Clearwater girl to be heard after refused home insurance renewal for medical marijuana – Clearwater Instances – Clearwater Instances
A Clearwater woman who denied home insurance on claims she had a "grow op" on medical marijuana filed a BC human rights complaint against the Canadian Northern Shield and Interior Savings, saying they had it in the process a service based on mental discriminated disability.
Lorelei Rogers was licensed to purchase medical marijuana in 2017 to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder as well as other disabilities due to a workplace injury. However, she found it too expensive and the supply unreliable and instead decided to grow their own and received a license to grow up to 49 marijuana plants in 2018.
She bought additional equipment like plant lights and security cameras and started growing her own plants in a shed in her yard. She's also rented part of her home as Airbnb.
However, Canada's Northern Shield Insurance Company, which had insured their home since 2013, declined to renew their home insurance in 2019, considering the risk ineligible due to the presence of the Medical Marijuana Grow Op and Airbnb.
Rogers claimed she was being discriminated against because of her disability. The situation has led her to stop growing the plants and close Airbnb because she could lose her home due to a lack of home insurance.
She also claims that she asked Interior Savings to contact other companies to get some form of home insurance. Rogers claims it was rejected by insurers because Interior Savings mistakenly labeled it as "growth" to other vendors despite no longer running Airbnb or growing medicinal marijuana plants.
She has since found insurance through Intact that allows her to grow up to four medicinal marijuana plants, although she said that was nowhere near enough to meet her drug needs. As a result, the "effects of her disabilities are more pronounced, her quality of life is severely reduced, and the stress of wondering how to care for herself without being able to grow her medication is catastrophic," she said.
Both the Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company and Interior Savings deny any discrimination and stated that the decision did not apply to a disability.
Interior Savings said it was working hard to find alternative insurance for Ms. Rogers, including contacting insurance companies that specialize in covering "unusual and difficult-to-place risks." "However, none of them would discuss the possibility of covering a risk with exposure to medicinal marijuana cultivation."
Insurance companies tried to dismiss the lawsuit, but Tribunal member Jessica Derynck dismissed the pre-trial motion on July 29.
"I find that Ms. Rogers did more in her complaint and in response to the motion than provide evidence to support her claim that she had a disability and was unable to renew her insurance," Derynck said. "If her evidence is proven at the hearing, Ms. Rogers could demonstrate that Canadian Northern Shield's neutral policy against insuring medical marijuana properties has had a disproportionately adverse effect on her in her particular circumstances due to her disability.
"Your evidence that growing your own medical marijuana has improved your condition and the barrier to continuing to do so has significantly impacted your disability is beyond belief."
Derynck noted that Interior Savings had not filed a human rights code dismissal application, but requested that the application be denied because they are insurance brokers and they neither approve nor deny the policies issued by these vendors. In her decision, she added that she could not dismiss the complaint as she had failed to provide a reason under the Code "which includes preventing discrimination and providing legal remedies to those who experience discrimination," which Rogers said claims they had denied doing this.
A date for a hearing has not yet been set.
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