Blog

Ask an Expert – Liquor Liability Insurance

Posted by on Mar 1, 2019 in Business Insurance | Comments Off on Ask an Expert – Liquor Liability Insurance

Liquor Liability Insurance offers coverage against claims of property damage and injuries that are the result of the consumption of alcohol.  Commonly this coverage is closely associated with taverns, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants that serve alcohol. However, liquor Liability Insurance is not as straight forward as you might think.

So, we asked the experts.

Question: What industries should have liquor liability insurance other than bars, taverns, etc.?

Answer 1: Caterers, hotels, casinos, trade shows that sample liquor, public party facilities that rent their empty lobbies for catered events, Liquor retail stores.

Answer 2: Wedding venues, or private clubs that aren’t in the business of serving alcohol.  Need host liquor liability for serving alcohol or offering “set ups” for alcohol.

Answer 3: Caters that offer food and liquor also need a liquor policy for their servers.  These servers should also be liquor trained in some sort of TIPS training.

Question: Describe a situation involving liquor where a business who didn’t know they could be liable find themselves liable:

Answer 1: Printing company host a Xmas party, they serve alcohol/wine, an employee on the way home crashed and hurts several people, or worse. The company that hosted the event, would be liable.

Answer 2: Hosting an office party and serveing alcohol at the office or a third-party venue.

Answer 3: Let’s say you hold a birthday party at a park district in one of those wooded pavilion areas.  Well the person holding the event has to purchase a special event coverage to cover the event so that the park district is not held responsible in the event of a liquor liability claim.

Answer 4: Giving liquor away at a promotional event

Question: Describe something a business could do to reduce their chances of having a liquor liability claim:

Answer 1: Proper liquor liability training – alcohol awareness classes, BASSETT.

Answer 2: Check with a licensed insurance agent for exposure.

Answer 3: Having a “drive home” service to prevent a drunk driving claim.  This would be a service that the bar offers to the patrons that could potentially be overserved.

Answer 4: Not selling or giving away liquor is a great way to avoid liability.  If it is not part of your regular service just avoid it all together.

Question: Describe a situation involving liquor where an individual who didn’t know they could be liable find themselves liable:

Answer 1:

  • I have a party at my house, 30 relatives come over and we eat and drink, someone drives and gets injured, the home owner has liability exposure.
  • Providing alcohol to underage people.
  • Bartender who was pouring tequila shots down the mouth of an intoxicated patron, overserving the client.
  • The valet parking attendant that hands the keys to a customer, who get in car and drives and hurts people.

Answer 2:  Having a home party with friends where your serve alcohol.

Question: What is one thing you wish more people knew about Liquor liability:

Answer 1: The ramifications of pour decisions regarding how much is dispensed, and to whom.

Answer 2: It pays a statutory state limit per person and per accident, which is extremely low.

Answer 3: The exposure lies on personal home owners that entertain with alcohol involved just as much as it does a bar or tavern.

Answer 4: In the State of Illinois it’s a law that business that sell liquor must have Liquor Liability insurance.

Question: Name something surprising that is covered under Liquor Liability:

Answer 1: Attorney fees, rehabilitation expense

Answer 2: An injured passenger/s  in your automobile can sue the server of the alcohol to the driver that caused an accident, in which that passenger/s  were injured.  Also, coverage under Liquor Liability provides for “loss of support or means”, for a death resulting from an occurrence.

Answer 3: Assault and Battery is coverage that can potentially be denied that can be picked up usually via endorsement.

Question: Name something surprising that is not covered under Liquor Liability:

Answer 1: Liquor liability “may be” state specific, meaning when you cross state lines the Liquor Liability carrier may not provide coverage in that adjoining or different state.

Answer 2: It’s not that it’s not covered but it is a liquor liability limit in the State of Illinois.  The limit for max payout for any single individual or property is $67,356.23.  While the usual limit is $1,000,000, this amount is a combined limit to cover a catastrophic loss.  Let’s say a drunk driver hits a passenger bus and 10 passengers are hurt they would each receive the $67,356.23 limit up to a max of $1,000,000.

Answer 3: The drinker themselves.

 

For more information on Liquor Liability contact your Concklin Insurance Agent today!

Less Stress is the Best Valentine.

Posted by on Feb 14, 2019 in Business Insurance, Personal Insurance | Comments Off on Less Stress is the Best Valentine.

It is no secret that stress is hard on the heart.  It can lead to high blood pressure which, if left untreated, can result in heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease has become wide spread – effecting more than 1 in 3 women and is the leading cause of hospitalization among men.  The majority of Americans list their jobs as their biggest source of stress, pointing to heavy workloads, pressure to preform, long work hours, office politics and conflicts with coworkers as the largest contributors to their stress.

To manage your workplace stress, it is important to first identify what activities and situations increase your stress, and which ones decrease your stress.  Once you’ve identified these factors you can take a more balanced approach to your work, intermixing destressing activities with those which cause you the most stress.  Here are some common methods for tackling workplace stress:

  • Make a Plan. Setting realistic deadlines and an outline of what needs to be accomplished can be a huge stress reliever.  Knowing where you are going, what steps you need to accomplish to get there, and by when can decrease pressure and make a large project more manageable.
  • Focus on now. Often our stress leads us to imagine all the things that can go wrong. What if. What if you miss a deadline, what if your presentation AV equipment malfunctions?  We can lose ourselves in a world of possibilities.  While it is wise to have a plan, and a plan B – letting your mind focus on things that have not yet happened – and may never happen – can lead to an endless cycle of anxiety and stress.  Instead, once you have a plan of action, focus on what you can do in this moment.
  • Take breaks. It may seem counter intuitive but taking a few minutes away from a project can increase your productivity.  If you are feeling pressured, stressed or overwhelmed going for a short walk or talking to a colleague can revitalize you and help you gain a fresh perspective.
  • If you experience persistent, overwhelming stress you should seek help. Contact your health care provider.  Some red flags include:
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Insomnia
    • Body aches, such as headaches, stiff back muscles, etc.
    • Mood swings, or a short fuse.

Managing stress isn’t only good for yourself and your employees.  Lowering stress at work is good business.  High levels of stress affect job performance.  Stressed employees tend to make more mistakes, miss more days of works, and have lower overall productivity – not to mention an increased likelihood of higher insurance costs due to medical or workers’ compensation claims.

Stressed employees are also more likely to leave negative reviews on websites such as glassdoor.com, making it more difficult to attract new employees.

Going back to the top stressors in the workplace there are some tips to lower everyone’s overall stress.

  • Heavy Workloads and long work hours. Make sure employees are given realistic deadlines and clear expectations.  Assign team members with lower workloads to assist those who need it, even temporarily.
  • Office Politics and conflicts with coworkers. Addressing poor behavior within your staff can go a long way to ensuring a harmonious work environment. For instance, employees who are regularly tardy or take more break time than allotted could be a source of resentment among those who are punctual with their time management.  Ensuring management staff is being fair in assigning projects and enforcing rules and not “playing favorites” can also be a large part of creating a strong company culture.

For more ideas on reducing stress in and out of the workplace, contact your Independent Insurance Agent at Concklin Insurance Agency.

Frozen Pipes

Posted by on Jan 29, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can bust, causing damage to your home or business, wrecking electronics, furniture and more. A busted pipe can be a very expensive and messy experience.

How to Spot a Frozen Pipe

As temperatures continue to drop across the nation many areas will find themselves in sub-freezing weather. At such lows, water in the pipes can freeze, causing pressure to build up as the ice expands and stopping water from flowing as normal.

As such the first sign that your pipes may be freezing is a reduction in water flow in faucets and other water fixtures.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Pipes exposed to the outside are most at risk for freezing, such as hose bibs and sprinkler systems. However, pipes located inside unheated areas of the building, including crawl spaces, pipes that run along exterior walls with little or no insulation and those in basements, attics and garages are also at risk.

Here are some tips on preventing frozen pipes:

  • Do not set your thermostat to below 55 while you are away. If you are going to be gone for an extended period have someone check the temperature of your house periodically.
  • If you have water supply in or through your garage, keep the exterior door(s) closed as much as possible.
  • Occasionally turn faucets on to allow water to flow and move through your pipes. (this also allows you to ensure water is flowing)
  • Disconnect outdoor items such as hoses. Turn off the indoor valve to outdoor faucets and allow water to drain out.
  • Open cabinets or other fixtures which may be hiding pipes to allow warm air to reach them.
  • Insulate pipes:
    • Foam pipe Insulation – fits easily over exposed pipes
    • Spray Foam – this product can be sprayed into walls and tight areas to fill the cavity around pipes – insulating them from cold temperatures.
    • Heat Tape – this is a special kind of tape that is plugged into an electrical outlet and spiraled around a pipe. The tape self regulates the temperature of the pipe using built in thermometers – calling on the electrical supply as needed.

What to do if a pipe is frozen?

If you suspect that your pipes may be frozen here are some Tips:

DO: turn off the “Main” water valve” to the building and leave the faucets “open”.

DON’T: Use any open flame to attempt to thaw the pipe.

DO: Let the heat of the house get to the pipe by opening cabinets or crawl space doors.

DO: Have plenty of patience. Heat and patience are the best two ways to get the pipes to thaw.

 

source

Distracted Driving – You probably do it more than you think.

Posted by on Jan 17, 2019 in Auto Insurance | Comments Off on Distracted Driving – You probably do it more than you think.

When we talk about distracted driving, we often think cellphones – texting, social medias, music… We all have that guilty memory of checking a text or trying to change what playlist is on.  We know these things are dangerous to do while driving, and we do them anyway, we think that because we know we are distracted we can be extra alert to compensate.  It’s simply not true. Distracted Driving is a serious problem. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 25% of all automobile crashes are related to cell phone use.  However, cell phone use is not the only form of Distracted Driving.  Driving while tired is another major problem.

Driving tired is something we have all done.  No matter your intentions and rituals, rough nights happen.  Morning comes, you gather yourself up, perhaps gulp a cup of coffee and hit the commute to work.  Your mind is in a haze of unfocused routine – more than likely you don’t notice anything is amiss.  You drive through an intersection and catch a glimpse of a red light in your review mirror – was it red when you went through it?  You are unsure, but nothing happened.  You arrive at work; how did you get here?  The commute isn’t memorable, you’ve done it umpteen dozen times, but usually you remember something about it, but not today.  Driving in this semi-comatose state is just as dangerous as using your cell phone or adjusting the radio but what’s even worse is we tend to not recognize we are doing it until after the fact.

So, what can you do?

The most obvious is get good, quality sleep every night.  It isn’t always in our control, but there are things that can help.

When you first wake up, if it’s sunny, or you have a sun-lamp – sit facing it for 5-10 minutes.  This will help signal to your brain that it’s time to be fully awake.

Avoiding “screen” time for at least an hour before bed can help your mind enter a more restful state.

If you shower/bath at night – give your body at least an hour between bath time and bedtime.  This allows your body temperature to return to normal before attempting to enter a sleep cycle.

Stop eating after dinner.  If you can avoid food for 2-3 hours before bed you’ll sleep more soundly as you avoid spikes in your blood sugar, or discomfort from eating.

Avoid caffeine for 4-6 hours before bed.  That’s how long it takes to move through your system.

However, the best advice I can think of is wake up with plenty of time to “take your time.”  Mornings we rush out the door go by in a blur, and while we may experience a momentary spike in energy and alertness – likely from anxiety over being late – it usually ends long before you reach your destination.  In fact, it could cause you to have an energy crash while driving – the calm after the storm, which leaves your mind wondering groggily.  By waking up with plenty of time to do your routine, you’ll find your more energy levels are more even, and your brain has time to come awake and stay awake long before getting behind the wheel.

Can you be held personally responsible for a Data Breach at your company?

Posted by on Dec 20, 2018 in Business Insurance | Comments Off on Can you be held personally responsible for a Data Breach at your company?

If you are a Director or Officer, you could be.

As a Director or Officer of your company you are open to litigation risks due to the decisions you make to influence the company.  How you choose to respond after a Data Breach and how you have influenced Cyber Security measures within your company could lead you to be held personally responsible for damages following a breach.  The acts you commit as a board member, including plans and decisions need to be protected.

The precedent has been set by past legal cases following data breaches in which the directors and officers have been accused of failing to take reasonable steps to protect customer data, failing to implement controls to detect and prevent a data breach and failing to report a breach in a timely manner.  In these situations, the companies’ Cyber Liability policy did not offer legal protection.  However, a D&O policy can.

What is a D&O policy?

A D&O policy provides protection for Directors and Officers for “wrongful acts.” This can include actual, or alleged errors, misleading statements, omissions of information, neglect and breach of duty.  Without a D&O policy, as a Director or Officer your personal assets could be forfeited to cover legal costs.  With cybercrime on the rise it is important that your company have strong cyber security and a data breach plan.  Failing to develop either could be classified as negligence or breach of duty.  However, not all D&Os include data breach in their coverage.  It Is important you talk to your insurance agent to ensure your policy is tailored to include protection in such an event.

How can I increase Cyber Security?

Cybercrime is a tricky and quickly evolving crime industry, making it hard to protect against.  However, it is important that every measure is taken to prevent an attack.  Here are a few techniques to improve cyber security:

  • Security software. Installing, and updating, security software on every computer within your network is a strong defense against cyber-attacks.
  • Install firewalls. Firewalls can protect your network from potential hackers.
  • Train employees on common “phishing” techniques, such as suspicious links in emails masquerading as Google docs.
  • Have a strict “plug-in” policy. Ensure your employees know not to plug in flash drives, tablets, etc. or insert CDs/DVDs/Disks into work computers, especially if the item is not familiar to them.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPN’s offer advanced encryption and authentication protocols and can be used to access your company’s network remotely rather than depending on a remote-access server.
  • Have a plan ready for when a data breach occurs. Unfortunately, it is no longer a matter of if, but rather when a breach will occur.  Already having a protocol in place to ensure those effected by the breach in a timely manner could mean the difference between an embarrassing loss of data, and a legal case for negligence.
  • If you are a publicly traded company ensure you are incompliance with all Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidelines regarding cyber breach, data loss and shareholders.

Most importantly you should talk to your insurance agent regarding Cyber Liability and D&O policies to ensure your policy is tailored to cover any gaps in coverage.