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Commercial Risk Advisor – 2018 - June 2018

Falling Marijuana Testing Rates Lead to Safety Concerns

While employers want to keep their workforces productive by deterring the use of drugs and alcohol, new research from employer solutions firm Quest Diagnostics shows that marijuana testing rates are falling. And, as more states continue to legalize the medical and recreational use of marijuana, employee impairment may become a significant safety concern for all businesses.

Quest Diagnostics found that the national marijuana testing rate fell by nearly 1 percent between 2016 and 2017, and nearly 2 percent in states with legalized marijuana use. While these numbers may seem insignificant, employers conduct millions of drug tests every year and businesses that must perform federally mandated marijuana screenings lead to higher-than-normal average rates.

According to Quest Diagnostics and other experts, a number of factors may contribute to falling test rates:

  • Increased use—Marijuana is now easier to obtain legally than ever before, with 30 states and the District of Columbia allowing medical use and nine states allowing recreational use.
  • Unclear definition of impairment—Screenings for alcohol and other drugs can show levels of intoxication, but a positive marijuana test result can’t specify when or how much of the drug was taken. 
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance—Some states prevent employers from hiring or terminating employees based on the valid use of a medical marijuana card. As a result, some employers avoid ADA violations by dropping marijuana screenings altogether.

Although employee marijuana use is a complicated topic, it’s one that your business should address as usage continues to increase. Contact us at (619) 297-3160 today for help with your safety management and workers’ compensation concerns.

How AI Could Impact Insurance

Technology and interactivity between computer networks continues to advance, and now experts believe that the development of artificial intelligence (AI) could help to revolutionize commercial insurance.

Simply put, AI is the ability for computer systems and programs to simulate intelligent behavior, such as predictive analytics, autonomous vehicles and real-time mapping. Additionally, computer scientists are beginning to develop new programs that can process data and “learn” over time in order to complete tasks that would normally require a human.

Experts believe that AI will have a large impact on insurance, as advanced programs will be able to look at a larger collection of data simultaneously in order to get a more accurate prediction of risk exposures and loss histories. However, some critics believe that processing personal data or handing over too much control to computer systems could expose businesses to increased risk. For example, if an autonomous vehicle malfunctions and causes an accident, it’s difficult to determine who—or what computer system—is at fault.

Recent Hawaii Lava Claims Highlight Insurance Exclusions

Recent volcanic activity near the Hawaiian shoreline shows the importance of reviewing your insurance policies’ exclusions. Although Hawaii’s insurance commissioner initially stated that homeowners policies would provide compensation for lava damage, the commissioner’s office later clarified that coverage can vary from policy to policy.

Insurance is designed to protect you and your business, but examining your policies can help alert you to overlooked or emerging risks. Here are two common exclusions to consider:

  • Natural disasters: Commercial general liability (CGL) policies may not provide coverage for hurricanes, floods and other disasters.
  • Contractual liability: CGL policies are designed to protect you, but not the liability you assume on behalf of another party.

Contact CMR Risk & Insurance Services, Inc. today for help identifying your policy exclusions and insurance gaps.