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Best’s Special Report: Risk, Return and Diversification Affect Cost of Capital Through the Cycle

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OLDWICK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–An insurance company’s ability to access and raise capital and the
potential costs of raising capital, especially during times of stress,
are important considerations in AM Best’s ratings process. In a
new report, AM Best explores the factors that can affect an insurer’s
weighted average cost of capital, which can differ by industry segment.

The Best’s Special Report, titled, “Risk, Return and
Diversification Affect Cost of Capital Through the Cycle,” notes that
the cost of capital is a forward-looking measurement used to determine a
required return on investment. For an overall return to be generated,
the return on invested capital should exceed the cost of capital. A
publicly traded insurer has access to multiple sources of capital:
equity, preferred stock or debt with various forms of subordination.
Although mutual insurers cannot issue stock, they do have access to
capital in the form of surplus notes, lines of credit and debt. The
weighted average cost of capital (WACC) takes into account the sources
as well as the associated costs of raising capital. For each major
insurance segment, the cost of capital peaked during the financial
crisis, attributable to the extreme volatility, when correlations
increased beyond expectation. In the years following the financial
crisis, risk-free rates declined to historical lows owing to
quantitative easing and low interest rates and the cost of capital
dropped correspondingly.

Property/casualty (re)insurance is a cyclical industry, dictated by the
supply of capital. Hard markets are times when the industry earns a
return higher than its cost of capital, as it attracts capital from
investors who want to share in the industry’s profitability. However,
hard markets over time can result in excess capital, intensified
competition and higher pressure on pricing and profitability. Reserve
development also is an important factor, as adverse development can
negatively affect calendar-year performance. Reinsurers have a low cost
of capital, because catastrophe risk is seen as non-correlated with the
capital markets. The report notes that this in part is a reason for the
growth of insurance-linked securities and the growing influx of
third-party capital, which promises a higher yield in a low
interest-rate environment. Still, in 2017-2018, the weighted average
cost of capital for reinsurers increased owing to severe weather
patterns.

The life/annuity segment is more-correlated to the overall business
cycle, and as a result, life/annuity insurers have a higher cost of
capital compared with other insurance segments. During the financial
crisis, life/annuity insurers did not earn returns sufficient to cover
their cost of capital, and in the following years, struggled due to
persistently low interest rates. To minimize spread compression,
companies have traded down the credit scale and increased liquidity
risk. Health insurers’ returns are highly correlated to the cost of
medical care, as measured by the medical Consumer Price Index. Although
morbidity risk is not correlated to market risk, health insurers’
returns depend on their ability to manage medical care services and
commodities.

Insurance companies operate under a variety of structures—mutual,
publicly traded, fraternal, reciprocal and captive—so AM Best’s ratings
approach is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. AM Best looks at all
relevant factors and may have various benchmarks and expectations
depending on the insurer’s structure and operating model. Ultimately, AM
Best evaluates the financial strength of companies in the context of its
building blocks: balance sheet strength, operating performance, business
profile and enterprise risk management.

To access the full copy of this special report, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=285830.

AM Best is a global rating agency and information provider with a
unique focus on the insurance industry. Visit
www.ambest.com
for more information
.

Copyright © 2019 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its
affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Contacts

Josie Novak
Associate Analyst
+1 908 439
2200, ext. 5242

josie.novak@ambest.com

Sridhar Manyem
Director, Industry Research and Analytics
+1
908 439 2200, ext. 5612

sridhar.manyem@ambest.com

Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1
908 439 2200, ext. 5159

christopher.sharkey@ambest.com

Jim Peavy
Director, Public Relations
+1 908
439 2200, ext. 5644

james.peavy@ambest.com

Cannabis

One Year of Medical Cannabis in the UK, Data by Grow Biotech

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Photo source: southeusummit.com

 

The 1st of November 2019 will mark the one year anniversary of the legalisation of medical cannabis in the United Kingdom. A year after Charlotte Caldwell’s tireless campaign to obtain life-saving medication for her son Billy catapulted medical cannabis onto the public agenda, the cost of prescriptions has dropped substantially while the number of scripts written has increased, but more needs to be done before it can be more widely offered by the National Health Service (NHS).

The average price of a month’s supply of medical cannabis imported through Logist has dropped from £750 to £550, reducing the average monthly prescription cost by 27%, while the average price per gram has also fallen by 25%. The reduction in cost is a combination of increased volume (meaning the costs associated with importing products is lower per prescription) and the increased availability of different products.

The type of medical specialist consultants writing prescriptions for medical cannabis has also diversified to include pain, oncology and neurology. There has also been a broadening in the delivery method for medical cannabis requested by specialist consultants to include different cannabis oils, pills and flowers, which is largely a result of the greater range of products available. Since February, Logist has imported approximately 1.5kg of flower to the UK.

The vast majority of medical cannabis has made its way to the UK thanks to Logist, a joint-venture formed between specials importer IPS Pharma, and Grow Biotech, the UK’s leading medical cannabis market access specialists.

Timeline of Events

  • 1st November 2018 – New regulations introduced, which allowed for the import and prescription of cannabis-based medicines
  • 14 February 2019 – The first bulk import of medical cannabis in the UK and first patients to receive medication from Logist
  • May 2019 – EU based bio-pharmaceutical company MGC Pharma appoints Logist
  • August 2019 – NICE publish interim report on medical cannabis
  • August 2019 – American medical cannabis giant Columbia Care announces that it will fund and provide medicine for clinical trials in the UK
  • September 2019– Leading Canadian company Aurora appoints IPS Pharma and Grow Biotech as importer and distributor for the UK market
  • September 2019 – Medical cannabis consultant informs Logist that a patient is no longer using opioids to manage their condition following treatment with medical cannabis

Looking forward to the near future, Chief Operating Officer of Grow Biotech, Hari Guliani, said, “Over the next twelve months we expect the UK’s medical community as a whole to take on the challenge of understanding how cannabis might help their patients. We are expecting leading consultants to publish papers on the impact they have seen on their patients, as well as evidence gathered through MHRA-approved trials. This will significantly improve the data available to regulators, policymakers and NICE.”

At present, it is only available on the NHS in extremely limited circumstances and is only obtainable through a prescription written by a specialist consultant in the private sector. NICE (The National Institute of Health Care Excellence) has advised that more clinical trials need to be undertaken in the UK and overall costs of medication need to be reduced before medical cannabis can be prescribed by NHS consultants. However, new medical trials are now underway and prices associated with the import of medical cannabis are falling dramatically, giving hope to the thousands of patients who are still struggling to access life-changing medication.

Another major change which cannot be overlooked is funding for the UK’s young medical cannabis industry. Ben Langley, Chief Executive Officer of Grow Biotech explained that, “We have seen a massive increase in funding for UK businesses operating within the medical cannabis space, especially from North America. In addition to the £5m Grow Biotech has raised over the last two years, there have been notably well received fundraises for Emmac Life Sciences PLC (£11m raised in March 2019) and for Oxford Cannabinoid Therapeutics ($10m in April 2019). This trend is likely to accelerate as European medical cannabis gradually establishes itself as an attractive asset class for global capital and European equity exchanges start to open their doors to cannabis companies.

Both Ben Langley and Hari Guliani are available for comment and interview.

 

SOURCE Grow Biotech

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Cannabis

GNCC Capital, Inc. – Pending Transaction

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GNCC Capital, Inc. (OTC: GNCP) (“The Company” or “GNCC”) advises that the new Board of Directors is in the process of consummating a further transaction in the Cannabis Sector and in South Africa.

Given that this is a related party transaction; they are awaiting ratification from an Independent party.

Upon consummation of this transaction; the new GNCC Directors will actively engage with shareholders. This decision was taken given that this transaction materially affects the size and scope of the Company’s South African Cannabis interests.

We reiterate that both Ms. Allen and Mr. Cox have recognized the need to; and have committed to expend the next two to three weeks in shareholder engagement. This is to ensure that all shareholders and investors become familiar with the Company’s new business operations, opportunities, Licensing and the Cannabis Industry in South Africa.

Forward-Looking Statements:-This press release may contain forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “expect,” “should,” “intend,” “estimate,” “projects,” variations of such words and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, but their absence does not mean that a statement is not a forward-looking statement. These forward-looking statements are based upon the Company’s current expectations and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ significantly from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements are risks that are detailed in the Company’s filings, which are on file with the OTC Markets Group.

SOURCE GNCC Capital, Inc.

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Cannabis

Empower Clinics Provides Corporate Updates Highlighting Triple Digit Patient Growth and Subsidiary Sun Valley Health Launches New Modalities and Patient Services

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EMPOWER CLINICS INC. (CSE: CBDT) (OTC: EPWCF) (Frankfurt 8EC) (“Empower” or the “Company“), a vertically integrated and growth-oriented CBD life sciences company, a multi-state operator of medical health & wellness clinics, a CBD product producer and operator of an extraction facility in Oregon, is pleased to announce it is launching seven new modalities and services for patients in the Sun Valley Health clinics commencing Monday October 14th, 2019.

The Company also has patient visits in corporate clinics increase by triple digits, with September 2019 patients seen increasing by 307% to 1,884 versus September 2018 with 614 patients seen.

“The tremendous year-over-year increase in patient visits is a testament to the operating strengths and patient management demonstrated by our clinic team members, each and every day,” said Steven McAuley, CEO of Empower. “Their passion for patient wellbeing and the use of numerous communication tools ensures world-class service is provided throughout the entire patient journey.”

As part of the Company’s continued expansion of our health & wellness clinic model, we have already set up retail CBD product sales in-clinic, and now we have launched expanded physician based services.

New Modalities and Services

  • Physician’s CBD Enhanced Massage, Acupuncture, or Cupping Sessions
  • CBD-Cannabis-Supplement Consumption & Coaching Consultation
  • Introduction to Alternative Health and Cannabinoid Therapies by a Physician
  • Comprehensive Naturopathic Patient Analysis & Consultation
  • Dietary Antigen Testing, Physician Consultation/Action Plan, & Concierge Blood Draw
  • Neurotransmitter (urine) Profile & Physician Consultation/Action Plan
  • Spectracell Micronutrient Test & Physician Consultation/Action Plan

“By offering our new suite of laboratory testing, alternative health consulting, and CBD therapies we are able to address the needs of our current patients and serve the community outside of cannabis that are seeking alternative health care,” states Dustin Klein, Director & VP Business Development. “Incorporating our new modalities, high quality vitamins, supplements, and CBD products into our network of clinics is a natural progression toward our goal of becoming the nation’s premier alternative healthcare provider.”

Additional UPDATES

  • New Modalities and Patient Services The Company continues to see patient visits in corporate clinics increase by triple digits, with September 2019 patients seen increasing by 307% to 1,884 over July 2018 614 patients seen.

  • Sun Valley Health Franchise Sun Valley Health www.sunvalleyhealth.com has been actively participating in various franchise and cannabis expos in St. LouisChicago and Houston to market the Sun Valley Health franchise program, attracting numerous qualified candidates for available territory locations. The Company has accepted many applications and has provided the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) to qualified applicants in anticipation of completing the first initial territory sales.

 

SOURCE Empower Clinics Inc.

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