Risk Management

by Jen Davey Jen Davey No Comments

Pups on patios

8 tips to safely cater to canine companions

Take these safety precautions before opening your outdoor dining area to dogs.
As the weather turns warmer, many guests are seeking outdoor dining, and some may
wish to bring along canine companions. Before opening your patio to pooches, examine
what’s legally permissible and establish related safety policies.

Legal beagles
The question of whether dogs are legally permissible in an outdoor dining area comes
down to state and local laws and regulations. More than 20 states and numerous local
governments have laws or regulations permitting dogs.

A 2022 update to the FDA Food Code could open the door to additional governments
allowing dogs in outdoor areas. When it comes to food safety, many local and state
governments look to the FDA Food Code, which now, for the first time, provides
guidance allowing dogs in outdoor dining spaces, if approved by the local regulatory
authority. “Historically, the Food Code has not allowed any live animals, other than
service animals, on the premises of a food establishment,” notes Patrick Guzzle, vice
president of Food Science for the National Restaurant Association.

Doggie dos and don’ts
If your state or local government allows pups on patios, be sure to follow its restrictions
and requirements. Some best practices include:

  1. Check in with your local health regulatory agency. Some jurisdictions require
    official notification that a restaurant intends to allow dogs in its outdoor dining
    area; others require restaurants to apply for a permit.
  2. Offer outdoor access. Provide a patio entrance that won’t require dogs to
    traverse through the inside of the restaurant.
  3. Say “no” to dogs on chairs and tables. As the FDA Food Code notes,
    “Animals carry disease-causing organisms and can transmit pathogens to
    humans through direct and/or indirect contamination of food and food-contact
    surfaces.” To prevent contamination, dogs should not come into contact with
    chairs, tables, linens, tableware, or other foodservice items. Guzzle advises that
    “if a dog is allowed, for any reason, to be ON a table, now the entire table and all utensils, condiment dispensers, napkin dispensers, menu cards, table tents, etc., must be cleaned and sanitized before other guests are seated at the same table.”
  4. No petting the pooches. Staff should refrain from touching, petting, or handling
    dogs. If an employee does pet a pooch, they should wash their hands thoroughly
    to avoid cross contamination.
  5. Keep a tight leash on the situation. Require guests to keep their dogs leashed
    and under control so that the dining experience is safe and enjoyable for
  6. Say it with a sign. Post a sign specifying that dogs are allowed in your outdoor
    dining area. This is helpful information for both dog-lovers as well as anyone who
    might be allergic to or afraid of dogs. Some jurisdictions also require signage with
    your rules related to dogs, which, among other things, might reiterate that local
    dog laws must be followed, such as being up to date on vaccinations and
    wearing a collar and tags. Consider listing the rules on your website also.
  7. Be prepared for doggy accidents. Inform guests that it’s their responsibility to
    clean up after their pets; some restaurants even provide dog pickup bags. The
    FDA Food Code, in Annex 3, recommends providing a covered refuse container
    exclusively to store all pet waste generated. Even if guests help with the cleanup,
    you’ll want a procedure in place to sanitize as needed.
  8. Send them straight to the doghouse. If a canine and companion aren’t
    following your restaurant’s rules, you have the right to request that they leave.
    Develop a protocol for how to handle these situations. If a dog menaces,
    threatens, or bites any person or other dog, report the incident to the appropriate
    health authority.

by Jen Davey Jen Davey No Comments

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.

by Jen Davey Jen Davey No Comments

Bar Room Brawls: 3 Assault & Battery Situations That Could Happen At Any Bar

Bar Room Brawls: 3 Assault & Battery Situations That Could Happen At Any Bar

Bar Room Brawls 3 Assault & Battery Situations That Could Happen At Any BarFor 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.


Case #1   

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.

Case #2  

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.  

Case #3

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.