My Cannabis Business Insurer Is Stonewalling: Can I Get Attorneys’ Fees For That? (In Washington, You Might)
Insurance issues in the cannabis space are multiplying daily as operations continue to expand across United States markets. Cannabis companies face the risk of operational losses as a result of fires, burglary, business interruptions, and myriad other events. Cannabis companies also pay hefty premiums on insurance policies to cover those very losses.
Many companies discover, however, that despite their premium payments, insurers can be particularly difficult when the time comes to pay a claim. Some companies discover that they may need to pay more in attorneys’ fees to bring their insurer into line than they may have paid for the premium on their policies. Who should bear the risk for those fees in a live dispute between an insurer and a policyholder? Washington state has decided that under some circumstances, the insurer must pay those fees.
Washington’s Insurance Fair Conduct Act (“IFCA,” RCW 48.30.010 et. seq.) provides special protections for policyholders dealing with an especially intransigent insurer. One of those protections is a statutory basis for the policyholder to seek the attorneys’ fees it incurred in pursuing it’s claim for coverage. IFCA provides that no insurer shall engage in unfair methods