in store.”

In 2010, Jones Brown recognized an unfulfilled need for insurance and risk management in the cannabis industry and have been diligent advocates for better insurance coverage for cannabis clients. Having the appropriate insurance coverage is important as it protects operators, investors and, consumers.  Jones Brown has been at the forefront in providing insurance for product liability, management liability, physical assets, inventory loss including crop contamination, business interruption and revenue protection, and cyber liability. We have been committed to innovating product to address the evolving and emerging risks.

“We are proud to stand with our clients in the cannabis industry in welcoming this milestone. Our expertise and long standing relationships with underwriters are especially favourable as we look forward to the arrival of the recreational market” comments Leslie Ducommun, joined by David Kerr, from the Cannabis practice team.

As the cannabis industry evolves at record pace, Jones Brown is committed to continuing to provide innovative, and tailored insurance solutions across the country.

About Jones Brown Inc.

Jones Brown is a privately held Canadian insurance brokerage and strategic consultancy with offices in VancouverCalgaryHamilton, and Toronto. Founded in 1997, Jones Brown is distinguished by its peerless client service, its best in class team of experts, and its singular commitment to providing innovative, tailored solutions for complex problems. Jones Brown works with a diverse range of individuals and global corporations, offering clients a uniquely Canadian perspective, rooted in a sense of independence, a long-term view, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. For more information, visit https://jonesbrown.com.

SOURCE Jones Brown Inc.

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