When it comes to emerging risks, nowhere are they moreapparent than in the insurance industry. From cyber liability toproduct recalls to Ebola, the list of risks insurers mustanticipate for their clients is long and varied, and continues togrow.

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A new issue insurers will be grappling with encompasses lossesinvolving illegal or medical marijuana. Possessing, using orgrowing marijuana is illegal under federal law, but many states arepassing laws that conflict with that statute. And while thegenerally accepted rationale for denying claims is whether or notthe loss is illegal under federal law, state statutes arechallenging that premise.

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As a growing number of marijuana initiatives appear on stateballots, this provides a complex coverage dilemma for insurers.More drivers under the influence of drugs are getting behind thewheel of a car, increasing the risk of accidents for all. A recentsurvey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration foundthat the number of weekend nighttime drivers under the influence ofdrugs has increased to 20 percent since 2007. The survey also foundthat drivers under the influence of marijuana are more like to beinvolved in accidents.

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Then there is the question of coverage for losses involvinglegal and illegal grow operations. Is an insurer liable if ahomeowner is allowed to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes andsuffers a fire as a result? What if there is a robbery and severalplants are stolen? How will the insurers determine the value of theplants and their potential crop yield? Is there coverage since thefederal government says growing marijuana is illegal, but the statesays it is allowed under specific circumstances? (Hint: While theConstitution says that federal law trumps state law, the federalgovernment seems to be turning a blind eye to the conflict.) Ourcover story examines these issues and more.

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Another issue that has required creative risk managementstrategies involves cybercrime. As hackers become even moresophisticated, it is not a matter of if an insurer or its clientswill be breached, but when. Having proper insurance coverage,assembling an incident response team, providing employee trainingand creating proper procedures are just some of the risk managementstrategies companies should be employing. We tackle this topic fromseveral perspectives.

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You can find out more about the emerging risks insurers face andhow to manage them at the America's Claims Event (ACE) this June17-19 at the Hilton Austin in Austin, Texas. More information isavailable at americasclaimsevent.com. I hope you'll make it apriority to attend because you really can't afford to miss it.

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