Serving alcohol is a common practice for restaurants, bars, catering companies, entertainment venues and similar establishments. While providing a wide array of beverage options is important, serving alcohol in particular can create a variety of risks for business owners.
For instance, if a patron of your business becomes intoxicated and injures a third party or causes property damage, you could be held liable for the damages. In order to protect your business from serious financial and reputational losses, it’s important to consider purchasing liquor liability insurance.
What is Liquor Liability?
The term liquor liability refers to an organization’s legal and financial responsibility for the actions of individuals who consume alcohol at their establishment. Under liquor liability laws, a business can be found liable for both the bodily injury and property damage caused by a person they improperly served alcohol to.
What is Liquor Liability Insurance?
Liquor liability insurance is designed to protect any business that sells or serves alcoholic beverages. Specifically, this type of insurance covers damages that result from things like fights, careless behavior or automobile accidents caused by individuals who have consumed alcohol.
Liquor liability is important, as it protects you should your clients or patrons sue your business for damages related to their intoxication—something a general liability policy won’t cover.
Most businesses carry a general liability policy, which covers claims against your business for bodily injury, property damage or personal injury. While these policies often include host liquor liability coverage, they only provide protection related to the incidental service of alcohol. While host liquor liability may protect you if you are simply serving alcohol at a company party, it does not offer the coverage you need if you sell alcohol as part of your business.
What’s more, the majority of states require establishments that serve, sell or assist in the purchase of alcohol to carry liquor liability insurance. As such, it’s important to know what to look for in a policy.
What Should My Policy Account For?
When it comes to protecting your business from any kind of liability, it’s critical that you account for common risks. In order to secure the right level of coverage, keep in mind the following policy enhancements when shopping for liquor liability insurance:
Assault and battery coverage.
When alcohol is involved, fights are a common risk. However, many liquor liability policies exclude coverage for assault and battery. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you account for this protection when building your policy. It should be noted that assault and battery coverage can also be extended to include specific incidents such as sexual assault, stabbings and shootings.
Legal fees from liquor-related claims can easily exceed tens of thousands of dollars. Be sure that your policy accounts for defense costs outside of the policy limit. Otherwise, legal expenses could quickly exhaust your policy limit, leaving little to no insurance to pay for any damages.
Even if you forbid your employees to drink on the job, there’s a chance that they may disregard your instruction. Look for a policy that will cover your employees as patrons to better protect your business from liquor-related incidents.
In the event of a lawsuit, claimants may allege they were injured in nonphysical ways. In these instances, patrons could sue you for stress, mental anguish or psychological injury. Ensure that your policy accounts for these types of injuries.
It should be noted that liquor liability insurance won’t cover claims that arise from the sale of alcohol to minors or similar illegal transactions. Be sure your employees are instructed to verify patrons are of legal drinking age.
What Determines Pricing?
The underwriting process for liquor liability insurance can differ depending on the type of business you conduct. In general, the following four factors determine the rating and pricing of coverage:
Type of venue. When examining a business’s risk, underwriters look to identify the primary purpose of a venue. If you own a restaurant, the primary purpose of your venue is to serve food, so you are generally considered to have less risk than a nightclub or tavern.
Location of the venue.
Liquor laws can vary drastically depending on the jurisdiction. Each state has its own scoring system based on the nature of local dram shop laws. Dram shop laws impose certain liability standards on area venues that serve alcohol. Because the strictness of these laws may change from location to location, where you operate your business can have a major impact on how your liquor liability insurance is priced.
Percentage of liquor sales.
As a general rule, the more alcohol sales you make, the higher your premiums will be. This factor tends to have more of an impact on pricing than venue type, as a restaurant that has a high percentage of alcohol sales may be priced similar to a bar.
Individual traits of the risk. There are a number of miscellaneous variables underwriters will take into consideration when pricing out policies, including the following:
- Types of entertainment offered
- Experience level of management
- Formal loss control measures
- Security measures and procedures for dealing with intoxicated patrons
Serve Your Patrons Responsibly
When serving liquor, the best way to protect your business from potential claims is through proper risk management and liquor liability insurance. These policies can be complex, and it’s important to discuss the nature of your operations with a qualified insurance broker. Contact Scurich Insurance today to learn more.
Contractors, no matter what industry they work in, face environmental risks stemming from operations on a daily basis. For most contractors, a single pollution incident or loss can seriously damage their reputation, operations and even their balance sheet. Making matters worse, pollution incidents can be sudden or occur gradually over time.
While many contractors assume that environmental claims will be covered under their commercial general liability (CGL) policy, the unfortunate reality is that most CGLs contain pollution exclusions that leave contractors uninsured in the event of a pollution incident.
Thankfully, contractors are increasingly turning to contractors pollution liability (CPL) insurance to ensure they have the right coverage in place to remain secure and profitable.
CPL Coverage Basics
CPL policies provide contractor-based insurance for third-party coverage for bodily injury, property damage, defense, and cleanup as a result of sudden and gradual pollution incidents arising from contracting operations performed by or on behalf of the contractor. CPL insurance is intended to provide coverage to all types of contracting operations, including contractors who are involved in building construction and environmental firms that remediate polluted sites.
CPL policies are offered on either a claims-made or occurrence basis. What’s more, CPL policies are nonstandard, meaning each policy is different and can be modified to cover the various needs of the contractor purchasing the policy. Policies can be offered on a project or blanket program basis.
In some instances, CPL policies can also be used to cover losses from civil fines, penalties and punitive damages.
Covered Pollution Incidents
Contractors should keep in mind that CPL insurance policies differ in regard to the types of pollution incidents that are covered. Two important considerations when evaluating CPL insurance policies are:
- Whether or not the policy will respond to gradual releases of pollutants, as opposed to sudden and accidental releases
- The types of substances that are considered “pollutants” under the terms of the policy
Generally, policies that cover both gradual and sudden releases of pollutants provide contractors with a broader scope of coverage. In addition, policies that provide a broad definition of pollutants are considered superior to those that contain a narrow definition. Accordingly, it is important that contractors work with their broker to find a CPL policy that is tailored to their needs.
CGL Pollution Exclusions
A primary reason why contractors obtain a CPL policy is due to the various pollution exclusions contained in most CGL policies. The pollution exclusions found in most CGL policies take one of two forms, either “absolute” or “total.”
CGL policies with an absolute pollution exclusion remove coverage for most pollution events that would occur in the course of an insured’s business operations. However, despite its name, an absolute pollution exclusion may preserve coverage for certain incidental pollution damages, products and completed operations liability, and certain off-premises work.
However, more commonly, CGL policies include a more restrictive “total pollution exclusion.” This type of exclusion effectively removes coverage for any event the insurer characterizes as a pollution incident.
Contractual requirements serve as another motivating factor that lead many contractors to obtain a CPL policy. In many instances, project owners and general contractors will require contractors to obtain pollution insurance that meets certain, predetermined standards.
From this perspective, having a CPL insurance policy in place can serve as an upfront sales tool during the bidding process that enables contractors to qualify for opportunities when such coverage is required.
Finding the Right Policy
Regardless of specialty, all contractors should be mindful of the pollution risks associated with their work. A CPL insurance policy can provide much-needed security in the event of a pollution incident, even in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Let Scurich Insurance work with your organization to find the CPL coverage that is right for you.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) electronic reporting rule requires certain establishments to report information electronically from their OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301. Under the rule, the first electronic reports were due on July 1, 2017.
However, on Nov. 24, 2017, OSHA issued a new final rule officially delaying the first electronic reporting deadline to Dec. 15, 2017. Affected establishments will need to submit their reports through the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) website by that time or face possible OSHA penalties.
- Affected establishments must create an account on the ITA website and submit information from their 2016 OSHA 300A form by Dec. 15, 2017.
- Other deadlines under the electronic reporting rule remain unaltered. Therefore, affected establishments should begin their preparations to submit information from all 2017 OSHA forms by July 1, 2018.
OSHA’s electronic reporting rule affects establishments that:
- Are already required to create and maintain OSHA injury and illness records and have 250 or more employees;
- Have between 20 and 249 employees and belong to a high-risk industry; and
- Receive a specific request from OSHA to create, maintain and submit electronic records, even if they would otherwise be exempt from OSHA recordkeeping requirements.
The electronic reporting rule applies to establishments, not employers. An employer may have several worksites or establishments. In these situations, some establishments may be affected while others are not.
To determine whether an establishment is affected, employers must determine each establishment’s peak employment during the calendar year. During this determination, employers must count every individual that worked at that establishment, regardless of whether he or she worked full-time, part-time, or was a temporary or seasonal worker.
Finally, a firm with more than one establishment may submit establishment-specific data for multiple establishments.
||Number of Employees
|Dec. 15, 2017
|July 1, 2018
||Forms 300A, 300 and 301
|March 2 (2019 and beyond)
||Forms 300A, 300 and 301
The data an employer must submit and the timeline for submitting this information to OSHA depends on the establishment size.
Establishments with 250 or more employees will be required to submit information from their OSHA Forms 300A, 300 and 301. However, in 2017, these establishments will only be required to submit data from their 300A Form. Establishments in high-risk industries with between 20 and 249 employees will be required to submit information only from their OSHA Form 300A.
For the first reporting year, the deadline has been delayed to Dec. 15, 2017. However, the final rule that delayed the first deadline did not alter subsequent deadlines, so reporting deadlines for 2018, 2019 and beyond remain as shown in the table above.
Submitting the Report
The ITA is a secure website that OSHA created specifically for the data required by the electronic reporting rule. The ITA allows employers three options to submit their reports:
- Manual entry;
- Comma-separated value (CSV) file upload; and
- Application programming interface (API) transmission.
The ITA offers affected establishment instructions and sample files and templates to help them complete the submission process.
OSHA-approved State Plans
The final rule required OSHA-approved State Plans to adopt the electronic rule or “substantially identical” requirements within six months of the final rule’s publication date. The final rule was published on May 12, 2016.
This means that OSHA-approved State Plans have the authority to adopt reporting requirements that go above and beyond what is required by the federal rule. For this reason, establishments located in OSHA-approved State Plan jurisdictions should consult with their local OSHA offices to make sure they are satisfying all electronic reporting requirements.
However, the following OSHA-approved State Plans have not yet adopted the requirement to submit injury and illness reports electronically:
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
- New York
Similarly, state and local government establishments in IL, ME, NJ and NY are not currently required to submit their data through the reporting website.
Contact Scurich Insurance or visit the OSHA tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses webpage for more information regarding electronic reporting.