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3 Restaurant Insurance Tips to Protect Your Business

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 08, 2018

Restaurant Insurance Tips and advice for restaurant, bar, and nightclub owners in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster PA and more.As a restaurant owner, you know there are certain types of restaurant insurance that you need to protect your business.

What if a customer is injured on your property and sues you? How will you repair the damages if there’s a fire in your kitchen? There are so many “what-ifs” in any business, especially if you’re in the food industry.

While you may have perfected your Béarnaise sauce and learned how to create a soufflé that stands tall, what do you really know about insurance? How well do you know each type of insurance and how much coverage you need? Let’s face it; insurance can be complicated!

That’s why your best bet is to work with an independent insurance broker who specializes in restaurant insurance and can help ensure that you have the right coverage at the best price.

 

Here are 3 Things to Consider Before Signing on the Dotted Line

#1. Assess your Risks and Insurance Needs

Play the “what if” game to determine what kind of risks your business may be susceptible to and then consider what assets are essential to running your business – the ones you can’t do business without. An underwriter from your insurance company will determine the level of risk it is willing to take and how much coverage it is ready to provide to determine your insurance premiums.

However, it’s still good to know what protection you need. And things change – maybe your business is growing, or you sold a piece of equipment – so you’ll want to have a yearly insurance checkup with your insurance agent to make sure you still have the right coverage to protect your business.

#2. Realize that Cheaper May Not Be Better

It’s true that you don’t want to pay more for insurance than you have to, but if you purchase the cheapest insurance, and it doesn’t cover you when something happens, that isn’t protecting your business. 

Many restaurant owners increase the deductible to save money on their premiums. That’s often a good idea, but make sure you have enough available cash to cover that deductible if something happens. Before raising that deductible, ask yourself, what financial resources do I have available and what level of risk am I willing to take.

The best way to save money is to work with a broker who can get you the best price on the coverage you need by comparing prices from several insurance agencies.

#3. Understand What You’re Signing Before You Sign

Insurance policies can be complicated, but it’s essential that you understand the terms of your policy and the exact coverage that it provides. Make sure that you understand the exclusions and look for gaps where additional coverages may be needed.

For example, if you have a liquor license, general liability usually doesn’t cover that, but liquor liability insurance does. Talk to your insurance broker and ask questions - that’s what we’re here for.

Remember, the purpose of business insurance is to protect your business. To make sure that you’re covered if you get sued or if there’s a fire in your kitchen, or if any number of unforeseen incidents occur. You want to be certain that an accident cannot put you out of business.
 

Get Help. Contact the Restaurant Insurance Specialists!

Get the best restaurant insurance at an affordable price. Serving Philadelphia, Berks County, the Lehigh Valley, Allegheny County and more.Don't go it alone. Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online.

We specialize in quality restaurant insurance at affordable pricing, and provide prompt service not only when you’re purchasing your insurance, but also if you have a claim.

We have access to multiple insurance companies and will shop and compare both coverage and cost to ensure that you have the right insurance to protect your business at the best possible price.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Business Insurance, Bar Insurance, Nightclub Insurance

Restaurant Insurance & the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 24, 2018

Restaurant Insurance and HACCP guidelines. Affordable restaurant insurance for Berks County, Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster County, Allegheny County, PA and beyond.Every year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and over half of all reported foodborne illnesses are attributed to foodservice. 

In addition to the human cost (sickness, medical costs, lost work), a foodborne-illness outbreak at your restaurant can cost thousands of dollars and sometimes the loss of your business. It can cause negative media exposure, damage your reputation, decrease sales, affect staff morale, create lawsuits, and increase your restaurant insurance premiums.

Every food product that you serve has gone through several levels of the supply chain, and there are hazards at every level that can cause sickness or injury. Fortunately, these hazards can be reduced, prevented, and even eliminated.

Managing Food Safety via the HACCP System

Smart restaurant owners do what they can to reduce foodborne hazards, and there are many food safety management plans available. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system is one of the most widely used system, and it is endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences, National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria for Foods and the Codex Alimentarius as the best process control system available today. The FDA says, “HACCP is designed for use in all segments of the food industry from growing, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, distributing, and merchandising to preparing food for consumption.”

The History of HACCP and Food Safety

HACCP was introduced in the 1960s to produce the safest and highest quality food possible for astronauts in the space program. The HACCP Alliance defines the HACCP system as “a process control system that identifies where hazards might occur in the food production process and puts into place stringent actions to prevent the hazards from occurring. By strictly monitoring and controlling each step of the process, there is less chance for hazards to occur.”

A Proactive Approach to Food Safety

One of the advantages of HACCP is that it prevents food safety hazards rather than reacting to food safety hazards; it prioritizes and controls potential hazards. And it can be customized to your restaurant’s menu, customers, equipment, processes, and operations.

Compliance May not be Mandatory, but it's Really Smart!

Most restaurants are not required to have an HACCP plan, but it is one of the best systems available to ensure the safety of the food within your restaurant, and, as a big bonus, it is likely to help reduce your restaurant insurance premiums by lowering the number of insurance claims submitted.

 

Seven Principles of HACCP

HACCP is based on seven principles, according to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological criteria for foods. Here they are:

Principle 1: Conduct a Hazard Analysis

Identify food safety hazards - any biological, chemical, or physical property that may cause a food to be unsafe for human consumption - and take preventative measures to control these hazards.

Principle 2: Determine Critical Control Points

A critical control point (CCP) is a point, step, or procedure in the manufacturing or preparation of food where a control can be applied to prevent, reduce, or eliminate a food safety hazard.

Principle 3: Establish Critical Limits

A critical limit is a maximum/minimum level to which a biological, chemical, or physical factor must be raised/reduced to in order to prevent, reduce, or eliminate a food safety hazard

Principle 4: Establish Monitoring Procedures

Monitoring is a planned sequence of observations or measurements to assess whether a CCP is under control and to produce an accurate record for future use in verification.

Principle 5: Establish Corrective Actions

Ideal circumstances do not always prevail and deviations from established processes may occur requiring corrective actions.

Principle 6: Verify That the System Works

Once an HACCP is in place, make sure the system is operating according to plan and delivering the desired results.

Principle 7: Keep Accurate Records and Documentation

Restaurant owners should maintain the following records: a summary of the hazard analysis - including the rationale for determining hazards and control measures - and the HACCP Plan - including a brief summary of the position responsible for performing the activity and the procedures and frequency.

Contact Us for Better Restaurant Insurance at a Better Price! 

Get a better deal on Restaurant Insurance - Contact American Insuring Group in Berks County, PAAn HACCP plan is one of the best ways to ensure the safety of the food that you serve and to protect your customers, your employees, and your bottom line.

The right restaurant insurance is a safety net that protects you in the event that all of your precautions aren’t enough.

The experienced agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Restaurant Insurance, and best of all, they're independent. That means we are free to shop the market to get a plan that matches your needs with a great price!

So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online to see how we can help you save on your bar, nightclub, food truck, or any other type of restaurant insurance.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Food Truck Insurance, Bar Insurance, Nightclub Insurance

Bar Insurance 101:  Alcohol and Liability

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Apr 15, 2018

Alcohol impairs judgment, and impaired judgment can lead to damage, injuries and even death. In Pennsylvania, if you serve alcohol to a person who causes damage, injury, or death, you may be held liable. And in addition to the costs related to damage and injuries, you may also find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit.

Are You Protected in a Potential Lawsuit Against Your Restaurant Business?

 

Are you properly covered with the right insurance to protect your restaurant, bar or club against a lawsuit?

One nasty lawsuit can significantly affect your bottom line or even put you out of business. While you may not be able to control all of your customers’ actions, there are steps you can take to protect your business such as knowing the laws in your state, knowing how to identify when someone is drunk, and having Liquor Liability Insurance as part of your restaurant insurance policy.

Learn more about restaurant insurance

 

Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Law

Pennsylvania is one of 43 states that has a Dram Shop Law, which means that a business or individual who serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person is legally responsible for any injury or damage that person might cause. 

Restaurants, bars, clubs, taverns, or any other business that serves alcohol – whether it’s beer, wine, or spirits could end up paying the bill for damages done by an intoxicated customer.

That means that if you serve alcohol to someone who is “visibly intoxicated” and they get into a fight at your bar, one or both parties can sue you. If you serve someone who is “visibly intoxicated” and they fall and hurt themselves on the way to their car, they can hold you responsible for their injuries. If you serve alcohol to someone who is “visibly intoxicated,” and they cause an accident driving home, you may be held responsible for damage and injury to all parties involved.

The Law Applies to Private Events as Well

Dram Shop law applies not only to businesses that serve alcohol, like bars and restaurants but also to private events and can apply to someone committing other liquor violations, such as serving alcohol after hours or to minors.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Of course, your best bet is just not to serve “visibly intoxicated” customers and avoid the damage or injury before it happens. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.

In Pennsylvania, driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal, but according to the NHTSA, “… even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. In 2016, there were 2,017 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where drivers had lower alcohol levels (BACs of .01 to .07 g/dL).” 

AlcoMeters Breathalyzer offers this chart to help estimate how many drinks will impair a person’s judgment. But remember, everyone absorbs and metabolizes alcohol at different rates. Things like weight, sex, medication and even what a person eats can affect their BAC, so the chart is just an estimate. Sometimes you need to use your best judgment.

Here are seven signs that a person may be intoxicated:

  1. Slurred speech
  2. Glassy or bloodshot eyes
  3. Change in behavior
  4. Difficulty finishing a thought or sentence
  5. Stumbling or falling
  6. Impaired fine-motor skills (such as trouble opening their wallet and paying for a drink)
  7. Slow reaction time

Even if you identify someone who is drunk, it isn’t always easy to cut them off. Here are some tips:

  • Tell someone else like a manager or another bartender if you’re cutting someone off.
  • Enlist help from the customers’ friends.
  • Calmly explain your policies and don’t be confrontational.
  • Trust your judgment and stick to your decision.
  • Offer to call them a taxi.
  • If they become belligerent, call security or the police.

But, as you know, all best-laid plans can go awry, and that’s where Liquor Liability can become a safety net.

What is Liquor Liability Insurance?

Liquor Liability Insurance helps protect companies that manufacture, sell, or serve alcohol. It covers damages caused as the result of selling, serving, or furnishing alcoholic beverages and the cost of defending against any lawsuits filed by the intoxicated customer and/or their victim.

It’s important to note that your Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance may not cover when alcohol is involved. Plus, some banks require Liquor Liability Insurance and many states insist on it if you have a liquor license. In Pennsylvania, the Liquor Control Board requires current liquor liability coverage for $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate.

Don't Risk It 

Without Liquor Liability Coverage, you could find yourself responsible for damage and injury costs, legal fees, and civil damages that can ruin your reputation, will most certainly hurt your bottom line, and could potentially put you out of business.


Take No Chances - Get the Right Coverage at a Great Price 

The experienced agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Restaurant Insurance. We can help you get the right insurance to protect your business.

Our independent agents are free to shop the entire insurance market among many competing insurance providers. That means savings for you! Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online to start saving.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Bar Insurance

Teen Employee Safety and Workers Comp Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Feb 18, 2018

It pays to be aware of the workers compensation insurance risks of hiring teen restaurant employees. We serve Philadelphia, Reading, Lancater, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Doesn’t it seem like kids grow up too fast these days? It’s easy to forget that as mature and as smart as they may seem, teenagers still lack the experience an adult has. And if you own a restaurant, there’s an excellent chance that you employ a few teenagers, which could impact your restaurant workers comp insurance costs if your accident rate increases.  

48% of all working teenagers (ages 15-17) in the U.S. work in the “leisure and hospitality” industry, which includes restaurants and other food service jobs.

This group of employees is particularly vulnerable to workplace injuries. Each year more than 210,000 teens are injured on the job, 70,000 are hospitalized, and 70 are killed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The injury rate for workers under the age of 25 is about two times higher than for older workers, and based on emergency room data, 38% of teens who are injured on the job are working in the leisure and hospitality industry.

Restaurant Industry Insurance Risks

Every workplace has its share of hazards, and restaurants are certainly no exception. Some of the most common dangers in the food industry include slippery floors, hot cooking equipment, and sharp objects like knives and slicers. Often teens are injured because they don’t receive adequate safety training and supervision or they’re working with unsafe equipment, or stressful conditions.

Most workplace injuries are preventable, and many of the same safety measures you take with your more mature employees also apply to teenagers. Proper training and supervision should be your first priorities. 

Reduce Risk With These Teen Safety Meaures 

Here are some safety measures for teens from the Texas Department of Insurance:

  • Train them on the importance of safety and on the manufacturer’s instructions for machine use and cleaning.
  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment and available machine guarding and enforce the use of that equipment.

When teens operate a microwave oven:

  • Train them on microwave safety, such as 1) following manufacturer’s instructions, 2) covering foods to avoid splattering, 3) opening tightly covered containers away from their face, 4) preventing the use of metals, foil, or whole eggs in a microwave, and 5) keeping the interior clean to avoid splattering and popping.
  • Place the microwave at approximately waist level and within easy reach.
  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment such as hot pads.
  • Make sure door seals are in excellent condition and free from food or grease buildup.

When teens use steamers/pressure cookers:

  • Train them to shut off the steam supply and wait for the pressure to equalize before opening the lid of the pressure cooker and to stand to the side and open the pressure cooker away from themselves, keeping the open lid between them and the pressure cooker.

When teens use coffee makers:

  • Train them to check to make sure the coffee filter is in place before making coffee and that the coffee has stopped dripping before removing the filter.
  • Place hot coffee makers away from the edge of counters.

 

Comply With Child Labor Regulations

Also, you should be aware of child labor rules and regulations set by the Department of Labor and your state. There are restrictions on the hours a teen can work and restrictions that prohibit teens from using or cleaning specific equipment. Once you know the rules and regulations that apply to teens, take steps to implement safe work practices, such as labeling the equipment that teenagers are not permitted to use.

It’s your responsibility to provide a safe work environment for all of your employees, particularly teens who are more vulnerable to workplace injuries, and avoiding workplace injuries can increase production, improve employee morale, and lower insurance premiums.

Protect Your Business - Contact American Insuring Group

To learn more about saving on workers compensation insurance, restaurant insurance, or any type of coverage for your business, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent insurance agents are sure to find you the right insurance at the best price. Don't take chances with your business - contact us today.

 

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Bar Insurance, Teen Insurance

4 Questions to Ask About Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 28, 2018

4 Restaurant Insurance Questions Ypu Should Know. Buy Restaurant Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Every industry comes with its own unique set of issues and concerns when it comes to insurance; the food industry is no exception. And of course, each individual restaurant is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to restaurant insurance.

When choosing the best insurance for your business, you need to look at what coverages are required by law and possibly by your lender, and what your risks and needs are.

Here are four questions you need to ask yourself if you want to protect your restaurant:

#1. What type of business are you insuring? 

We use the broad term “restaurant insurance,” but that can mean many different types of “restaurants”: bars, nightclubs, pizzerias, caterers, food trucks, full-service restaurants and the list goes on. Each type of business comes with its own unique risks.

#2. What are the primary types of restaurant insurance that most restaurants are required to have? 

There are three types of property and casualty insurance that every restaurant owner needs to consider: property, commercial general liability (CGL), and workers’ compensation.

Property insurance will protect the things you own such as the building, equipment, etc. The right property insurance will help you replace or repair your property if it is damaged due to a fire, storm, or theft. It may even include business interruption insurance. If you sustain damage to your restaurant that requires you to suspend operations for a period of time, business interruption insurance covers your loss of income (the profits you would have made had your restaurant been open) while the damage is repaired. 

Commercial general liability insurance (CGL) protects you from liability claims against your restaurant for property damage and bodily injury. For example, if someone in your restaurant falls and sustains injuries, they may decide to sue you. CGL insurance will help cover legal costs and any judgments or settlements against you.

Workers’ compensation insurance (WC) is mandatory in most states for most businesses with employees. WC pays for an employee’s lost wages and medical costs if they’re injured on the job. It can also help protect your business against accident-related lawsuits from your employees. 

#3. What are other risks I need to consider?

Once you have an idea what the basic types of insurance will and will not cover, you need to consider other risks that could affect your restaurant. Here are just a few examples. If you use a car to deliver food, you need to have commercial auto insurance. If you serve liquor, you should have liquor liability insurance. An experienced commercial insurance agency like American Insuring Group will help you consider all of your risks and determine which coverage is best for you.

#4. What other factors affect the cost of my insurance?

Every insurance policy is unique. An underwriter will ask lots of questions and conduct some of their own research before providing an insurance quote. Here are some of the factors insurance companies consider when determining the cost of your premium:

  • Years in business
  • Location
  • Hours of operation
  • Size of business including the number of employees, sales volume, and square footage of your property.
  • Loss history
  • Types of activities like entertainment, mechanical bulls, and off-premise catering.
  • Percentage of alcohol sales

It’s probably no surprise that a nightclub with live entertainment that serves light fair (but mostly alcohol) and stays open until 2 am is going to pay more for insurance than a pizza parlor that doesn’t serve alcohol and is only open until 10 pm.

Obtaining the Right Insurance Policy Requires Expertise - Don't Risk It!

Purchasing the best insurance for your restaurant – one that covers all your risks at a reasonable rate – is not a simple process. It takes an experienced insurance agent to ask the right questions and offer the best solutions. That’s just one reason why trying to buy restaurant insurance online is usually not your best options.

It’s also important to note that there isn’t just one insurance company that can offer all types of restaurant insurance at the best price.

Get The American Insuring Group Advantage!

Call us to save on restaurant in Pennsylvania and surrounding statesIndependent insurance agencies like American Insuring Group represent many different insurance companies (in our case, lots and lots of companies!), so we can find you the best rate for any type of restaurant insurance you need.

So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online for a free insurance review!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Bar Insurance, Nightclub Insurance

What Kind of Insurance Does a Restaurant Owner Need?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 10, 2017

It's important to know the types of insurance coverage that are needed for a restaurant, bar or nightclub in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Reading, Allentown, PA and beyond.If you have a dream of owning a restaurant, bar or nightclub, restaurant insurance is probably one of the last things you want to think about. It isn’t as exciting as creating a menu or choosing the right linens, but having the right restaurant insurance has saved many establishment owners money, headaches, and - at times - even their business.

The right insurance can protect you from all types of disasters, from a small equipment breakdown to a devastating liability lawsuit. Depending on where you’re opening your restaurant, there may be certain types of insurance that are required: many banks demand certain insurance in order to procure a loan or mortgage.

So, like it or not, it’s in your best interest to learn what you can about insurance for your restaurant, bar or club.

Types of insurance you may need as a restaurant, bar or club owner

Property Insurance

Property insurance protects your property if it sustains damage. It typically covers damage caused by fire, smoke, wind, hail, the weight of ice and snow, lightning, theft and more. It may not include natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes. If you have a mortgage on your business, property insurance is a must. 

Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL)

Commercial General Liability Insurance protects you against liability claims for property damage and bodily injury. For example, if a customer is injured by a fall in your restaurant and sues you, CGL helps pay legal costs and any damages you are required to pay the plaintiff. In today’s litigious society, CGL is a must for almost any business owner.

Liquor Liability Insurance

If you have a liquor license, most states require that you have this insurance, and again your bank may also insist on it. Liquor Liability Insurance helps protect you if a customer drinks too much while at your establishment and hurts himself or someone else, or causes property damage.

Your CGL may cover you in some cases, but not all. “Dram Shop” laws exist in forty-three states, including Pennsylvania. Under this law, any business that gives alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person is responsible for any damage that person causes. This makes it much easier for people to sue the restaurant or bar where they have been served.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is mandatory in most states, including Pennsylvania (with a few exceptions). Typically, workers’ compensation insurance pays lost wages and medical expenses incurred as a result of a work-related injury. Plus it protects the employer against accident-related lawsuits.  

Life Insurance

Life insurance coverage is another form of protection that may be required by your bank if you have a mortgage or loan with them. It is also a good idea to have life insurance if your death would cause a financial hardship for your family. There are two types of life insurance: term and permanent. A good insurance agent can help you determine the best one for your situation.

Business Interruption Insurance

If you sustain damage to your restaurant that requires you to suspend operations for a period of time, Business Interruption Insurance covers your loss of income (the profits you would have made had your restaurant been open) while the damage is repaired.

Food Contamination Insurance

No matter how careful you are, there is always a possibility that your food could become contaminated, cause food poisoning, or transmit a communicable disease. Typically, Food Contamination Insurance helps pay for lost income if the business is shut down by a government authority, clean-up expenses, food replacement, and additional advertising expenses required to restore your restaurant’s reputation.

 

Get to Know Your Restaurant Insurance Options - Contact Us Today! 

You may need some or all of these types of insurance, so it’s smart to understand your options. Our qualified independent insurance agents understand the local and state laws pertaining to the types and amounts of insurance you’re required to carry. They can help you determine if additional insurance is right for you.

Ask the independent agents at American Insuring Group about obtaining reliable protection at a great price. We've been helping businesses like yours for decades. So call (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online to get affordable insurance for your restaurant, club, bar, coffee shop, food truck, or catering service.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Bar Insurance, Nightclub Insurance