Today we spotlight Michael Zeldes, Executive Vice President with HUB International Northeast and Kyle Patrick Judge, Senior Vice President – Central Regional Private & Non-Profit Leader at HUB International. HUB is a global insurance broker and financial services firm headquartered in Chicago with over 530 offices throughout North America. Their work focuses on risk management, insurance, employee benefits, retirement, and wealth management products and services. HUB’s dedicated cannabis practice assists cannabis-related businesses with securing business insurance, risk services, and claims management, and building employee benefits programs.
HUB is a platinum sponsor of Burns & Levinson’s Seventh Annual State of the Cannabis Industry, where Kyle Patrick Judge will speak alongside fellow industry experts on the panel “Weathering the Storm: Restructurings, Workouts, and M&A.” The panel will discuss best practices for navigating financial and operational distress from multiple perspectives – investors, secured debt holders, and companies during dropping stock prices and reduced multiples.
- From your corner of the cannabis industry, what’s the single greatest challenge right now?
MZ: Understanding of the insurance product and navigating the challenges of pricing for quality coverage.
- How does your business solve issues related to this challenge?
KJ: Utilize experts in the field (myself and other colleagues at HUB specialized in Cannabis) to talk with clients about their needs, exposures and expectations for insurance coverage. We leverage the scope of our organization to ensure we are securing multiple options with a variety of coverage enhancements to ensure all clients are adequately covered for their business decisions.
- Tell us about a situation you’ve encountered that could only happen in the cannabis industry.
MZ: Locating a property to operate a cannabis business can have its challenges. We had a client secure insurance on a property they leased with the intent to operate once they received their license from the state. Closer to receiving the state license, the landlord decided to nullify their agreement. Fast forward almost a year, some things changed easing the landlords worries and the general views of the local community changed. We were with them every step of the way and able to acquire the coverages needed in short order. As we all know the cannabis industry is currently a fluid landscape. Having a cannabis expert as your agent that can pivot with your insurance needs provides a peace of mind for a cannabis owner.
- If you could travel back in time by ten years, what would you tell your former self about the industry?
KJ: I would tell myself to have patience with the industry. As a D&O expert I tried to make as many big waves as I could when I started handling cannabis deals. Insurance is naturally a “slow to adapt” industry and adding the additional challenges of cannabis into that mix makes it slower. HUB has made massive strides with carrier partners in the last few year’s but I would urge young Kyle to have a little more patience with the process!
Burns and Levinson’s Seventh Annual State of the Cannabis Industry Conference is on Monday, October 16th, at the Westin Boston Waltham. Our nationally recognized conference convenes national experts and industry leaders to share unique strategic legal and financial perspectives on forecasted trends, regulations, M&A, investments, and more. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
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