On Monday, legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate to provide a comprehensive federal safe harbor for insurers—including independent agents and brokers—to protect them from criminal and civil liability when offering insurance coverage to state-legalized cannabis businesses.
S.2201, the Clarifying Law Around Insurance Marijuana (CLAIM) Act, sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), and Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), would prevent federal criminal prosecution of insurers and civil liability for agents, brokers, and insurers, their officers, directors or employees. This legislation would help those consumers who may have direct or indirect contact with state-legalized cannabis businesses to access insurance products and services and utilize the protections they offer. Finally, the legislation would enable agents and brokers to comply with state statutory and regulatory requirements.
Senator Menendez spoke in favor of the legislation during a hearing on Tuesday titled, “Challenges for Cannabis and Banking: Outside Perspectives.” Of note, S.1200 the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking (SAFE) Act, which the Big “I” has worked on extensively, was also discussed. In the SAFE Act, the Big “I” successfully advocated for including independent agents and brokers in a safe harbor that would prevent criminal prosecution and civil liability for those who choose to engage in the business of insurance with cannabis-related legitimate businesses (CRLB). The Big “I” expects companion legislation to the CLAIM Act to be introduced in the House.
The Big “I” was the largest independent agent and broker trade association advocating and working on the CLAIM Act and along with a group of other trade associations issued a letter supporting the legislation.