As an owner of a restaurant, bar or tavern, you never know what kind of person could walk through your door. That’s why every good operator trains his or her employees to handle and defuse difficult situations. They also protect themselves with Assault & Battery (A&B) coverage on both their General Liability and their Liquor Liability policies, preferably with coverage up to the policy limits and excess coverage, if available.
The case for A&B seems pretty straightforward, yet conscientious agents frequently run into a familiar litany of objections from their hospitality customers:
We are not that kind of place
Altercations have broken out in diners, country clubs, family restaurants and BYOB’s. Alcohol does not necessarily have to be a factor in a personal disagreement.
And guess what – you might think men are the culprits, but women are equal opportunity offenders as well.
People who get in a fight are too embarrassed to sue
Most claim departments would beg to differ. Previously, guilty parties might have regretted causing turmoil, but now the likely reaction is to blame somebody else.
Even if the bad actors don’t sue, they could cause an innocent bystander to get hurt, who would then want compensation from the hospitality establishment.
We only need A&B coverage as part of our Liquor Liability
The Liquor Liability policy essentially protects the restaurant, bar or tavern owner from selling, serving, or furnishing alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, with a few additional conditions.
For a carrier to provide coverage on a Liquor Liability claim, there would have to be an allegation of over service, which no establishment should ever willingly allow or admit.
For an A&B claim to be covered under the General Liability policy, there only has to be an allegation of negligence which has caused bodily injury and/or property damage, which is broader protection.
If there’s a problem, we just call the police
If a bad situation is escalating, no restaurant, bar or tavern should ever hesitate to call the police. But there can be consequences to a continuing need for law enforcement.
Regular customers are not going to view a hospitality establishment where the police are called regularly as a comfortable place to relax and unwind.
State regulators of liquor licenses, and insurance companies, don’t look favorably at restaurants, bars or taverns that have a record of police calls at their establishment.
Well-trained employees, supported by A&B coverage in a comprehensive insurance program, is an essential combination of best practices for the hospitality industry. Neither is prohibitively expensive, and the benefits far outweigh the costs.
*Patriot National Hospitality is an insurance program distributed through the licensed insurance agency Patriot Underwrites, Inc.