Dram Shop Insurance

What is Dram Shop Insurance and How Should a Business Purchase Coverage?

Dram Shop Insurance is required by law in nearly every state in the country. In the past, Dram Shop was a term that referred to places where alcohol was sold by the dram (a small quantity of liquid). Dram Shop Liability Laws have been created to protect the public from intoxicated individuals who have been over-served by an establishment. Dram Shop Insurance is a type of insurance required by businesses that sell and serve alcoholic beverages. Most within the insurance industry now use the term Liquor Liability Insurance as it is more straight-forward and easier to remember.

What Determines Cost of Dram Shop Insurance?

There are a number of factors that determine what a business pays for Dram Shop Insurance. Like a normal commercial insurance policy, it depends upon the state you operate in, the revenue of your business, and the number of employees. Specific to Dram Shop Insurance the determining factors include the types of alcohol sold, the closing time, the amount of food compared to alcohol receipts, the square footage of the facility, the average price of the drinks, the types of entertainment on the premises (live music, karaoke,etc.), and whether the establishment has bouncer manning the door. Having well-designed protocols in place for how your staff should deal with intoxicated customers goes a long ways towards limiting the frequency and severity of claims within your business.

What is Covered by Dram Shop Insurance?

Dram Shop Insurance covers many claims your business may face. Some of those covered claims include bodily injury, property damage, coverage for intoxicated employees, fights, legal costs, and mental anguish. Not what is covered and how much is covered will differ depending upon the carrier you are purchasing from and the state you are operating in. Businesses should review all policies extremely carefully before purchasing coverage for their business. Partnering with an independent insurance agent is a great way to get unbiased advice about the differences between coverages from carrier to carrier.

The big difference between Dram Shop Insurance Policies are the type of carrier a business is purchasing coverage from. The two types of carriers include admitted and non-admitted carriers. An Admitted Carrier is required to file rates with the state and follow rules and regulations set by each state’s Department of Insurance. A Non-admitted Carrier is not required to file rates or follow the same state regulations. Non-admitted Carriers do have to prove to the state they operate in that they are able to financially pay the claims their policyholders file. In addition to admitted vs. non-admitted carriers it is important for business owners to check the financial strength of the carrier as reported by the AM Best or by Standard & Poor’s.

9 things to know about Liquor Liability Insurance

Liquor Liability

Liquor Liability Insurance is also known as dramshop liability in many parts of the United States. Most businesses that sell or serve alcohol are either legally required to buy Dram Shop insurance, or will benefit and protect their business by having this insurance coverage.  Here are nine things to consider when deciding to buy Liquor Liability Insurance.

Liquor Liability

Dram Shop Laws exist in 43 states

“Dram Shop” laws (a law that makes a business liable if they serve a patron who is clearly intoxicated) exist in forty-three states. Each law is unique to the state it exists in. Most laws require some legal liability to be placed on any business serving alcohol or allowing alcohol to be served on a property owned by the business.

Liquor Liability Laws differ by state

Each state has their own unique laws governing liability. The best way to make sure you have the proper protection for your establishment is to partner with an independent agent who has experience offering coverage to liquor serving establishments.

Most states require coverage

In most states it is a requirement to carry Liquor Liability Insurance just to be in business. Even if the law does not require coverage, it is always best to carry some coverage to protect the business from liability resulting from the actions of intoxicated patrons.

Most Banks or Financial Institutions Require Liquor Liability Coverage

Even if your individual state does not require coverage, many banks and other financial institutions require coverage in order to get a loan on a property or a business line of credit.

You don’t have to serve alcohol to be sued

If you rent out a facility that allows parties where alcohol is served or sold, you can be sued because of the actions of intoxicated guests at your facility. If you allow guests to rent out your property and alcohol is served, you can protect your business with Dram Shop Liability Insurance.

Some states allow multiple establishments to be defendants in a lawsuit.

Most states only allow them to be defendants in a lawsuit when an intoxicated person causes bodily injury to a third party after attending the establishment. Even if the patron spent a majority of the night consuming alcohol at another location. The establishment must prove that the patron was not or did not appear intoxicated while at their establishment.

Homeowner’s and Commercial Property have Lower Limits

Some Homeowner’s or Commercial Property Insurance Policies cover liquor liability. Typically this coverage is very specific and the limits are much lower then a Liquor Liability Insurance Policy.  If Dram Shop Liability is covered by a homeowners insurance policy, it commonly is limited to $100,000 to $300,000 in coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

Underage Drinking is not covered by Liquor Liability

Most all Liquor Liability Policies do not cover issues regarding underage drinking. This is because underage drinking is a crime. If the establishment served an underage patron, they broke the law. Any time a crime is committed it invalidates an insurance policy. This is why you see managers and bouncers acting like professional wrestlers when they encounter an underage drinker on their premises.

Alcohol Awareness Education

Many carriers offer discounts on liquor liability coverage to establishments that provide alcohol awareness education and training to employees. This is a must for any establishment that offers alcohol. Not only because it can reduce what you pay for commercial insurance, but it can drastically lower the likelihood of a severe incident occurring on your premises.

What Insurance do Bars, Taverns and Restaurants need?

Bars, Taverns and Restaurants

Small Businesses in the Bars, Taverns and Restaurant Industry have many different risks that are unique to this industry. The difference between a dive bar and a four star restaurant are as different as a beauty salon and a gun club. There are different classification codes for different types of insurance coverage depending upon the operations of your business. This is because the risks of a coffee shop, is different from the risks of a cafe or a wine bar. Which classification code the business is classified in is a large part of what determines how much they pay for commercial insurance. This may determine whether the business wants to offer a certain type of food or service depending upon how much it will impact what the business pays for commercial insurance.

Overhead picture of a Restaurant.

Alcohol Consumption

Most states determine if a business is a restaurant (not a bar or tavern) if it makes a certain percentage of its revenue from food and not from alcohol sales. The typical amount to be determined a restaurant is less than 50%. If the business makes more than 50% of its revenue from alcohol sales it is a riskier business and is thus places in a riskier classification code. This causes the business to be charged a higher premium for commercial insurance. The next main factor that impacts a restaurants rate for commercial insurance is whether the restaurant offers alcohol or not at all. If the business does not offer alcohol at all, they obviously eliminate the risk of intoxicated customers. This lowers the most costly risk a bar tavern or restaurant faces.  Also, an additional factor in the amount of premium is if the business does offer alcohol, whether or not the business offers hard alcohol or just beer and wine. Hard alcohol causes intoxication at a faster rate, because of this the business is more likely to have problems related to alcohol consumption.

Picture of a bar or tavern.

Hours of Operation

Aside from alcohol consumption the next largest risk that faces Bars, Taverns and Restaurant is the hours of operation. There is much less risk in a diner open from 6:00 AM –  1:00 PM, compared to a bar that serves no food and stays open until 2:00 AM 7 days a week. The latter might carry a few more risks that might turn in to insurance claims. Because of this risk the business is going to pay more in premium for their commercial insurance. Limiting these risks before they turn in to insurance claims can save your business immensely over the long term.

Picture of a table with breakfast food and a laptop.

Types of Coverage for Bars, Taverns and Restaurant

Most insurance carriers have business owner’s packages designed specifically for Bars, Taverns and Restaurants. Here are some common coverages you will find included in those packages.

  • General Liability
  • Liquor Liability
  • Commercial Property
  • Business Personal Property
  • Workers Compensation
  • Business Income and Expense Coverage
  • Commercial Crime Coverage
  • Umbrella Coverage

General Liability Insurance covers a business for common slips and falls that happen on the property, Liquor Liability is required by law in most states and the amount of coverage is usually determined by the amount and type of alcohol a restaurant serves. Commercial Property Insurance covers damages to the building and most fixtures attached to the building. Workers’ Compensation is required by law in nearly every state and is coverage to prevent lawsuits for injuries that occur to your employees as part of normal business operations. Business Income and Expense Coverage is an addition to a Commercial Property Policy and will cover your business for loss of revenue due to being closed after damage to your premises. Commercial Crime Coverage will cover your business for crimes committed by your employees while acting on behalf of the company.  Umbrella Coverage is designed to extend the limits of existing policies when those limits have been met. It is important to note that Umbrella Policies only kick in on top of other existing policies. If the cause of the damage is not a covered peril than the Umbrella Policy will not be activated.

 

Below is a list of all the classification codes that might be included as a Restaurant, Bar or Tavern.

Business ISO General Liability:

  • Code: 16920- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- Table service, dance floor
  • Code: 16921- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- No table service, but dance floor
  • Code: 16930- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- Table service, no dance floor
  • Code: 16931- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- No table service, no dance floor
  • Code: 16940- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- Bar service only, with dance floor
  • Code: 16941- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- Bar service only, no dance floor

NCCI Class Codes:

  • 9082 – Traditional Restaurant.
  • 9083 – Fast Food Restaurant
  • 9058 – Restaurants owned or operated in a hotel.
  • 9084 – Restaurant who receives more than 50% of their revenue from the sale of alcohol.

 

 

Golf Courses

My Insurance Question - Golf Courses

5 Types of Insurance Coverage all Golf Courses Need

The industry surrounding Golf Courses is a diverse industry. Some of the businesses serve very high end customers and professional tournaments. Other courses serve people with middle-class incomes in a rural setting. Some of the businesses do not have a full course and only offer a driving range putting green. Most of the businesses offer some form of lessons, food and beverage as well as retail offerings. Depending upon which type of golf course you own or operate, the type of insurance coverage you need may vary dramatically. Here are five coverages most golf courses need.

  • General Liability
  • Liquor Liability
  • Commercial Property
  • Hired and Non-Owned Auto
  • Workers Compensation

Golf Courses

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance risks can be substantial due to both the number of visitors and the nature of the activity. Golf is a physical endeavor and not everyone who partakes in the activity is of the highest athletic ability, nor are many in the best physical condition. The safety of the customers is a major concern. Slips, trips, and falls are always are a concern; as are flying golf balls. Golf carts can overturn and that may cause additional risks. If you have employees that are interacting with children, it is important to conduct proper background checks on those employees.

Liquor Liability

Liquor Liability Insurance is commonly referred to as dramshop liability. Most golf courses sell and serve some types of alcohol and in most states this requires them to purchase some form of liquor liability insurance. There are many types of risks associated with alcohol use at a golf course. Those risks include selling to an intoxicated customer, contributing to the over-intoxication of a customer and serving alcohol to a minor. These and many other risks associated to alcohol consumption make liquor liability a necessary coverage for golf courses.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance Exposure might be minimal if limited to a clubhouse facility or a maintenance shed, but not all golf courses are this simple. Many golf courses offer retail, food and beverage, restaurant facilities and instruction.  Many golf courses are located in remote areas. These locations add additional risks due to fires and how quick first responders can get to injured employees or customers.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto

If your business owns the vehicles employees are operating as part of their work, a commercial auto policy is necessary. Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability Exposure is generally limited to employees using their own vehicle for running errands or when an employee is travelling for work and using a rented vehicle. If your employees partake in any of these actions your business needs Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance.

Workers Compensation Insurance

Workers Compensation Insurance Risks can be high for golf courses. If the golf course has employees who do its own grounds maintenance and chemical applications, it can cause the amount of injuries to rise. Other employees face normal slips, falls, strains, sprains and being hit by errant golf balls or equipment.

Golf Courses Insurance Needs

Seven Insurance Coverages Every Restaurant Should Carry

I am opening a restaurant, what Insurance do I really need? This is a question insurance agents get asked a lot. Not just from restaurant owners, but from all small business owners. The answer to this question is like many things in life; It depends. The answer to this question will be different if you are a Painter, a Dry Cleaner, or even an Artisan Contractor.

 

There are many variables that go in to running a restaurant and those variables bring on completely different risks.

First and foremost the restaurant owner needs to determine what class code their business will be in. To find this out you will need the help of an experienced insurance agent. It is very important to be open and honest with the agent about what your restaurant will and will not be doing. For example, if you are a bar that stays open until 2 AM you will be in a different class code than a diner that is open from 6 AM until 2 PM. The risks are different, so the businesses are classified different. Furthermore, if you are not honest with your agent about serving alcohol they may leave out Liquor Liability Coverage. If an incident occurs without coverage it may be a loss so large it forces you to close permanently.

So once a business is classified correctly there are seven main coverages every restaurant should carry. Some restaurants will need all of these coverages and more. Some restaurants will need only a few coverages. Again, that is where the help of an experienced commercial insurance agent is important. This list is a great starting point for protecting any restaurant.

 

  • General Liability
  • Liquor Liability
  • Commercial Property
  • Hired and Non-owned Auto
  • Commercial Crime
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Umbrella Policy

 

General Liability

General Liability (GL) is often referred to as the first line of defense in any good business insurance policy. A GL policy protects a business against liability claims for bodily injury and property damage as a result of normal business operations. It also covers some types of advertising liability. This can be as simple as someone slipping and falling on the way to the bathroom to another business claiming you stole their advertising slogan. There are exclusions in every policy and not every carrier has the same exclusions. Reading your policy and consulting with your agent are important.

 

Liquor Liability

Liquor Liability is designed for businesses that sell or serve alcohol. If you do not plan on selling alcohol this is not necessary for your business. In many states, business are required by law to carry this coverage. Liquor liability covers liquor related instances including bodily injury, mental anguish, psychological damage, assault, intoxicated employees and property damage.

 

Commercial Property

Regardless of whether you own or rent the facility your restaurant is located, property insurance is an essential part of protecting your restaurant from disaster. Commercial Property Insurance covers losses and damages to a companies property including buildings and permanent fixtures, inventory, furniture, equipment, personal property, signage, fences, and even landscaping.

 

Hired and Non-Owned Auto

One risk that many restaurant owners forget about is when their employees are using their personal cars for business purposes. This is where Hired and Non-owned Auto Coverage is necessary.  Many restaurant owners think if they do not offer delivery services they do not need Commercial Auto Coverage. That is not always the case. Hired and Non-owned Auto Coverage kicks in when your employees use their own vehicle or a rented vehicle not owned by the the company. The employee could be using their vehicle for something as simple as going to get change at the bank. Regardless of how small the activity may seem, when the employee is using any vehicle to do business activity you are liable.

 

Commercial Crime

In today’s day and age the risk for credit and debit card fraud is very high at a Restaurant. You and your customers are putting a lot of faith in the people you hire to not steal their personal credit card numbers. For this reason it is necessary to carry Commercial Crime Insurance. This coverage provides coverage for criminal acts committed by you or your employees. These can include employee dishonesty, forgery, computer fraud , funds transfer fraud, kidnap, ransom, extortion and money laundering. Depending upon the policy it will pay to defend you at trial and some fines or judgments awarded by a court of law.

 

Workers’ Compensation

 Workers’ Compensation Insurance offers coverage similar to General Liability. Workers Comp is designed for your employees instead of third parties. Work Comp Coverage is frequently referred to as the “exclusive remedy”. This means employees give up some rights to sue for injuries occurring on the job in exchange for guaranteed benefits like lost wages and coverage of medical costs. Employers gain the piece of mind that they will not be sued for most accidents occurring on the job unless the business is intentionally negligent.

 

Umbrella Policy

An Umbrella Insurance Policy is a great way to provide an added layer of protection to your business. The coverage is a policy that goes over the top of other insurance policies for a rainy day. Basically, the Umbrella Policy will provided higher limits of coverage when a large claim occurs. Think about the size of a potential claim if your restaurant caught on fire while people were inside. This could easily lead to you reaching the limits for General Liability and Commercial Property Coverage. This type of situation could easily exceed a typical $1,000,000 occurrence limit for those underlying policies. This is when the Umbrella policy would kick to provide additional coverage over and beyond those limits.

 

In most cases these policies can be bundled together under a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). Most insurance carriers like to offer policies in a bundle because it brings them more business and allows them to get better prices for the business owner. It also ensures business owner’s are completely covered with no gaps in their coverage. So when you go out looking for your restaurant’s insurance policy these are seven insurance policies to consider when protecting your restaurant.