Video: Alcohol Awareness Training
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!
Name: Richard (Dick) Welch
Title: President and CEO, Hospitality Insurance Group
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:
Bar Room Brawls: 3 Assault & Battery Situations That Could Happen At Any Bar
For any establishment that serves alcoholic beverages, a fight possibly breaking out is always in the back of any owner’s mind.
According to Insurance Magazine, about 30% of losses at bars, taverns, and nightclubs arise from assault and battery claims.
Out of the thousands and thousands of claims filed, here are three situations we’ve worked with our policyholders when an assault and battery occurred at their establishment.
A patron alleged that he was repeatedly assaulted while exiting the establishment after the last call.
The policyholder had purchased an assault and battery endorsement as part of their liquor liability policy issued by Hospitality Insurance Group.
The defense attorney, hired by Hospitality to defend the establishment against this plaintiff’s lawsuit, obtained a defense verdict on behalf of the policyholder.
This establishment was not the type of bar that you would think would have an altercation of any sort.
A gentleman entered our insured’s establishment and was served a single drink.
During the night, the gentlemen casually conversed with other patrons until he randomly started violently attacking patrons with weapons concealed underneath his sweatshirt.
None of the injured customers could recall any signs that would have forewarned them of the assailant’s violent propensity.
This incident was a sudden and unforeseen violent crime that occurred on the insured’s premise and was covered by the assault and battery endorsement on their liquor liability policy, issued by Hospitality Insurance Group.
A patron appeared to have entered our policyholder’s establishment already intoxicated.
While inside, the man was said to have disturbed three different groups of patrons and was later struck by a patron inside the bar, causing him to fall and suffer a head trauma.
This policyholder had purchased an assault and battery endorsement as part of their liquor liability policy issued by Hospitality Insurance Group. The defense attorney, hired by Hospitality to defend the establishment against the plaintiff’s lawsuit, obtained a defense verdict on the policyholder’s behalf.
As also advised by Nightclub & Bar, general liability insurance with assault and battery and liquor liability coverage is usually the best way for restaurant owners to protect themselves in the event of a fight at their business.
When examining your insurance policy, it’s important to ask if you have assault and battery coverage. It’s not uncommon for an insurance carrier to apply a specialized exclusion for assault & battery exposure as we explain in our blog, “Assault & Battery: Where’s the coverage?” Exclusions may occur, and in the event of a bar fight breaking out, a restaurant owner could be denied coverage if an incident like one of these occurs.
Not sure if you have the proper coverage? Hospitality Insurance Group is a liquor liability insurance group writing insurance for bars and taverns in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. For more information about how you can work with Hospitality Insurance Group as an Independent Insurance Agent or obtain a quote for liquor liability insurance, click here to request a call from us, email or office visit from one of our local representatives near you.
Tis the season for holiday parties, eggnog and late nights. We attend the ugly sweater parties, the family traditions, and most common, attending the annual work party. Many companies spend weeks, even months, planning their holiday party. They plan everything from where the event will take place down to the type of silverware placed on the table. However, one aspect of the event planning people tend to forget is liquor liability insurance.
Most would like to think their guests are mature, responsible adults who know their limit.
During the holidays that thought process tends to escape the mind of most people. 20% of survey respondents in a 2010 survey by Forbes have said they had too much to drink at a holiday party. We see results of this every year on the news of that one person who made the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a holiday party and taking the life of another driver in fatal car accident. Many think the only person responsible for this accident is the driver, but in many cases, attorneys will sue anyone who may have been responsible including the host, owners, event planners, bartenders, and servers.
Issues arising from the company holiday party could be extreme and some could be just plain embarrassing.
Three possible extreme scenarios include:
So how do you keep things under control? Here are 10 ways to help prevent a lawsuit from arising from your company holiday party.
Without liquor liability insurance, you can be held responsible and sued for allowing them to become intoxicated and proceeding to operate a vehicle.
Do you still think liquor liability isn’t a necessity?
Laws regarding liquor licenses and liquor liability coverage vary by state, so it is important to be aware of the laws in your state before planning an event where alcohol is going to be served. 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.
See how Hospitality Insurance Group provided the protection our policyholder needed to remain in business! Just another example of how Hospitality Insurance Group Serves You; Allowing You to Serve Others. Learn more about doing business with us and request a quote for coverage.
Every bar owner wants to prevent a liquor liability claim from occurring which is why having surveillance footage is invaluable should an incident be alleged.
Fights, theft, and vandalism are all unfortunate responsibilities of a restaurant owner. In addition to security and staff training, having a surveillance system installed is one thing that can protect you from a possible lawsuit that could potentially shut down your entire operation.
Many will agree that when surveillance is installed and noticeable by patrons, behavior amongst patrons tends to change. Some cities have even passed ordinances that require new alcohol licensees to install surveillance cameras before the restaurant can officially open for business.
At Hospitality Insurance Group, once a claim is filed, one of the first questions our Claims Examiner will ask is if there is any surveillance footage on the date of the incident. So if the inevitable does happen, having proper surveillance footage can make your life, and your insurer’s life, a lot easier.
We even send a claim acknowledgment letter to policyholders once a claim is reported instructing them to preserve tapes and other evidence relating to the case because around 70% – 75% of policyholders do not preserve their tapes.
If something happens at the bar, the insured should review and safeguard the tape until the statute of limitations runs out, which is usually around three years.
But what happens if you’re a small operation? One common objection we hear from our bar and restaurant policyholders is, “My restaurant is tiny! I don’t have that kind of money to spend on surveillance!”
You’re in luck.
Thanks to the wonderful world of online shopping, surveillance footage is even easier and more affordable than ever. We took a look at Amazon.com and found surveillance equipment, many of which can be monitored right from your smartphone.
If you’re looking for something affordable, we found this Hiseeu Wireless Network security camera has 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon for only $35.
We also found AMCREST Video Security System with Eight Weatherproof Cameras for only $399.
Whichever system that you may find is the best fit for your bar, restaurants and bar owners should take note of the loop setting as some systems preserve footage for 5 days, 7 days or 30-day loop prior to footage being taped over.
Fights, theft, and vandalism are all unfortunate responsibilities of a business owner. In addition to security and staff training, having a surveillance system installed is one thing that can protect you from a possible lawsuit that could potentially shut down your entire operation.
Roughly 75% of our policyholders do not preserve their surveillance tapes after the claim has been reported to our team. Failure to save video can increase the payout of a claim up to $200,000 per claim.
IF something happens at your establishment, you should review and safeguard the surveillance tapes until the statute of limitations runs out, which is usually around three years.
IF you are aware of any incidents such as the police were called, a fight happened in the establishment, or a drunk driving incident – these are situations where we look to you to provide us that surveillance footage during the claims process.
We recommend testing your surveillance system regularly to ensure that your system is functioning and working correctly.
Surveillance footage is evidence. Policyholders can face harsh penalties if evidence is lost, destroyed or erased following an incident.
Download our “What You Need To Know About Keeping Your Surveillance Footage For Insurance Claims Against Your Business” flyer here.
Please be advised that the views expressed are of the author alone and shall not constitute a legal opinion.
In the United States, it is illegal to serve alcohol to someone under the age of 21. But what if you asked for identification and were provided with a fake id without knowing?
Steps to take upon discovery:
While every situation is different, consequences can be severe. If found to be in violation of the law, the establishment’s liquor license could be suspended, modified or revoked.
Here are a few questions we ask our policyholders when a situation like this is reported that may be useful to include in your internal documentation.
To encourage Hospitality Insurance Group policyholders to provide their staff with effective alcohol-awareness training, we have an approved rate discount of 10% for insureds when 100% of management and at least 75% of non-management alcoholic beverage servers obtain certification in an approved alcohol-awareness program.
Learn more about our approved training programs or click here to learn about working with Hospitality Insurance Group.
Please be advised that the opinions expressed are the views of the author alone and should not be attributed to any other individual or entity and shall not constitute a legal opinion.
Do you insure liquor stores, restaurants or bars situated in the State of Rhode Island?
Effective August 1st, liquor liability insurance in the state of Rhode Island will become mandatory.
The Rhode Island House and Senate recently passed legislation that will require any applicant or holder of a liquor license to maintain liquor liability and commercial general liability insurance as a condition of renewing a liquor license or applying for a new liquor license. Insurance coverage shall be no less than $300,000.
Obtaining Liquor Liability Insurance Coverage In Rhode Island
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 or fill out this form to request more information.
If you are a business owner in Rhode Island looking for liquor liability insurance coverage, click here to contact one of our preferred Independent Insurance Agents of Rhode Island or find answers to some of your frequently asked questions about our insurance coverage here.
Are you a member of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association? RIHA members receive 20% off with Hospitality Insurance Group!