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Businesses Could Accidentally Overserve Alcohol in Craft Brew Craze

By: Richard E. Welch, Jr.

President & CEO, Hospitality Insurance Group

It wasn’t long ago when traditional, mass-produced beers were the only options patrons had when it came to ordering beer. Nowadays, craft brews can be found in nearly every restaurant and bar across Massachusetts. People have increasingly turned to craft beer for a variety of reasons, but these types of drinks could have damaging implications for business owners. In this blog, Hospitality Insurance Group addresses the higher alcohol content typically found in craft brews and shares strategies to help prevent overserving alcohol.

Craft brews can be appealing to guests for their taste, ingredients, variety of flavors, and alcohol content. While mass produced beer can contain between 4 and 5.5 percent of alcohol content, craft brews can be as high as 12 percent. Therefore, guests may end up drinking more alcohol than they had originally planned.

“The safety of someone’s customers should always be the top priority for any bar or restaurant,” said Richard E. Welch, President & CEO of Hospitality Insurance Group. He says there are several strategies that can help businesses keep their guests safe.

Since craft brews can contain as much as 2-3 times more alcohol than mass-produced beers, business owners should remain conscious of not overserving alcohol. One way businesses can prevent overserving alcohol is by varying the size of glasses when serving craft brews, so it is equivalent to traditional beers in terms of alcohol content.

Another strategy to prevent the overserving of alcohol, Welch says, involves having the right policies in place. Many businesses do not have procedures outlined when having to deal with an intoxicated guest. Restaurant and bar owners can mitigate potential losses if they understand how they will handle a scenario where someone who has had too much to drink.

Alcohol awareness training could be another solution to help prevent an incident of overserving alcohol, Welch added. Bartenders could learn useful information from these programs that can help keep guests safe. As an added measure, businesses could encourage bartenders to take a refresher course on a regular basis.

Restaurant and bar owners must remain vigilant to prevent overserving alcohol. As a specialist in liquor liability coverage, Hospitality Insurance Group understands the risks of overserving alcohol, and what that could mean to your business. Make sure your coverage is coming from Hospitality Insurance Group to make sure you have the right amount of coverage.

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Summer is a Good Time for Restaurant Owners to Focus on Preventing Communicable Diseases

By: Richard E. Welch, Jr.

President & CEO, Hospitality Insurance Group

An outbreak of a foodborne illness is the angst of every restaurant owner. This type of risk at a restaurant could have significant consequences, potentially leading to liability, reputation damage, fines & penalties, or ultimately closure of the restaurant. As more people dine out at restaurants this summer, it is worth highlighting that the warmer months are the peak season for foodborne illnesses. Fortunately, restaurant owners have several options to help prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are almost 50 million cases of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. per year on average, resulting in over 125,000 hospitalizations and about 3,000 deaths. The most common causes are norovirus, salmonella, clostridium perfringens, campylobacter, and staphylococcus aureas. Less common but more serious are clostridium botulinum, listeria, E. coli, vibrio, and hepatitis A.

The most cited risk areas for restaurants are contamination from employees who are sick or have dirty hands, cross contamination from one food to another, leaving perishables exposed to the elements, and supply chain risks.

Foodborne illnesses can be costly if restaurant owners do not take proper precautions. Therefore, it is essential for restaurants to encourage the proper standards to reduce this type of risk. Restaurant owners can help protect guests from this threat by educating employees about the risks from foodborne illnesses, having them avoid handling food if they are sick, asking them to wash their hands thoroughly before handling food, and to wear gloves whenever possible.

The National Restaurant Association offers a Food Safety Manager Certification as part of its ServeSafe® program that could help reinforce important precautions at your establishment. Another worthwhile precaution includes checking the insurance limits of your general liability coverage with your insurance carrier.

If you suspect you may have experienced an outbreak of foodborne illness, it is important to do everything possible to mitigate the damage by reporting the incident to the appropriate authorities and notifying your general liability insurance carrier.


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Does Legal Cannabis Make the Restaurant and Bar Business More Risky?

By: Richard E. Welch, Jr.

President & CEO, Hospitality Insurance Group

As the legalization of marijuana sweeps across the United States, it has the potential to disrupt the restaurant and bar business. Growing cannabis use has the possibility to reduce consumption of alcohol, which could hurt businesses that serve alcohol. On the opportunity side, many entrepreneurial restauranteurs are devising ways to serve cannabis infused foods or beverages in the hope of participating in a new market sector. While time will tell how these forces will play out, there is one change to the business that is being felt presently. Bars and restaurants are facing an increasing number of patrons consuming cannabis before or while drinking alcohol, which increases the risk of intoxication related incidents. The rise in consumption of cannabis infused edibles could only increase this risk.

Cannabis consumption in the United States has been around for a long time, but usage is growing as legalization makes it more socially acceptable. Edible cannabis has soared in popularity recently, especially among young adults, and these products are creating a new set of risks. Marijuana-infused edibles take longer for their effect to be felt and when they do kick-in, users could be under the influence of cannabis for several hours. Because edibles take effect more slowly, there is significant potential that a user can take too much before they have even felt the effect of the drug. Bartenders could be surprised to see someone completely sober one minute and clearly under the influence a short time later. Recent studies show that edibles are more likely to send users to the emergency room than its smoked equivalent.

Establishments that serve alcohol are governed in most states by “Dram Shop” laws, which hold them responsible for damages that result from the over-service of alcohol or the service of alcohol to minors. Dram Shop laws explicitly prohibit serving alcohol to people who are visibly intoxicated. While bartenders and servers are trained to spot people who are inebriated, identifying someone who is under the influence of cannabis can be a different challenge.

All of this poses a liability risk for restaurants and bars because it can be murky to distinguish whether a guest caused an accident or injured someone as a direct result of alcohol or a marijuana-laced product consumed at your establishment. Currently, there are no national equivalent cannabis laws to Dram Shop laws, so business owners that serve alcohol may still have to defend lawsuits if their patrons injure people as a result of the over-consumption of cannabis.

Business owners might find it hard to combat this change in culture, but there is hope for businesses willing to remain vigilant. The most effective way to protect your restaurant or bar from liability claims is to stay informed of trends and keep your bartenders trained on proper service of alcoholic beverages. The second is to make sure you are carrying the appropriate liquor liability insurance coverage. Liquor liability insurance protects bars and restaurants when they are accused of overserving alcohol to a patron and that patron goes on to injure someone. Liquor liability insurance will cover the cost of these claims up to the policy limits and the associated defense costs. This insurance will also pay for defense costs if lawsuits are presented that are ultimately determined to be related to the consumption of cannabis rather than alcohol.

Without the proper coverage, businesses could be hurt financially or even forced to close from a single claim involving cannabis. With proper coverage, if it is later determined that liquor was not the driving factor that led to bodily injury, business owners can rest assured knowing that their insurance provider will pursue legal actions to exonerate them in pending legal cases.

Hospitality Insurance Group specializes in providing liquor liability insurance, and our staff can make sure you are adequately protected from claims through your liquor liability insurance package. Even if your business is targeted following an accident linked to cannabis consumption, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are completely covered.




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Hospitality Insurance Group Bids Farewell to Retiring Board Member Gerald Cassidy

SOUTHBOROUGH, MASS. (May 16, 2019) — A founding member of Hospitality Insurance Group’s Board of Directors has retired. Gerald Cassidy, who brought decades of insurance experience and knowledge to the Board, announced his retirement on May 8, 2019.

Cassidy served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hospital Underwriters Mutual Insurance Company (HUM) when he was a founding member of the board in 2008, and he delivered valuable guidance throughout his tenure.

“Hospitality Insurance Group is deeply appreciative of Jerry’s commitment to the Board, and his counsel and opinions on a myriad of insurance issues. A board member with Jerry’s expertise and enthusiasm will be greatly missed,” said Richard E. Welch, Jr., President & CEO of Hospitality Insurance Group.

“I have had the privilege of serving on several boards with Jerry over the last four decades.  He was a gifted insurance professional and a valued personal friend,” said William T. McGrail, HIG Chairman.

Cassidy’s extensive experience in the insurance industry helped guide important decisions that have expanded the operations of Hospitality Insurance Group. Highlights from Cassidy’s time on the Board include voting on the acquisition of Eastern Casualty and prompting the use of their inactive licenses. He was also involved in transitioning Liquor Liability Joint Underwriting Association of Massachusetts, initially created by legislators in Massachusetts, to Hospitality Mutual Insurance Company and Hospitality Insurance Company — which both co-operate as Hospitality Insurance Group.

A seasoned insurance executive with over 50 years of experience, Cassidy served in managerial roles at St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company and the Phoenix of Hartford Insurance Company.

Cassidy has also lent his expertise to other boards and committees throughout his career. His additional appointments include being on HUM’s Board of Directors and its Executive, Finance, and Employee Benefits Committees, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of Child’s Hospital in Albany, N.Y., Chairman of the Hospital Insurance Forum, and Vice Chairman of the Massachusetts Reinsurance Plan.

Cassidy plans to spend his time between Florida and Maine, where he will enjoy spending more time with his grandchildren and playing golf.

About Hospitality Insurance Group

Hospitality Insurance Group (HIG), headquartered in Southborough, Mass., provides commercial property, general liability, liquor liability and excess policies to owners of establishments that serve or sell liquor, including bars, taverns, restaurants, social clubs and liquor stores, as well as caterers and other qualified businesses. HIG writes insurance in seven states that include Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.


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Meet Our Commercial Lines Territory Manager, Bryon Hutter!

This month, we welcomed Bryon to Hospitality Insurance Group as our new Commercial Lines Territory Manager based at our headquarters in Southborough, Massachusetts.  Get to know Bryon in our latest Q&A interview below.


What is your full name?

Bryon Hutter


When is your birthday?



Where do you live?

Ashland, MA


Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’ve worked in the insurance industry for over 20 years (time flies!) My insurance career began in the mailroom at Liberty Mutual in NJ during college and progressed into various claims and underwriting roles over the years. My most recent experience includes senior field underwriting positions at Nationwide Insurance and Utica National.


What brought you to Hospitality Insurance Group?

I’m a foodie at heart and really like socializing over good food and drinks with friends and family. I’ve enjoyed working hospitality accounts over my years as a generalist underwriter and have always wanted to work more of this business. I was intrigued by the opportunity to join HIG and very impressed by the leadership vision for the future. We are going to do great things together!


Do you hold any industry certifications?

My CPCU is in progress.


Since we’re in the hospitality business, what is your favorite drink of choice to order when out with friends? (cocktail, beer, wine, etc.)

This is an easy question for me! My favorite spirits are Campari and Gin; so it will have to be a Negroni.


What is your favorite restaurant in your area?

With the closing of Blue Ginger, Bocado in Wellesley has quickly become a new favorite. Each meal is like an adventure and it doesn’t hurt that they also make a great variation of the Negroni!


What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time?

My 2 kids, wife and I enjoy exploring — we’ve been on road trips throughout the East coast and take lots of local weekend “adventures” to museums, beaches, and parks.

If you could go to any Boston sporting event, what would it be? (Boston Bruins, Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics)

Being a long time Penguins fan I always look forward to a Pens Bruins matchup. I have some great memories of Mario Lemieux and Ray Bourque playing on the ice together.


Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?

Besides making animal balloons for my kids and their friends, I really have a passion for cooking; Braised short ribs, chicken piccata and Asparagus wrapped in spinach crepes with béchamel sauce are the real crowd pleasers.


How can people reach you?


Bryon T. Hutter

New England Territory Manager

Direct: 774.512.9253 | Cell: 508.335.6655

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Winterproof Your Workplace

How to winterproof your workplace to avoid slip and fall insurance claims against your business during the winter months.

  • Keep parking lots cleared of snow and ice, including sidewalks; have a snow & ice removal and salting schedule in place.
  • Clear roofs from heavy snow to prevent ice dams and collapses.
  • Ensure that building overhangs, roof edges, and canopies are cleared of snow and ice build-up to prevent potential injuries from falling ice and icicles.
  • Be sure that snow is promptly cleared from the following additional areas: hydrants, stairways,  ramps, entrances, emergency exits, driveways, heating & ventilation equipment.
  • If you are utilizing an outside contractor for snow removal be sure to have a written contract which clearly outlines the contractor’s responsibilities and holds you harmless if someone slips and falls.
  • Make sure heating is provided in uninsulated or vacant spaces.
  • Thermostats should be set at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to prevent freezing pipes.
  • Space heaters should be PROHIBITED due to the risk of fire.

Download a PDF of this list to place at your business here.

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Pay Online

Pay Your Premium Online

Hospitality Insurance Group is excited to announce that we’ve recently partnered with Xpress-pay, a leading ePayment solution provider, to provide our policyholders with a faster, more convenient way of making premium payments. We’re confident this will be a great addition to the service we provide you!

Hospitality Mutual Insurance Co.

MA Policyholders

Hospitality Insurance Co.


Download ACH Form

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Online Payments

Which link should I use to submit payment?
Hospitality Insurance Company
For policyholders in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania & Vermont
Hospitality Mutual Insurance Company
For policyholders in Massachusetts.
What payments are accepted?
We now accept payment by Electronic Check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.
Am I able to set up an account to save my payment information?
 Yes, when you make payment, you are asked if you would like to set up an Xpress pay account.  If you check yes, it will allow you to create a password and your credit card or check information will be saved to your account.
Am I able to set up recurring payments?
Yes. Once an Xpress pay account is set up you can also set up recurring payments as well.
What if I don’t have my recent billing statement or have questions about your online payment system?
Please contact our office at 1-877-366-1140.
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September 2018 Liquor Liability Insurance Policies

Take a look at some of the liquor liability insurance policies Hospitality Insurance Group wrote in September 2018 including the type of coverage included, insurance discounts applied and a glimpse at the total insurance premium.

  • Restaurant
  • Springfield, MA
  • CP $151,000 BPP and $370,000 BI; GL:  1M/2M; LL:  1M/2M
  • $881,334
  • 39%
  • Hired and Non-Owned Auto and AI on GL; GL A&B and PD on LL
    • Alcohol Awareness Training
    • Member of Restaurant Association
    • Elite Discount
  • $9,359 Total; CP: $1,862; GL:  $2,436; LL:  $3,562; EL:  $1,499



  • Bar
  • Greenville, NC
  • $1M/$1M/$2M
  • $1.1M
  • 84.6%
  • No
    • Alcohol Awareness Training
    • Member of Restaurant Association
  • $13,200 (LL)


If you are an Independent Insurance Agent, click here to learn more about working with Hospitality Insurance Group to provide liquor liability insurance to your customers.

If you are a business owner looking for liquor liability insurance coverage, click here to contact one of our preferred Independent Insurance Agents or find answers to some of your frequently asked questions about our insurance coverage here.

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Insuring The Liquor Business

Insuring The Liquor Business

Name: Richard (Dick) Welch

Title: President and CEO, Hospitality Insurance Group

Age: 57

Experience: 30 Years

For the last three decades, Richard Welch has held a variety of roles in the insurance industry in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He spent most of his career at Travelers Insurance where he worked for 25 years, eventually rising to president and CEO of The Premiere Insurance Co. of Massachusetts, a subsidiary of Travelers. After Travelers, Welch spent a few years as an independent consultant before joining Concord Mutual Insurance Co., where he was vice president of corporate planning. Now, the Watertown, Connecticut native is the CEO of the Hospitality Insurance Group, which has offices in Southborough, Massachusetts, and Plantsville, Connecticut. The company, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, began strictly as a joint underwriting authority that sold liability insurance to entities that have liquor licenses. It then expanded its model and now sells to a variety of different kinds of insurance in other states.

Q: How did you get into the insurance business?

A: I was working for a company in another industry, which wasn’t doing very well, and I didn’t think the prospects for long-term employment there were great. So, I looked at the insurance industry. When I first interviewed with Travelers, it seemed like a great fit. They made me an offer and I spent a few years in Hartford before they transferred me to Massachusetts to manage the personal lines insurance business in the state. I became president and CEO of Travelers of Massachusetts, leading a $350 million personal lines insurance company, where we enjoyed a great deal of success, returning over $500 million in profits during my tenure.

How I ended up at Hospitality: The company’s president decided to retire last year, and the company was searching for a new CEO. I have a good relationship with a few of the board members at Hospitality, one of whom approached me about the opportunity. I liked what I heard and came on board earlier this year. It’s a great company and we have big plans!

Q: What are the challenges for insuring liquor licenses and insurance?

A: One of the biggest challenges for any business which sells liquor and holds a liquor license is to minimize their exposure and risk. Bars and restaurants encounter significant exposure if they inadvertently over-serve a customer. The potential results of such actions can lead to automobile accidents, injuries or fatalities. It’s essential for bars, restaurants and package stores to carry the appropriate amount of liquor liability insurance. As bars and restaurants are small businesses, few can afford to fund large liabilities, which could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single incident.

From the insurance company’s viewpoint, the key challenge relates to underwriting and managing claims. What are the annual sales figures? What is the company’s history? Company history is important for us to understand in assessing whether we can write a policy for an individual business.

The other consideration is for us to counsel our clients on how to reduce risk of exposure to loss, so that there are fewer bad situations and if there is one, to be certain that clients don’t do anything to make a bad situation worse. When lawsuits are filed against bars and restaurants, they are often frivolous. We work with our clients to educate them through loss control how to deal with those frivolous lawsuits.

Loss control is beneficial for bars, package stores and restaurants because it keeps our costs down, which allows us to charge our customers less. We are a mutual company, which means we are owned by policyholders. Everything we do is ultimately in their collective interest.

Q: Has the cost of liquor licenses changed?

A: The cost of licenses is regulated by communities and changes from place to place, and there hasn’t been a significant change in the cost for a restaurant or bar to obtain a license to sell alcohol. As far as the cost to obtain liability coverage, that is dependent in large part on the customer’s history – a mixture of frequency of claims and risk factors.

Hospitality Insurance Group is a niche writer within the insurance business. While there are standard insurance companies that will write liquor liability policies for restaurants, the number of agencies who will write similar policies for bars or taverns is much less. It’s a risky line of business unless you really know the specifics of this type of insurance. Our expertise translates into knowing how to assess risk, how to handle insurance claims and how to help keep costs down for the customer.

Q: What is the different between this type of insurance in Connecticut versus Massachusetts?

A: The potential liability of establishments that serve liquor is defined by something called “Dram Shop Laws.” Connecticut’s Dram Shop Law is somewhat unique in that it limits the liability to $250,000 for any single incident except in a case of the reckless service of alcohol. This limit helps keep insurance more affordable for Connecticut bars and restaurants.

Welch’s Five Favorite Writers:

  1. Jon Krakauer
  2. Michael Lewis
  3. Charles Mann
  4. Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  5. Levitt & Dubner