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Hospitality Insurance Reopening

At Hospitality Insurance Group (HIG), we are pleased to welcome back the many fine establishments throughout our region that are an integral part of our economy. We have been impressed by your professionalism and innovation as you have been asked to refashion your business to respond to this health crisis. In the face of tremendous adversity, you have answered the call to ensure the safety and health of both your patrons and staff.

Throughout this pandemic, HIG has been supporting our members by ensuring that their insurance coverage has adjusted to the changing times. Despite much uncertainty, we want you to know that the insurance coverage and service you have come to expect from HIG remains the same.

We created this video to formally wish all our restaurants well and to remind you that Hospitality will continue to be your trusted insurance partner and advocate no matter the season.

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Protecting Your Business Against Copyright Laws

As businesses begin to reopen and promote themselves online, it is important to make sure that you are following the proper copyright laws and regulations. In the past couple of years, businesses have seen a rise in lawsuits over illegally used photos due to face recognition technology that enables people to search the entire web to see who is using their face or likeness. As President and CEO of Hospitality Insurance, Dick Welch, says, “as the owner of a bar or a restaurant, anything you put on your website, social media, or any of your promotional materials should be legally owned”.

If you hire an outside promoter or an outside social media expert, make sure that they are properly sourcing any materials that they may use, including: photographs, video clips, and any voice overs or music. It is also important to have a contract in place so that if your outside promoters or experts do not follow proper copyright laws, they will be held responsible instead of you or your business. Do not let anything be posted to your website or social media without approval.

Any business that has entertainment and promotes that entertainment through photos or videos could be at risk for copyright infringement. If you haven’t checked your promotional materials in the past, it is possible that you may be using illegal content on your website and social media pages. You should scan your content to make sure you have the ownership and if you don’t, remove it immediately. The last thing you want is a lawsuit over copyright infringement which can be both expensive, as well as time consuming.

If you are worried that your business could be using copyrighted material, the easiest way to deal with it is to contact an independent insurance agent from the Hospitality Insurance Group.

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The Right Time to Look at Assault and Battery Coverage

In these challenging times with the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent rioting, these tense times should have restaurant and bar owners strongly considering the levels of insurance coverage they have. It is important for businesses that sell and serve alcohol, employ bouncers, or have heavy foot traffic to have insurance coverage for assault and battery. As Mark Trombly, vice president of marketing for Hospitality Insurance, describes it, “Assault and battery coverage is a specialized insurance that covers physical harm that someone suffers when they are attacked by another person.”

Hospitality Insurance Group offers coverage as an endorsement with four other coverage limits because some businesses may not want it or some may not need as much coverage as others. This way, you know exactly what you are paying for in your policy. Assault and battery coverage will pay for medical costs, legal fees, and settlement costs when a claim occurs.

While the person who causes the injury is usually responsible for the claim, the bar or restaurant may be held responsible for a number of reasons. They may be responsible due to overservice of alcohol, for asking or forcing a patron to leave the restaurant or bar where injury can occur, or when a staff member sees an incident and does not interfere to stop it from happening. Assault and battery coverage can also cover areas outside of the business such as alleyways, parking lots, and sidewalks.

The best and easiest way to see if your business has the right coverage is to talk to an independent insurance agent who represents Hospitality Insurance Group.

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Our COVID-19 Response

Hospitality Insurance Group is aware of the public health concerns of COVID-19 and the impact that governmental restrictions on public gatherings is having on our business partners and policyholders.  We are temporarily adjusting our business practices to reduce the financial impact of these restrictions and have listed the changes below.  

  • Billing Invoice Extensions – We will extend the due dates for all premium invoices by 60 (sixty) days from their original due date for all policies currently in-force or placed with us by May 15th, 2020.  If an invoice was issued prior to March 16, 2020, the policyholder will be given an additional 60 (sixty) days from the date listed on the invoice to make payment. If an invoice is issued after March 16, 2020, the adjusted date will be reflected on the invoice. 
  • Non-Pay Cancellations – Effective March 16, 2020, we will not generate any cancellation notices due to non-payment of premium until May 15, 2020.  This will give policyholders an additional 60 (sixty) days to make a payment before a cancellation notice is generated. If a non-payment cancellation notice was generated prior to March 16, 2020 (prior to the governmental actions) the payment will be required by the date listed on that non-payment notice to avoid cancellation.

Working with our staff

Our staff is available to assist you and prepared to work remotely if needed.  We will have all telephones transferred to employee cell phones to avoid communication interruptions.  We are prepared to continue business as usual during these unusual times. 

We have suspended all face to face agency meetings until further notice.  Any previously scheduled meetings will be rescheduled or changed to a teleconference.  You will be contacted by your Underwriter or Marketing Representative regarding changes. 

Please keep in mind that this is a very fluid situation and we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our practices accordingly going forward.  The practices above are in-place for thirty days and we will reevaluate at that time.  

Please check our website regularly to stay updated on any future changes. 

We appreciate your assistance and cooperation in these trying times.

Richard Welch

President & CEO

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Our COVID-19 Response

Hospitality Insurance Group is aware of the public health concerns of COVID-19 and the impact that governmental restrictions on public gatherings is having on our business partners and policyholders.  We are temporarily adjusting our business practices to reduce the financial impact of these restrictions and have listed the changes below.  

  • Billing Invoice Extensions – We will extend the due dates for all premium invoices by 30 (thirty) days from their original due date for all policies currently in-force or placed with us by April 15th, 2020.  If an invoice was issued prior to March 16, 2020, the policyholder will be given an additional 30 (thirty) days from the date listed on the invoice to make payment. If an invoice is issued after March 16, 2020, the adjusted date will be reflected on the invoice. 
  • Non-Pay Cancellations – Effective March 16, 2020, we will not generate any cancellation notices due to non-payment of premium until April 15, 2020.  This will give policyholders an additional 30 (thirty) days to make a payment before a cancellation notice is generated. If a non-payment cancellation notice was generated prior to March 16, 2020 (prior to the governmental actions) the payment will be required by the date listed on that non-payment notice to avoid cancellation.

Working with our staff

Our staff is available to assist you and prepared to work remotely if needed.  We will have all telephones transferred to employee cell phones to avoid communication interruptions.  We are prepared to continue business as usual during these unusual times. 

We have suspended all face to face agency meetings until further notice.  Any previously scheduled meetings will be rescheduled or changed to a teleconference.  You will be contacted by your Underwriter or Marketing Representative regarding changes. 

Please keep in mind that this is a very fluid situation and we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our practices accordingly going forward.  The practices above are in-place for thirty days and we will reevaluate at that time.  

Please check our website regularly to stay updated on any future changes. 

We appreciate your assistance and cooperation in these trying times.

Richard Welch

President & CEO

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Tailored Policies for Business Owners like you

Hospitality Insurance Group is surveying restaurant and bar owners to develop a better understanding of challenges the industry is facing. Your responses to this survey will help Hospitality Insurance Group tailor our policies for business owners like you. We appreciate you taking the time to fill out this survey. Please watch my acting debut video below where I explain why the survey is so important.

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A Service of Alcohol Policy Can Help Prevent Costly Accidents

 

Protect Your Guests, Staff, and Business by Posting Your Policy

Learning that an intoxicated patron was involved in a car accident can be one of the most uneasy feelings a restaurant or bar owner could experience. Now that we are closer to the holidays, Hospitality Insurance Group urges business owners to have a Service of Alcohol policy in place to help prevent alcohol-related incidents.

Sandra Haley, Sr. Vice President of Underwriting and Marketing, explained that insurers understand that guests could get disorderly and suggests that having an alcohol serving policy in place can help diffuse some situations.

“Staff can avoid confrontations with patrons about overserving them if you have an alcohol serving policy posted in your establishment,” she said. “Not only does it support your employees, it also lets patrons know that you are watching them.”

The policy should also provide procedures on how to deal with people who have had too much to drink, Haley explained. It is important for business owners and bartenders to understand that following the policy is instrumental in preventing incidents that could lead to bodily injury, property damage, or death.

“The cost of overserving someone goes far beyond the extra dollars you’re going to collect,” Haley said, adding, “it is never worth the risk.”

Establishments, she says, could also face fines from the Alcohol Commission, risk losing their license, and damage their reputation because of overserving. Another cost to consider is the increase in the business owner’s insurance premium. “Insurance companies look at claims that occurred at the establishment and premiums are determined by the establishment’s experience,” Haley said.

Business owners that would like more guidance on creating their own Service of Alcohol policy should speak with their insurance agent. To make sure you are protecting your business from every threat this season, ask your insurance agent about a policy from Hospitality Insurance Group.

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Dram Shop Laws Vary by State

Business owners who serve or sell alcohol might have heard about the Dram Shop Act. It is a law in more than three dozen states, including all of New England, that holds businesses liable if an intoxicated patron injures anyone inside or outside of the establishment. While laws may vary from state by state, Hospitality Insurance Group aims to shed light on what business owners should know about Dram Shop laws.

“The Draw Shop Act is going to indicate liability if someone is overserved, and what happens if an establishment serves a minor,” said Sandra Haley, Sr. Vice President of Underwriting and Marketing. “Any business that is underinsured takes the risk that if the insurance doesn’t pay for the claim, they will have to come up with that money.”

More than 40 states currently have Dram Shop laws, and the primary differences between states could be significant. In one state, Haley says, the statute of limitations could be six years. In those states, insurance experts recommend that restaurant owners hold on to evidence for longer. Other differences in state liquor laws could be limitations on the amount that could be claimed or whether courts will consider contributory negligence in legal defenses.

There are several reasons, Haley says, that restaurant owners will want to check in with their insurance agent. “Every year, something changes. Legal judgements have increased through the years, people are held more responsible today than they were years ago,” Haley said. “Businesses can stay up to date on their state’s liquor laws by either asking their insurance agent or by contacting their insurance company.”

Hospitality Insurance Group specializes in liquor liability coverage. Our underwriters are knowledgeable about the unique risks that businesses in the hospitality industry face. Make sure you have the right amount of protection, and ask your insurance agent about coverage through Hospitality Insurance Group.

 

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Your Business Could be Missing This Essential Alcohol-Related Coverage

Liquor-related incidents have the potential to close any established restaurant or
bar, magnifying the significance of having a liquor liability insurance policy. While
this insurance policy covers a wide range of incidents, Hospitality Insurance Group
urges business owners to evaluate whether they need the added protection that is
offered by having the optional assault and battery coverage.

“A liquor liability policy is a policy that anybody who serves alcohol or sells alcohol
should have purchased,” said Sandra Haley, Senior Vice President of Underwriting
and Marketing at Hospitality Insurance Group. “Assault and battery is going to
provide coverage when there is a fight in your establishment.”

The standard liquor liability policy covers losses related to bodily injury or property
damage when it is caused by an individual who was served too much alcohol. In
other words, Haley says, this coverage would cover the losses resulting from
someone who accidentally injured themselves or others because they had too much
to drink.

Restaurant owners could face legal trouble if that is the only liquor-related coverage
they purchased, Haley added. She says assault and battery coverage would be
invaluable, for example, if your bouncer or doorman accidentally injures a patron
when they were asking them to leave. It would also cover losses if your guest
started a fight with another guest.

Assault and battery coverage is often overlooked, she says, because business
owners might assume that incidents involving ‘intended injury’ is covered under
general liability or liquor liability coverage. “Typically, the standard liquor liability
policy does not include assault and battery coverage. It is typically offered to
establishments as an optional coverage,” Haley said.

For businesses insured through Hospitality Insurance Group, Haley explained that
restaurant owners will now have options when their policy renews. “We always sold
it, however, it was very confusing because it wasn’t covered in one form,” Haley
said. “You will now be able to decide whether you want to purchase assault and
battery coverage, and if you do, at what limit you would like to purchase it.”

These updates reinforce the need for businesses to evaluate their insurance policy
every year, Haley added. If you are up for a renewal, consider asking your
insurance agent about switching to Hospitality Insurance Group for your liquor
liability insurance needs.

Contributed by Hospitality Insurance Group, Southboro, MA | www.hmic.com

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Video Could Provide Indisputable Evidence for Businesses

Business owners could receive a damaging legal outcome if an incident were to happen on their premises, and there was no footage to deny claims. Restaurants and bars are especially susceptible to being sued in today’s environment, and Hospitality Insurance Group would like to shine a spotlight on the importance of having surveillance systems installed.

“If you don’t have a surveillance system, it is going to be the injured party’s word against yours,” said Sandra Haley, Sr. Vice President of Underwriting and Marketing at Hospitality Insurance Group. “In the event someone comes fourth and sues you, if you have video of the event, it can protect you.”

Surveillance systems, Haley says, can be inexpensive and found at nearly every hardware store. She explains that the upfront cost is relatively insignificant compared to an unfavorable settlement that could have been prevented.

The placement of cameras should also be considered, Haley added. “Typically, you are going to want to have video if you have a dance floor, bar area, or parking lot, where a lot of incidents can happen,” Haley said.

Having the statute of limitations in mind, it is recommended that business owners hold onto footage for three years if they know an incident occurred. For regular business days with no known incidents, Haley says, businesses should hold onto the video for 60, 90, or 120 days.

“With a video that shows the incident that occurred, it is an unbiased view of the incident itself, surveillance video is evidence,” Haley said, adding that business owners should also be aware that destroying evidence is against the law. “Destroying it could be far worse than not having it all.”

Running a successful restaurant or bar is challenging when you consider all of the legal, insurance, and logistical aspects that keep a business operational. Working with an insurer that understands your unique business risks can help you acquire an appropriate amount of coverage. For peace of mind that is affordable, speak with your insurance agent and ask about coverage through Hospitality Insurance Group.

contributed by Hospitality Insurance Group, Soutboro, MA www.hmic.com

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