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Hospitality Insurance Group Names Warren Lewis as Vice President – Operations

Hospitality Insurance Group has announced that Warren Lewis has accepted the position of Vice President-Operations. With over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, including several years operating his own insurance agency, Lewis’ responsibilities will include the management of information, IT infrastructure, products and pricing, and oversight of office administration. 

Lewis began his career with Premier Insurance of Massachusetts, focusing on home and auto products. Subsequently, at One Beacon, he was primarily responsible for business planning for the Massachusetts personal lines unit. At Narragansett Bay Insurance Company, Lewis worked as data management director.

“We are pleased to welcome Warren to our expanding management team,” said Richard Welch, Jr., President & CEO of Hospitality Insurance Group. “He brings with him a unique perspective as both a past agency owner, as well as an experienced insurance company executive. This unique skillset will prove useful as we work to maintain and enhance our product offerings to business owners in the hospitality industry.”

Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine, and a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal and worked as a commercial fisherman in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Lewis resides in Westwood, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.

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Melissa Frecker Joins Hospitality Insurance Group as Senior Commercial Underwriter

Hospitality Insurance Group is growing its underwriting department with the addition of Melissa Frecker as Senior Commercial Underwriter. Frecker has over 10 years of experience in the insurance industry, specifically managing commercial lines. In this position, she will be responsible for commercial lines underwriting activities, agency relationship management, and product pricing.

Beginning at Quaker Special Risk, Frecker then joined Cantiani Insurance as commercial lines operation manager. She recently worked at Concord Group Insurance as a commercial lines underwriter and is a former member of the Massachusetts Association for Women in Insurance and BNI Southborough. 

“Melissa will be a valuable asset to our underwriting team,” said Sandra Haley, CPCU, CIC, CRM SVP Underwriting/Marketing of Hospitality Insurance Group. “Having worked in multiple facets of the insurance industry she is experienced in helping policyholders build the right coverage for their unique business needs.”

Frecker received her Associate in Insurance (AINS) designation and is working towards her Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU) and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designations. She enjoys visiting family and friends in Maine, traveling, and volunteering for her son’s boy scout troop and baseball team.

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Ventilation Systems

A properly designed, installed and functional ventilation system is critical for building fire safety. It is required to remove smoke odors and grease laden vapors from the cooking area to the exterior of the building. For this reason, it is imperative that the system is operating during all cooking periods and should operate for a minimum of 15 minutes after cooking has stopped.

Below are recommendations for optimal ventilation system performance.

  • Ventilation systems should be constructed of stainless steel rather than galvanized or aluminum, which are cheaper but do not provide sufficient protection in a fire event.

  • All seams should be externally welded to prevent grease from escaping and the hood should cover all cooking appliances.

Insufficient clearance between the hood and ductwork to surrounding combustible building

members, creates a severe fire hazard. Over time, high heat levels can lower the ignition

temperature of wood to combustible walls, ceilings, roofing members, etc. This can be

mitigated by increasing the air space between the metal duct/hood and the frame building

members, utilizing mineral wool insulation or installing stainless steel on spacers or

insulation. NFPA 96 should be consulted for guidance.

Fans should be mounted on the exterior of the building and cleaned on a regular basis.

Their exact location is governed by the building construction and NFPA requirements, which

include fan clearance to doors, windows, roof slope clearance, etc.

Place baffles in the hood area to minimize the amount of grease that is drawn into the

duct system. They should be of stainless-steel construction, installed at a 45° angle and

must be tight fitting. Baffles and grease trays should be cleaned daily. Older systems utilize

galvanized baffles or mesh type grease filters. Grease filters should be replaced with up to

code stainless steel baffles as they absorb grease, creating a fire hazard.

There are an estimated 5,600 restaurant fires reported annually, resulting in over $116M in property damage. *

Common Causes of Fires in Restaurants**

  • Cooking Equipment is responsible for 57% of restaurant fires.
  • Heating Equipment is responsible for 10% of restaurant fires.
  • Electrical distribution and lighting equipment is responsible for 7% of restaurant fires
  • Smoking is responsible for 7%
  • Arson is responsible for 5%
  • Failure to keep a clean kitchen was a factor in approximately 22% of fires

* National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)

** National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Includes content provided by Mutual Boiler Re
Hospitality Insurance Group
106 Southville Road, Southborough, MA 01772

www.hmic.com
877-366-1140

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Cleaning and Maintenance

A scheduled cleaning program prevents excessive buildup of grease in the hood, duct work
and fan. Grease accumulations lead to an increased fire risk. Semi-annual cleaning of the
ventilation system is often recommended; however, this is not an effective cleaning schedule
as the amount of potential grease accumulations varies drastically based on the type and
intensity of cooking. The NFPA 96 requires cleaning intervals based on the type and frequency
of cooking.

Type of Cooking VolumeInspection Frequency
Solid fuel cooking operations (wood burners)Monthly
High-volume cooking operations (24-hour cooking, charbroiling, or wok cooking)Quarterly
Systems serving moderate-volume cooking operationsSemi-annually
Systems serving low-volume cooking operations (churches, day camps, seasonal businesses, or senior centers)
Annually

Ventilation systems should be cleaned by a professional service that specializes in commercial
cooking ventilation systems as they can be difficult to clean due to the large number of
concealed spaces. Contractors must be able to gain access to the interior of the duct work to
properly clean the system. NFPA 96 chapter 7 outlines the requirements for access panels.
Access panels are designed to allow interior cleaning without damaging the integrity of the
metal duct work. Briefly stated, some of the basic requirements are as follows:

  • Multi-story vertical ducts require one access panel per floor
  • Horizontal ducts shall have at least one 20” opening for personnel access
  • Openings of sufficient size to permit thorough cleaning every 12ft
  • For hoods with dampers, an access panel for cleaning and inspection shall be provided in the duct or hood within 18” of damper

It is also a good practice for the baffles and grease pans to be cleaned daily.

There are an estimated 5,600 restaurant fires reported annually, resulting in over $116M in property damage. *

Most Common Causes of Fires in Restaurants**

  • Cooking Equipment is responsible for 57% of restaurant fires.
  • Heating Equipment is responsible for 10% of restaurant fires.
  • Electrical distribution and lighting equipment is responsible for 7% of restaurant fires
  • Smoking is responsible for 7%
  • Arson is responsible for 5%
  • Failure to keep a clean kitchen was a factor in approximately 22% of fires

*National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)
** National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Includes content provided by Mutual Boiler Re
Hospitality Insurance Group
106 Southville Road, Southborough, MA 01772

www.hmic.com
877-366-1140

by Jen Davey Jen Davey No Comments

Most Common Restaurant Fire Loss Sources and How To Prevent Them

There are an estimated 5,600 restaurant fires reported annually, resulting in over $116M in property damage. *

Most Common Causes of Fires in Restaurants**

  • Cooking Equipment is responsible for 57% of restaurant fires.
  • Heating Equipment is responsible for 10% of restaurant fires.
  • Electrical distribution and lighting equipment is responsible for 7% of restaurant fires
  • Smoking is responsible for 7%
  • Arson is responsible for 5%
  • Failure to keep a clean kitchen was a factor in approximately 22% of fires

Commercial Cooking Hazards

Grease Laden Vapors – all cooking is capable of producing grease laden vapors, especially when
utilizing lipids (oil, butter, lard, grease). Grease laden vapors are produced when heat and
steam rise from a cooking surface that contains grease. The passage of grease laden vapors
through the ventilation system results in deposits on the interior surfaces. A severe fire hazard
exists if the accumulated grease within the ventilation system is not removed. The most
prevalent sources of grease laden vapor productions are deep fat fryers, followed by woks,
broilers, grills, and stove top frying. The hazard associated with grease laden vapors is
exacerbated by the close proximity of ignition sources, such as open flames or hot appliances,
and a large supply of surrounding combustibles.

Greasy Towels and Rags

Folded towels are commonly used in restaurants for handling hot pots, pan handles,
trays, etc. This simple practice creates a fire hazard as towels collect grease from the
surrounding cooking environment. Grease laden towels present a significant fire hazard.
They can retain a grease residue even after they have been washed. Once they are removed
from a hot dryer the combination of residual grease and heat could lead to spontaneous
combustion. Dirty towels should be stored in metal cans with a tight-fitting lid until
they can be removed from the building daily or cleaned. The solution is to either use a
professional cleaning service or allow the towels to cool before folding and stacking.

Loss Mitigation

A restaurant’s potential for loss can be dramatically reduced with the combination of a
ventilation system, fire suppression system and a scheduled cleaning program. According to
the NFPA, approximately 30% of suppression systems failed to operate during a fire event
with lack of proper maintenance contributing to 44% of these failures. Commercial cooking
installations are governed by these model codes: NFPA 96, NFPA 17A and UP-300. The
minimum requirements for a safe installation include:

  • Proper 16” clearance between deep fat fryers and sources of ignition
  • Scheduled professional cleaning and servicing of the systems
  • Stainless steel hood and ductwork with externally welded, leak proof seams
  • Tight fitting grease baffles
  • Type K portable fire extinguisher
  • UL-300 compliant, wet type automatic suppression system

*National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)
** National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Includes content provided by Mutual Boiler Re
Hospitality Insurance Group
106 Southville Road, Southborough, MA 01772

www.hmic.com
877-366-1140

by Jen Davey Jen Davey No Comments

Automatic Suppression Systems

Automatic suppression systems are vital for protection against fire in commercial cooking.

The system has fusible links installed in the hood plenum area and, when a fire occurs, the

link separates and activates the suppression system. A suppression agent is released from

a series of nozzles, smothering the fire and creating a foam blanket to prevent re-ignition. In

addition, activation of the system shuts off the fuel supply. The suppression system needs

to be UL-300 Compliant, meaning it is specifically designed for modern commercial cooking

appliances that use vegetable oil instead of animal fat. Modern commercial high efficiency

appliances retain heat for longer periods of time and are therefore more difficult to suppress

during a fire. Modern suppression systems are complex and require semi-annual servicing to

ensure proper functioning in the event of fire.

Older suppression systems use dry powder as a suppression agent, which will not create

a foam barrier with vegetable oil appliances and could lead to re-ignition. For this reason,

older dry powder systems need to be replaced with a UL-300 compliant wet type system.

There are an estimated 5,600 restaurant fires reported annually, resulting in over $116M in property damage. *

Most Common Causes of Fires in Restaurants**

  • Cooking Equipment is responsible for 57% of restaurant fires.
  • Heating Equipment is responsible for 10% of restaurant fires.
  • Electrical distribution and lighting equipment is responsible for 7% of restaurant fires
  • Smoking is responsible for 7%
  • Arson is responsible for 5%
  • Failure to keep a clean kitchen was a factor in approximately 22% of fires

*National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)
** National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Includes content provided by Mutual Boiler Re
Hospitality Insurance Group
106 Southville Road, Southborough, MA 01772

www.hmic.com
877-366-1140

by Jen Davey Jen Davey No Comments

Times Are Tough – Don’t Miss Out on Discounts!

COVID-19 continues to present financial challenges for business owners. It is more important now than ever to make sure you are getting all the discounts you qualify for. Watch this short video to catch up on all of the discounts we currently offer. We continue to work hard to earn your business and are here to help. Give us a call on new and renewal business!

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.

by Jen Davey Jen Davey No Comments

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.

by Jen Davey Jen Davey No Comments

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.

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.

by Jen Davey Jen Davey No Comments

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.

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.

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